Blockchain Case in Point: KTDI
How World Economic Forum is using blockchain for more secure travel.
In our Basics of Blockchain article, we mentioned that blockchain has applications beyond cryptocurrency as a new form of payment. In the travel and tourism industry, blockchain also has potential in identity management and verification, baggage tracking, and other value-added services. In this case study, we take a closer look at Known Traveller Digital Identity (KTDI).
KTDI is an exciting new initiative spearheaded by World Economic Forum and supported by a global consortium of individuals, governments, authorities and the travel industry. With pilot partners including the Canadian and Dutch governments as well as their national airlines, KTDI aims to bring about more secure and seamless travel — without the need for a traveller passport.
Using biometric technology – such as fingerprinting or facial recognition – passengers can enjoy seamless, and paperless, transit through departures, onto their flight and on arrival at their destination.
KTDI’s vision is that passengers arriving at airports would already have their identity data encrypted and stored on their mobile phone, instead of on a passport microchip. Before passengers reach the airport, relevant information is sent to airlines, border authorities and others. Individual consent is needed each time data is sent, giving travellers more control over their personal data than the existing passport system. Using biometric technology – such as fingerprinting or facial recognition – passengers can enjoy seamless, and paperless, transit through departures, onto their flight and on arrival at their destination.
Enabling travellers to speed through airport security checks is not only a huge plus for travellers themselves, but also alleviates the airport’s operational.
If this sounds like a dream come true, it’s only possible because KTDI is built on blockchain technology, which we have mentioned is virtually unhackable. Applied in this way, blockchain’s decentralised and distributed nature actually adds an extra layer of security, as the traveller controls what data is shared with whom.
KTDI also allows travellers to build up a “known traveller status” by collecting digital ‘attestations’ of their personal data that have been issued by authorities after verification. Over time, this creates a trusted, reusable digital identity that enables a smoother and safer journey for the traveller.
The KTDI pilot programme is scheduled for its first end-to-end live trip in 2020.