How BloomID Can Help the Economy Recover from the Coronavirus Pandemic
As the global coronavirus pandemic has exploded, mass lockdowns and quarantines have fundamentally altered our lives. Billions of people have been asked to stay at home. And as the global economy grinds to a halt, millions face unemployment and financial hardship.
With unemployment surging to unprecedented heights, as well as hospitals and other essential facilities facing staffing shortages, it will be important for people who have recovered from COVID-19 to transition back into society until a vaccine becomes widely available.
Testing to see who has the COVID-19 coronavirus and who is immune will be the key to easing these measures and returning to an attenuated normal. The United Kingdom, Germany, as well as many private labs and startups, are all working to develop and produce millions of serological tests that will make it possible to detect COVID-19 antibodies and establish who is immune.
This will be vital in fighting the pandemic.
To help, Bloom is working to develop a Verifiable Credential to provide proof of immunity so that people who have recovered from the virus can safely return to work, get back to activities outside of the home, and move about safely under quarantine restrictions, which will be critical for the workers on the front lines of the crisis who are needed to keep hospitals, grocers, and other essential services up and running.
Issuing Verified Immunity Credentials (VIC) to those who are immune would also help people quickly find new jobs by being able to digitally show proof of immunity to employers. This will help alleviate financial hardship and facilitate a safe transition out of lockdown and into post-pandemic society.
Digital immunity credentials would provide a number of benefits over physical documentation:
- Authenticity: Unlike paper docs or certificates, Verifiable Credentials can not be forged, transferred, or tampered with.
- Electronically Verifiable: Being able to digitally verify immunity would reduce costs and workload, making it cheap and easy to issue and verify proof of immunity.
- Share Remotely: Verifiable Credentials can be easily shared remotely without the need for in-person verification or physically transferring documents, which poses an infection risk. Workers can share their immunity credentials online directly with employers or through job marketplaces.
- Portability: An open-source Verifiable Credential standard would be interoperable between decentralized identity wallets. A number of members of the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF), including Bloom, are currently working on a standard and framework.
- Privacy: Workers maintain full control and ownership of their test result and immunity credential, preserving privacy while providing cryptographic proof of authenticity.
Being able to have digital verification of test results would make it possible to avoid bureaucratic hurdles and quickly establish who has immunity at scale.
We’ve defined a Verifiable Immunity Credential which you can find on Github here. Our VIC is designed to provide flexibility and balance between informative medical results and patient privacy, allowing the use of either standard HL7 FHIR data formats for interoperability with healthcare software such as EHRs, or extensions of web-standard Schema.org types such as Person and MedicalClinic designed to allow improved description of test results.
Call for Partners
In order to make Verified Immunity Credentials a reality, we will need to partner with diagnostic labs and other test providers to serve as trusted authorities for issuing credentials in order to build a credential source network, as well as employers, agencies, organizers, and other entities interested in screening applicants and participants.
Bloom is uniquely positioned to bring VICs to the public at scale, with the both the necessary technology and the ability to instantly reach over 1 million users around the world who have already created a digital identity on the platform.
New users looking to obtain VICs could quickly download the Bloom mobile app for free on their iOS or Android device, create a free BloomID, complete the VIC attestation and add it to their identity wallet. Users can then provide proof of immunity with the quick scan of a QR code or swipe of the screen.
VICs could help individuals and society with the recovery but we will need your help. If you are interested in joining please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to working with testing providers, verifiers, other identity platforms, and our community to put this plan into action.
In solidarity, the Bloom team.