The state of New York is set to launch a blockchain-based COVID-19 passport this week, targeting businesses operating in the region
The State of New York has introduced a blockchain-powered COVID-19 passport. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this last week, revealing that the blockchain-based Covid-19 passport would be available starting this week.
According to the press release from the governor’s office, the passport is available for free of use by businesses, and it will be voluntary. The passport, named Excelsior Pass, will be available for use across the state starting Friday, 2 April.
The press release stated that the Excelsior Pass is a free, voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM. It uses proven, secure technology to confirm a person’s negative PCR test result or proof of vaccination. This will help the state fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues as per the New York State Department of Health guidelines.
Governor Andrew Cuomo praised New Yorkers for following public health guidance to beat back the Coronavirus. “The innovative Excelsior Pass is another tool in our new toolbox to fight the virus while allowing more sectors of the economy to reopen safely and keeping personal information secure”, he added.
Several governments globally are mulling over the idea of developing and issuing Covid-19 passports. The passports will serve as proof that an individual is vaccinated or has recently tested negative for the virus. However, user complaints have bordered around privacy risks and concerns on the practicality of carrying such paperwork.
The state of New York has adopted IBM’s blockchain-based digital health pass platform. The Excelsior Pass is built on the IBM blockchain, implying that the health record isn’t available to any third party.
The press release added that “Secure technologies, like blockchain and encryption, are woven throughout Excelsior Pass to help protect the data, making it verifiable and trusted. No private health data is stored or tracked within the apps.”
The pass will work similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, confirming the scanned person’s recent negative Covid test result (PCR or antigen) or proof of vaccination. This latest development will allow New Yorkers to voluntarily share their health status.