A Vaccination Passport Is Coming. Digital Currency and A National ID Card Are Next.

A Vaccination Passport Is Coming. Digital Currency and A National ID Card Are Next.

Cerner, Epic, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce and more will spearhead the Vaccination Passport.

Tickers mentioned: AAPL, AMZN, CERN, CHNG/UNH, CRM, FB, GOOG, MSFT, ORCL, RAMP

One could argue that we already have National ID cards. Our digital footprint serves as a unique identifier and is easy to aggregate using cross-device tracking technology served up by Google, Facebook, LiveRamp, Neustar and others. It is becoming increasingly easier for the Federal Government to issue each citizen a National ID card that would incorporate PII data to authenticate and record various transactions ranging from grocery shopping to doctors visits to school vouchers, voter registration, government benefit programs and more. We are not in favor of a National ID card. However, we have outlined three catalysts below that we believe will make a National ID card a reality within the next 10 years.

  • COVID-19: A vaccination passport will be a key catalyst for the U.S. to issue citizens a National ID card. Last week Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce announced that they will participate in the Vaccination Credential Initiative which counts Cerner, Change Healthcare / UnitedHealth Group, Epic, Mayo Clinic and other HealthcareIT and healthcare providers among its ranks. It is logical to expect this vaccination data set to become incorporated into Google’s health records initiative – “Project Nightingale” – as well as Amazon’s Comprehend Medical and Apple Health. It certainly is not far fetched to imagine Facebook extending into Electronic Medical Records (“EMR”), incorporating EMRs into member social media profiles.
  • Federal Reserve-Issued Digital Currency: The Fed is exploring issuing a digital currency. This effort is spearheaded by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston as we wrote about last year. The biggest risk to Bitcoin and other dark digital currencies potentially would be a Fed-issued digital currency. If the Fed were to issue a digital currency it would be logical to expect the Fed to want to prevent leakage to Bitcoin and other digital currencies. The Fed does not have visibility into Bitcoin and related digital currency transactions. Real-time transaction visibility is a key strategic reason for the Fed to be in favor of issuing a digital currency. A Fed issued digital currency could incorporate unique identifiers found in a citizen’s national ID card as a means of authenticating digital transactions.
  • Voter Authentication: One way to mitigate voter authentication concerns such as those voiced in the 2020 General Election would be to take a FinTech-styled approach to election technology and workflows as we recently wrote about. The upside of such an approach is enhanced voter authentication capabilities. The downside is such an approach would require a uniform platform across states which would eliminate a significant amount of discretion states have as to how they execute their respective election processes. Regardless of approach, election workflows could incorporate certain PII data elements found on a national ID card as a means of authenticating voters.