This 2020 Proof Market journey highlights as we convened the Covid Credentials Initiative (CCI), launched MedCreds, introduced legislation into the California Legislature, and capped off the year with CCI joining Linux Foundation Public Health. This is only the beginning, stay tuned for our outlook for 2021!
Covid Credentials Initiative
In February of 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic had just hit the United States and the entire planet was going into widespread lockdowns. We thought this might last for a couple of weeks and testing would soon be available for everyone.
We recognized that proving the result of a COVID-19 test, in a way that was decentralized and privacy protecting, would provide policy makers with tools to keep the economy functioning, and avoid strict lockdowns and we launched the website FightTheVirus.World.
In March, Proof Market convened a group of Digital Identity industry leaders, and the Covid Credentials Initiative (CCI) was born. This video is the kick off call and was attended by a global consortium of over 100 Digital Identity thought leaders and solution developers.
Proof Market was founded on January 2020 because the tools to develop next generation Digital Identity applications had matured to the point it was for the first time possible to build end user experiences and applications with developer tools accessible to a broad range of software developers. By the time COVID-19 reached the United States, we had already built the essential architecture, team, and frameworks for general end-user experiences with SSI and Digital Identity.
At the same time that we helped to launch CCI, we pivoted all of our energy and resources to focus on building the MedCreds application.
CA AB 2004
Because of our work with the California Blockchain Advocacy Coalition in 2017, lobbying for California to establish a working group to study blockchain technology, we knew to give Ally Medina a call and inquire if there was opportunity to initiate legislation related to COVID-19 Digital Identity and Verifiable Credentials in California.
Ally Medina is the executive director of the Blockchain Advocacy Coalition and immediately recognized the potential for Verifiable Credentials to help California manage the crisis caused by COVID-19. We worked together and in a period of just two weeks (!!) she was able to find an author and initiate the legislative process.
On May 6th, Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon introduced CA AB 2004, authorizing verifiable credentials for COVID-19 and other medical test results.
CA Privacy Committee
Dr. Raj Gupta, our Chief Medical Advisor, of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center speaks as an expert witness to the California Privacy Committee where AB 2004 passed unanimously.
CA AB 2004 went on to pass the Senate Appropriations committee unanimously, and the Senate unanimously. The bill made it to Governor Newsom's desk in September of 2019. Unfortunately, due to the fiscal tag requiring $3 M for a study to be conducted the bill was vetoed.
We think this is unfortunate because the Film Industry has proven that a testing protocol can allow economic activity to continue with regular testing of cast and crew. If the 150,000 people in California that receive a COVID-19 test every day was able to easily prove that test, we could keep small businesses open and avoid strict lockdowns that continue and get worse as we move into 2021.
Linux Foundation Public Health
Under the leadership of Lucy Yang and John Walker the Covid Credentials community delivered a governance framework and organizational infrastructure required to stand up decentralized governance for health related credentials. Thanks to the efforts of Kaliya Identity Woman and the leadership of CCI, the Linux Foundation for Public Health adopted the CCI organization under its mandate.
Linux Foundation Public Health was founded at the same time as CCI and has been focused on developing open source technology for public health officials with a focus on digital contact tracing. With the addition of verifiable credentials that CCI brings the tools available to public health are enhanced and the combination of tracing with credentials will offer a more comprehensive set of tools as we move into 2021 and continue to struggle at a global level with the COVID-19 Pandemic.
2021 and the Road Ahead
As we look into 2021 we can see that the Pandemic will be with us for longer than we ever anticipated when the first lock downs started. We are excited that the Vaccine is starting to become available but we are also troubled that the COVID-19 virus is mutating. The need for credentials to prove health status in a way that protects privacy and can be adopted globally in a decentralized fashion is as necessary and urgent now as it has been since the beginning of the Pandemic.
At Proof Market we are committed to bring these tools to Public Health and do our part to protect Public Safety at a global scale.