Sherab Lhamo

The Bhutan National Digital Identity (NDI) received the “Special Award for Decentralised ID in Practice” at the KuppingerCole Honores 2024 European Identity and Cloud Awards in Berlin, Germany, on June 4, 2024.

This is the second award for Bhutan NDI in just five months. On February, 28, 2024, Bhutan NDI won an award for the best innovation in the ‘Identity and Data’ category for Innovation in Identity and Data at the Mobile Ecosystem Forum or MEF Summit 2024 at Barcelona, Spain.

Bhutan NDI is a blockchain-based national cryptographic identity system based on the Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) system. Individuals have sole ownership of whom they want to share and what to share using a digital wallet, where their digital credentials are stored.

Half of Citizen Services (G2C) are linked with Bhutan NDI including Property Tax filing,passport services, birth and death registration, eRaLIS system and land taxes, among others. It is also linked to the Bank of Bhutan, Tashicell, Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan and the Royal University of Bhutan.

According to Bhutan NDI, the award sets Bhutan apart as a leader in decentralised identity adoption and implementation. “To maintain this momentum, we must continue to empower our NDI users, enabling them to utilise digital platforms innovatively and efficiently with reliable information. ”

The secretary of GovTech Agency, Jigme Tenzing, said that the award honoured the team’s dedication to both digital progress and citizen privacy. “We’ll use this platform to simplify services and empower citizens through awareness and training.”

According to the Bhutan NDI’s case study, there are strategic initiatives underway to integrate various industry sectors into the system. This includes Samuh, an Over-the-Top (OTT) media platform, Bhutan’s National Healthcare Services, and Drukair. There are also plans to extend the utility of the system to tourists, enabling them to conveniently store their electronic visas within the Bhutan NDI app.

The CEO of Druk Holding and Investments Ltd., Ujjwal Deep Dahal, said, “DHI looks forward to support and nurture this technology in the space of SSI and decentralised identity building the foundational digital infrastructure and in creating the innovation ecosystem.”

Currently, citizens can receive various types of credentials, such as Foundational ID, permanent address, mobile number, academic credentials, employment, driver’s licence, and vehicle registration credentials. 

Non-national residents, such as expatriates holding worker permits, international students, spouses, and others who are registered in the Department of Immigration’s database, are eligible to benefit from the Bhutan NDI system. This includes the issuance of work permits and nationality credentials, facilitating their integration into Bhutan’s digital identity ecosystem.

The ceremony honoured achievements in identity management and cybersecurity, applauding innovative projects and the individuals driving them forward.