New York Launches Covid-19 Passport Powered by Blockchain

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New York Launches Covid-19 Passport Powered by Blockchain

New York State has introduced a COVID-19 passport powered by blockchain. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week that the blockchain-based Covid-19 passport would be available this week.

Covid-19 Passport Free and Voluntary 

According to a press release from the governor’s office, the passport is free and voluntary for businesses. From April 2nd (Friday), passport named Excelsior Pass will be used in the state.

The press release indicated that the Excelsior Pass is a free, voluntary platform that was developed in collaboration with IBM. It uses proven safety technology to confirm a person’s negative PCR test result or certificate of vaccination. Under the New York State Department of Health guidelines, this will help New York State track reopening of businesses and venues quickly.

Governor Andrew Cuomo commended New Yorkers for following public health guidelines to fight the coronavirus. He added, “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.” 

Governments globally developing Blockchain based Covid-19 passports

Governments in many countries around the world are considering developing and issuing Covid-19 passports. The passport serves as proof that the person has recently been vaccinated or tested negative. However, users complained about privacy risks and concerns about the practicality of such documents.

New York State has taken over the blockchain-based platform for digital health passports from IBM. Excelsior Pass is based on the IBM blockchain, so that no third party can use the health record.

The press release goes on to say: “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 works like a boarding pass for a mobile airline and can confirm that the person is being scanned for a negative Covid test result (PCR or antigen) or a certificate of vaccination. The latest development will allow New Yorkers to volunteer to share their health status.