Tired of waiting for the global development community to dream up a solution for the decades-long oppression of his people, Muhammad Noor has for years busied himself creating new initiatives to support displaced Rohingya.
From his bases in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, those efforts have included Rohingya Vision TV (http://www.rvisiontv.com/), a multilingual broadcasting channel to educate and empower the population worldwide, as well as an organized Rohingya Football Club (https://www.facebook.com/RohingyaFC/) that seeks to compete in the ConIFA World Minorities Cup.
His latest project, which involves a 15-person team and several partners, is his most ambitious yet. It is also closely tied to Noor’s background as a software engineer and expertise in cryptography:
A (http://www.rohingyaproject.com/about/) blockchain-based digital identification system exclusively for the Rohingya. The project will utilize a multilayered verification methodology to confirm Rohingya ancestry through a series of interviews and assessments that test on five areas: Geographical, social, language, culture, and occupational.
The resulting digital identity will cryptographically prove Rohingya existence and family relations, and record them on a blockchain distributed public ledger. Rohingya diaspora will then be able to leverage their unique digital identities to access crowdfunded resources and empower themselves economically and socially, Noor said.
The launch of the World Identity Network may have taken place at Sir Richard Branson’s private luxury island, but the aim is to benefit the 2 billion people living without recognized identification documents.
More than simply providing digital identification documents, the system seeks to bring the population out of financial exclusion and address the challenges of the statelessness they face between the bouts of repression that gain international attention, said Noor, who teaches bitcoin mining and trading to Rohingya diaspora.
The Rohingya Project (http://www.rohingyaproject.com/) estimates there are nearly 2.5 million Rohingya living outside their ancestral land, many in Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Saudi Arabia.
“A couple of decades ago, such a project may have seemed far fetched,” Noor said. “Yet technology is now evolving to the point where decentralized systems such as blockchain can ensure sensitive data is secure and hackproof … it provides the possibility that every Rohingya can have a wallet and can send and receive money.”
For Noor, blockchain is a logical step to answering the problems that come with being a stateless community, when a lack of identity results in financial exclusion and difficulty accessing health care, for example
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