Photo: Unsplash

UNICC’s CTO Shashank Rai Presents UN Digital ID at Hyperledger Social Impact Special Interest Group

Shashank Rai, UNICC’s Chief Technology Officer presented the UN Digital ID on 27 April at Hyperledger’s Social Impact Special Interest Group.

Hyperledger, hosted by the Linux Foundation, is an open-source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies by bringing together leaders and stakeholders in the financial, banking, IoT, supply chain, manufacturing and tech sectors. The Hyperledger effort includes working groups to direct operational aspects of the blockchain enthusiast community as well as special interest groups to support areas of activity the organization supports.

UNICC was invited to present at a Social Impact Special Interest Group session. Shashank delivered a talk on the UN Digital ID to showcase its use of cutting-edge blockchain technology to digitally transform outdated and tedious processes of handling sensitive documents across the UN system.

Digital ID is not your favorite social media or big technology company account. Digital ID brings together all attributes of your identity – social, physical and personal – that are verified by mutually trusted third parties, and which are digitally accessible only with your consent.

Shashank Rai, Chief Technology Officer, UNICC

Shashank introduced the rollout of the UN Digital ID in UNICC’s partnership with the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF), where the technology developed helps to shortens a UN beneficiary’s pension eligibility case from two months to two minutes.

The Digital Certificate of Entitlement solution, the first UN Digital ID solution in production deployment, uses Hyperledger INDY and Hyperledger ARIES technologies.

The impact of the UN Digital ID, demonstrated by the 6,000 registered beneficiaries for the UNJSPF Digital Certificate of Entitlement solution since its launch three months ago, was well received by the Hyperledger audience – many attendees and participants were impressed to see blockchain technology be implemented in an innovative and effective solution.

Shashank’s presentation illustrates UNICC’s strategic partnership with Hyperledger as well as UNICC’s position as an Associate Member of the not-for-profit for blockchain technology innovation group.


See also the UN Digital Solutions Centre video on UN Digital ID at

Photo: Libunao

UNJSPF Blockchain Delivers Digital Identity to its Beneficiaries

UNJSPF and UNICC partner with Hyperledger to improve and secure pension processes worldwide

The United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) has taken the leap into emerging technologies to help them to streamline service delivery to their clients, the retired UN staff around the globe.

Spearheaded by Dino Cataldo Dell’Accio, CIO, UNJSPF, this is one part of the Fund’s journey towards digital transformation, leveraging innovative technologies to update manual processes and streamline systems efficiencies.

The Pension Fund’s Certificate of Entitlement (CE) certifies that retiree beneficiaries are who they say they are, are still living, and still reside at their registered locations. This has always been a cumbersome and manual processes that has been prone to error if not fraud.

UNICC together with the Fund and the effective partnership of Hyperledger, an open source blockchain technology firm, has created a solution to automate and make immutable the CE process with blockchain, biometrics and a mobile app.

The project team created and completed a Proof of Concept prototype that demonstrated that technology could be applied to overcome existing issues with the CE without introducing any major risks that hamper the flow of entitlements.

The pilot project was a success and was approved at the Annual UNJSPF Board Meeting in August 2019. The Fund has decided to take next steps towards implementation across the organization.

The World Food Programme will be piloting this solution with their pensioners as a first step to a full rollout, attesting to the incredible cost savings and streamlining of processes with these innovative technology solutions.

Photo: UNICC

Blockchain, biometrics and mobile apps for pensioners

UNJSPF provides retirement, death, disability and related benefits for staff upon cessation of their services with the United Nations. Benefits and pensions are based on the cost of living in the local country of residence. On an annual basis, the Fund has to determine that every beneficiary everywhere is still alive (proof of liveness) and that the beneficiary is still living at the address she or he has established.

At the time that a participant initiates separation for the UN Agency, the person creates a digital identity by using a mobile app backed by blockchain technology. The person has to take a picture that is submitted to the Fund for validation and approval, setting the basis for an immutable biometric face recognition identity.

Once approved, the participant can request a digital Certificate of Entitlement to use for all UNJSPF business processes. Prior to usage, the participant beneficiary has to prove liveliness by taking a new photo. This entire processes is recorded in an immutable blockchain distributed ledger so no changes can be made.

If positive, the biometric footprint is updated, avoiding the issue of a beneficiary using a pre-existing static photograph. This ensures that the beneficiary is who he or she says and releases the pension for the beneficiary.

Current beneficiaries in the Philippines. Photo: UNICC