A group of Spanish hackers known as “Ghaya” is working on a blockchain register that would store all data on refugees needed by governments and NGOs.

The database, filled in by various organizations working with fugitives from the Middle East and Africa, will include all out information on a refugee: the road he or she has travelled, family relationship, contact details, time passed in every place, rights to visas, etc. More fields can be added, possibly including biometric information that would be used to identify the refugee, or even special messages from one refugee to another.

The data stored in this decentralized all-encompassing register is supposed to be available to governments and NGOs specialized in the field, simplifying their task as there would be no need to look for the data in separate registers. The goal is to enable governments and NGOs to control migration flows, giving a more efficient response to the refugees’ needs at the same time.

Based on blockchain, the register will be inalterable. According to El Mundo, such transparency constitutes a great advantage over an official register controlled by a single institution.

The project was announced at HackForGood 2016, an annual event sponsored by Telefónica. Voiced by the Spanish blockchain lab NevTrace, the idea is now being put in practice by the group of young people known as “Ghaya” (Arabic for “Destiny”) supported by Telefónica.

The project was not received without reticence by the public. A user Leif Ferreira remarked on HackForGood’s web page that information stored that way might pose a real threat if it falls into wrong hands (e.g. in case some European country is taken over by the extreme right parties). Thus, extreme caution is needed to prevent misuse of the data collected.


Alexey Tereshchenko