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Blockpass Identity Lab, the first European laboratory dedicated to blockchain research and the first blockchain-based identity laboratory in the world, has been launched in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Laboratory is located inside the Merchiston Campus at Edinburgh Napier University. It is a collaborative project between the Scottish University and a blockchain-based identity application firm, Blockpass IDN based in Hong Kong.

The facility will build research around the distributed ledger technology (DLT) and how it can be used to solve the numerous challenges facing identity – with areas such as rights and consents of the public and respect for user privacy being center stage. The partnership will last for three years with funding geared towards provision for research staff, the creation of a virtual blockchain environment, and funding for 5 Ph.D. students.

The plan to build the research laboratory was revealed in April this year when with Hans Lombardo, chief marketing officer of Blockpass, cited the numerous online data vulnerabilities which are plaguing sensitive personal information. Blockpass Identity Lab is, therefore, the flagship project expected to eliminate these breaches by decentralizing personal information storage. According to the Scottish Minister for Digital Economy Kate Forbes:

“This exciting work to explore how blockchain technology can protect personal data from online scammers and hackers carries on the tradition of innovation and excellence exemplified by John Napier (the Scottish mathematician that the Edinburgh Napier University is named after).”

The launch of the laboratory brought a lot of blockchain enthusiasts and featured a lot of activities, including a conference on advanced cryptography, digital entity meetups, and blockchain talks. There was also a hackathon where participants built blockchain identity solutions, as well as distributed and decentralized ledger prototypes.

From Google to Facebook, online data privacy has become a sensitive topic not just for techies, but also for law enforcement and policymakers. Blockpass’s primary goal is to change the ecosystem, protect users online, and make online users owners of their own information. As an identity system that supports verification of humans (KYC), objects (KYO) and connected devices (KYD), Blockpass will enable the development of new applications that rely on a trusted connection between multiple entities. The new blockchain lab is the beginning of the journey into this exciting future.