Three entrepreneurs, with their accelerated company in Silicon Valley, have ready, thanks to blockchain technology, the platform so that those vaccinated can carry their card on their cell phone.
An enterprise that was born like everyone else, after identifying an unsatisfied need. A technological base and a business opportunity. Danny Suárez got a contract with a company that needed to verify if a selected group of people was lying about their jobs. It was an operational job that involved making calls to those companies for which they claimed to work, so he began to think about the solution: a digital document that could be verified instantly, even from a cell phone. That day the seed of Xertify was put and then together with César Suárez, his brother, and Felipe Arenas, they began to walk the blockchain path.
Now, after going through an acceleration in Silicon Valley, they became part of “The Covid Credentials Initiative” and are now proposing that Colombians who have already been vaccinated against COVID-19 have their digital vaccination card, which they can carry in their mobile device and that anyone in the world can have access to it if, of course, that same person allows access. A simple example: when entering a country, while the immigration process is being carried out. Its creators, Danny Suárez, 29, software engineer; Felipe Arenas, 30, designer, and César Suárez, 26, industrial engineer and economist, in an interview with El Espectador , talk about this idea, which is already gaining strength in Europe, where it is planned to require a vaccination passport to move between the countries that make up the community.
In a simple way, how should blockchain technology be understood?
Blockchain, or the chain of blocks, is a “ledger” in which all transactions that happen on the network are recorded in blocks. It benefits any type of system by bringing decentralization, security and transparency.
Did you develop the PCR test certificate?
Xertify was accelerating in Silicon Valley in 2019. There it managed to establish itself as a Latin American representative of blockchain technology. For this reason, in 2020 we were invited to be part of a global community called “The Covid Credentials Initiative” https://www.covidcreds.org/, which seeks the digital portability of credentials related to COVID-19. We are one of the few companies with active clients and operational capacity in the world that works with blockchain. For this reason, different prototypes of certificates were created for the tests and resources were focused to search for pilots in Colombia, Dubai, Sweden and Mexico.
Are you now making a proposal so that Colombians who have already been vaccinated have that online certificate and not that paper card that we have seen in many photos?
On April 25 of this year we launched the portal www.mivacunadigital.com, where anyone who wants to have their digital blockchain vaccination passport can do so completely free of charge. This passport will allow you to have a digital backup of your vaccination certificates, to be able to show it to any authority and to be consulted in any language if you are abroad. Likewise, citizens, thanks to the privacy options offered by the document, will be completely autonomous when choosing who to share these certificates with.
Other companies, such as Davivienda and Aunas, launched VitalPass to keep a record of vaccines. What is the difference?
A notable difference is the experience of more than four years working with this technology with real clients. After having issued around 100,000 digital certificates, we know how to educate our users so that the use of Xertify is simple and profitable. Xertify is a tool that provides productivity and innovation. We focus on the user experience of the issuer, the certificate holder and the verifier. That is, in addition to offering a blockchain certificate, we offer the platform that automates its issuance, its portability and its verification.
Another is the blockchain, in which the credentials are stored. MiVacunaDigital, product of Xertify, a Colombian solution that runs under Ethereum. Ethereum is the second most used Blockchain in the world and aims to use 99.95% less energy than it currently uses with the launch of ETH 2.0.
You see your proposal, you also see Davivienda’s, and what you find is that the issue is beginning to take shape. Have you already spoken with the Ministry of Health? What does the Government say about these proposals? How viable is it to carry that passport on your cell phone and, above all, have it valid not only locally but also internationally?
Xertify was contacted by President Iván Duque’s technology and innovation team. Upon learning about our technology, they saw its benefits and several meetings were held to see the feasibility of implementing a nationwide project. From the Presidency team we went on to have conversations with the Ministry of Health and its legal team. Additionally, we have a process open before Supersalud to ratify the legal viability of the digital passport. Recently, Minister Ruiz publicly stated that for now the implementation of the electronic passport is ruled out. However, with the arrival of new players to the market and the global economic reopening, it is pertinent that the Government, with its ability to direct the speed of innovation in the country, promote the use of the digital vaccination passport. Regarding international validity, our passport is valid as it contains detailed vaccination information, is interoperable and can be consulted in any language for the ease of any immigration authority.
In the European Union they plan to require a vaccination passport so that people can move between their countries. With your venture, could you solve that need?
Of course it is, since it is aligned with interoperability, privacy policies and, above all, that they do not have language restrictions. From Sweden we have closely followed the development of these measures.
Data is the new gold, many economic analysts say, amid the digital economy. With this vaccination passport, a deep level of privacy is being reached. How to assure people that their personal data is safe?
Xertify is pro privacy and pro security of the information of each one of the people. We have a transparent data protection and management policy that benefits users. In www.MiVacunaDigital.com the data is the property of the citizen, and it is he who will decide who shares them or what to do with them.
There are already many Colombians who went to the United States to get the vaccine. In this case and thinking about those who get vaccinated in other countries, would you be connected to a kind of global database that certifies that the person has already been vaccinated without taking into account in which country in the world they did it?
It is unlikely that it will happen because to get there you must have the approval of the health authorities of each country to have access to their database. For this reason, rather than being connected to a global database, aligned with initiatives such as https://www.covidcreds.org/, our certificates comply with international standards that make them acceptable anywhere in the world. For now, anyone in the world can request their digital vaccination passport at www.MiVacunaDigital.com. They are available in English and Spanish.
What are you going to do this weekend at various vaccination posts?
The My Digital Vaccine Team will be at various vaccination points in the city of Bogotá, publicizing its service and allowing those vaccinated to obtain their digital vaccination certificate. The goal is for you to see how easy it is to request it and how useful it is to be able to carry it in your Xertify digital wallet.