Episode 19: Jacques von Benecke: Launching National-Scale Self Sovereign Identity in Bhutan

Episode 19: Jacques von Benecke: Launching National-Scale Self Sovereign Identity in Bhutan

In this episode, we talk with Jacques von Benecke, CTO of DHI, the commercial and investment arm of the government of Bhutan. If you haven’t heard, Bhutan has launched one of the most complete SSI ecosystems in the world! We spent most of the time diving in to how it’s going since launching just a few months ago.

We get into metrics, like how many users have onboarded, and the growth rate over time. We cover use cases, business models, governance, and more! We even cover how they productize wallets for accessibility, and we were amazed to hear they have iOS, Android, and web… but they have 11 other wallet configurations they’ve had to build to cover the whole population!

Most of all it was really interesting to see what can happen when you have top-down mandate to develop better digital identity and a strong technology approach to execute.

To learn more about Bhutan’s National Digital Identity initiative you can visit Bhutan NDI or listen to Jacques interview on the (un)Trustables podcast.

Video timestamps from Jacques von Benecke's interview

You can watch the full video interview on our YouTube channel, or skip to the timestamps below to find the sections that are most interesting to you.  

4:44 – Wallet decisions: standards, edge vs. cloud wallets

6:45 – Current state of adoption for digital ID in Bhutan

8:57 – Jacques discusses the 13 different types of wallet options for users 

10:35 – Describing the onboarding experience for the Bhutan digital ID wallet apps 

13:43 – Supporting new users and the UI/UX learnings from testing 

16:46 – Why “SSI” messaging didn’t resonate with end users and how they changed their marketing 

19:02 – How citizens first hear about the wallet and become users 

24:26 – How businesses can integrate the national digital identity program and start verifying identities

29:51 – Incentives for joining the digital identity network 

34:29 – How Bhutan determined the initial set of use cases 

40:47 – Influential voices and advisors in how they designed the digital ID program 

44:42 – How they’ve communicated government sponsored identity program 

47:53 – Jacques’ predictions for the future of identity 

50:36 – Where to find more information about Bhutan NDI


How to get in touch

Most people listen to the Future of Identity on Apple or Spotify. Our podcast is also now available as a video interview on YouTube. You can find all ways to listen at trinsic.id/podcast

This year, we’re launching a weekly newsletter to highlight the biggest news and developments from the IDtech industry. To sign up for the newsletter, you can input your email directly into the form below. 

As always, you can reach out to our host, Riley Hughes, on X (@rileyphughes) or LinkedIn. We love hearing from listeners! See you again in two weeks.

Zack Jones

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