Bhutan NDI the new digital identity for Bhutanese

Bhutan NDI is Bhutan’s new National Identity System, a pioneer app in the country that provides verification and authentication services for both individuals and businesses as well.

The Bhutan NDI wallet is driven by the philosophy of a self-sovereign identity model based on decentralized ID technology which gives users greater control over their ID and allows them to choose whom they want to share personal data with.

This wallet will carry other information including health information, tax filings, education and census records as well as revenue and bank statements, and business documents.

The Product Manager of the Bhutan NDI shared that the citizens’ privacy and security are of the utmost importance and it is designed in a way that is most secure and easy to use the NDI wallet.

For instance, a set of information that belongs to you is in your wallet and from there the subset which is only whatever you want to share, will be shared with the other agencies. It is consent-based because it is the wallet users who have access to their wallet and the data inside it.

Also, there will be policy and acts and so if it needs to be complemented or supplemented in the existing policy, it will be done accordingly.

“NDI is as secure as your wallet because, at the end of the day, it is the users who handle the wallet and the users have the choice of with whom they want to share their data,” said the product manager.

For the integration part, a few agencies are there but talks are going on with the RUB, BOB, DHI and other agencies. For foundational ID, they have talked with Department of Immigration (DoI) and Department of Civil Registration and Census (DCRC).

In a centralized identity model, there is one central issuer that issues your identity. For instance, DCRC issues your CID and it is used to avail all the business services such as loans, bank accounts or apply for colleges or jobs.

DCRC, as a government entity have the right to maintain the citizenship details and they are the source but for any health-related details, the source of the data is the hospital.

The official said that the Bhutan NDI will soon be launched and it is ready in terms of the production environment and already has made a lot of progress. “Technically we are fine and the only thing is we want to ensure is that it goes well in terms of security and performance.”

NDI as a product will provide trust services and it hopes to eventually provide the services outside the country, added the official.

The official further said that it is also not compulsory to have NDI.

More than 70 per cent of biometrics have been done and by this time.

Meanwhile, His Royal Highness The Gyalsey launched Bhutan NDI, held on the auspicious occasion of His Majesty The King’s Birth Anniversary on 21st February 2023 becoming Bhutan’s first digital citizen by onboarding with the Bhutan NDI mobile wallet.

Bhutan NDI is developed by Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) for GovTech Bhutan. Bhutan NDI will have citizens eight years old and above enrolled into it.

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