Twala Eyes Philippine Digitization with Blockchain Security, Digital Signing

With the rise of cryptocurrencies, more and more people are starting to see what blockchain technology can bring to the table. Business solutions, a cybersecure space and the decentralized nature of blockchain continue to draw in curious minds. 

Although mainstream adoption will take a while to happen, the technology still remains relevant across different sectors in countries across the world, and it seems the Philippines is one of them.

At the recent Philippine Fintech Festival, leaders from Web 3.0, financial technology (fintech) and the blockchain industry delved into how the country can carve its presence as a global blockchain hub–, an epicenter of blockchain and digital asset adoption. 

“[The Philippines] is probably far ahead of anywhere else in the world. I’ve been to other countries where the regulation stifles the growth, especially when it intersects with banking and money,” Mark Veron, the vice chairman of the Fintech Philippines Association, said in an interview.

Twala, a blockchain-based firm from the Philippines, aims to rouse blockchain’s momentum in their home turf with the release of their digital signing service that allows customers to digitally and officially sign legal documents. They also have a self-sovereign identity (SSI) project to combat fraud in the Philippines. 

Blockchain security with self-sovereign identities

Twala ID is a blockchain security project that aims to optimize the whole process of verifying identification among Filipinos. Alex Quinit, the co-founder of Twala, told the attendees of the Philippine Identification Summit 2022 that they used blockchain for SSI due to the privacy it affords its users.

The ledger, because it is public and contains a comprehensive history of transactions in chronological order, allows for complete visibility of data and a single source of truth. Furthermore, the absence of intermediaries in a public blockchain solidifies user data safety and prevents misuse of data.

A public blockchain that can scale unbounded has the ability to meet market demand for big data and an extremely high number of transactions. Currently, there are almost five billion Internet users around the world, generating over 1.1 trillion megabytes of data per day. And these numbers are expected to grow rapidly with digitalization. This is why it is crucial for a blockchain to scale. 

For instance, the BSV blockchain, which is currently the largest public blockchain, has the capacity to scale limitlessly. This means block sizes and throughput are continuously increased, while fees are lowered to the bare minimum. At present, the BSV network is already processing 4GB blocks with 50,000 to 100,000 transactions per second. 

Most recently, it has reached a milestone of completing over 35 million transactions in 24 hours at fees averaging at a mere $0.0001. And as the network scales, it could go up to terabyte-sized blocks and millions of transactions per second.

These figures are significant as, in the near future, there would be millions of transactions done by Twala by verifying the Filipino nation’s identity on the blockchain. It would serve the local startup well if it uses a scalable public blockchain.

According to Quinit, the current verification process of the Philippines is largely inefficient. Getting official documents, such as birth certificates, from government institutions takes some time to process—most of the time involving long queues—and is costly. 

“When opening a bank account, we are often asked to provide at least two government-issued IDs. For employment, we are being asked for police and NBI clearance, our academic credentials, and many more. It will take some time for these relying parties to verify our documents as they have limited ways to verify the authenticity of our documents,” Quinit explained.

The ID system in the country has also not been fully digitized, resulting in loss of documents and a vulnerability to document tampering. In fact, a recent study from data analytics firm FICO states that up to 5 million Filipinos were victims of identity fraud, placing due urgency for Twala’s digital SSI to be operational in the Philippines.

Digital signing for efficient, courier-less document handling

Twala also released Twala Sign, a service that assists users in digital signing with legally binding documents. The Twala Sign synergizes well with Twala ID and allows for a loophole-free authentication ideal for high-risk documents requiring a higher level of signatory verification and security. 

A detailed audit trail is collected in all stages of the signing process, and is attached to the signed digital document. The cryptographic hash is then sent to the blockchain that Twala uses. This is timestamped and serves as the document’s proof of existence. In this way, any sort of tampering of the document can be detected and traced by Twala. 

Twala’s ID and signing technology is proof of how much blockchain is needed in the digitalization of processes and systems. Not only can blockchain speed up the transition to digital, but more importantly, it provides real benefits to citizens. 

When Twala ID and Twala Sign take off, Filipinos will not only have a more convenient way of verifying identification and signing documents, but they can also save time and money from perpetually requesting for and paying for official documents when needed.

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