NDI opens avenues for entrepreneurship

NDI opens avenues for entrepreneurship

Of the many benefits that can be accrued from the Bhutan National Digital Identity (NDI), one is the opportunity it has opened for young entrepreneurs, who can get into the business of building resources that the NDI requires, which are today imported.

Suprit Pradhan, project manager of Bhutan NDI said that though Bhutan NDI tries to build the resources or products required in-house; there are certain components that are still imported, such as the face Software Development Kit (SDK).

Suprit said that if young entrepreneurs are really interested, there are algorithms where they can look into and build face SDKs. SDK is a set of software tools and programs provided by hardware and software vendors that developers can use to build applications for specific platforms.

SDKs help developers easily integrate their apps with a vendor’s services. SDKs include documentation, application programming interfaces (APIs), code samples, libraries and processes, as well as guides that developers can use and integrate into their apps. Developers can use SDKs to build and maintain applications without having to write everything from scratch.

Suprit shared that young entrepreneurs can also build AI face-enabling applications. For instance, young entrepreneurs can grab the opportunity to talk with those legacy systems with the concerned organization on how they can leverage the expertise integrating with Bhutan NDI as there are several legacy systems in Bhutan that still exits on user name and password.

In addition, the entrepreneurs can also develop cloud services. The project manager said, “Apart from that we also know that the vacant system for the NDI right now. We are hosting in the cloud but if you look at Bhutan, how many of the entrepreneurs are providing cloud services apart,” he said.

 He shared that if there are any cloud services providers locally, then the Bhutan NDI would like to leverage with them and that there are opportunities. “In the future the entrepreneurs should be really excited in grabbing the opportunity and make business out of it,” he said. 

Pallavi Sharma, head of marketing and communication, Bhutan NDI said that as Bhutan NDI is built in collaboration with GoVTech and Druk Holdings and Investment (DHI), both institutions are actually in close contact with other governments around the world and private institutions, where discussion is underway on the potentials and the possibilities of the NDI presence for various business models.

“We have been in touch with partners around the world where we are trying to make the product available outside of Bhutan and hoping that we can bring in some of the foreign investments and also foreign reserves into the country,” Pallavi said.

In addition, Bhutan NDI in the coming days will be integrating with many other applications that people commonly use including banking applications like MBoB, GoBoB, amongst others, where the clients don’t have to remember any of their T-pin and M-pin numbers.

Talking about security, Pavilla said that even if someone steals a phone or losses it, the t-pin and the m-pin will still be secure with the Bhutan NDI and that the NDI system is built on the principle of self-sovereignty, meaning, the users are at the center of the products. It will empower each as an individual. 

The project manager, Suprit Pradhan, said that NDI has many advantages and benefits, beginning from services provided based on the identity.

Going forward, Bhutan NDI will play a big role where the NDI can identify one seamlessly in any of the online platforms without going through any long process and in addition, can have its own verified credentials.

With the Bhutan NDI app, and the foundational information from department of civil registration and census (DCRC), an individual can easily log in to the G2C online services without any password.

According to Pallavi Sharma, the Bhutan NDI has already integrated with Tashi-cell and Bank of Bhutan, amongst others, and there are still several integrations coming up. Services in business and government agencies can be availed seamlessly with the complete control in an individual’s hand.

Meanwhile, an individual need to be more conscious here in Bhutan as most are not very aware of cyber security or aspects like identity theft. As people living in a small community, many tend to easily trust each other.

To commemorate the 12th Anniversary of the Royal wedding, the nationwide Bhutan National Digital Identity was launched on October 13, 2023. Bhutan NDI is the first ever digital identity system based on the Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) system. Individuals have sole ownership of whom they want to share and what to share using a digital wallet, where their digital credentials are stored.

Through the app, individuals can avail 12 government-to-citizen (G2C) services including passport services, birth and death registration, and land taxes, among others. The Bhutan NDI has also links to Bank of Bhutan, Tashicell, and the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB).

Sherab Dorji from Thimphu