Governor M. Cuomo announced the official launch of the blockchain based Excelsior pass, a health passport app that uses blockchain technology to provide evidence of a negative PCR or antigen test.
The partnership between the State of New York and IBM was announced at the beginning of March following the initial pilot programme that took place during the Brooklyn Nets game at Barclays Center.
Following the success of the pilot programme, New Yorkers will now be able to verify their Covid-19 vaccination or negative test results at a number of different venues, including stadiums, arenas, wedding events, and catered events.
The initiative was first announced in the Governor's State of the State 2021 address. Governor Cuomo hopes that the pass will allow New York to fast-track the opening of businesses:
"New Yorkers have proven they can follow public health guidance to beat back COVID, and the innovative Excelsior Pass is another tool in our new toolbox to fight the virus while allowing more sectors of the economy to reopen safely and keeping personal information secure,"
The Excelsior pass is built on IBM’s digital health pass and takes the form of a mobile app that individuals can opt in to confirm their health status via a confidential data transfer. With concerns regarding data privacy, a number of health pass apps have been launched using blockchain technology that can guarantee data privacy.
The general manager of IBM Public and Federal MArkets Steve LaFleche commented on the collaboration:
"IBM is proud to support the State of New York with its efforts to apply innovative technologies to help residents and communities respond to COVID-19. In choosing a flexible and accessible tool that places security and privacy at its core, the state is modeling for the rest of the country how new, technology-enabled approaches can help safely reinvigorate economies while also striving to protect public health."
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