Nevada’s WashoeCounty is leading the way for blockchain use in government programs, including marriage certificates saved on a blockchain.
In April 2018, Washoe County issued its first marriage certificate which was stored on a blockchain. The program allows anyone who gets married in the county to view and send a digital version of their marriage certificate from their computer or smartphone. The digital marriage certificate is stored on the Ethereum blockchain.
Washoe County Clerk Nancy Parent stated that the digital marriage certificate is different from a marriage license. “Marriage licenses must be obtained in person at the County Clerk’s office and are not available online,” Parent told The Reno Gazette Journal. “Marriage certificates are proof of marriage and are available via blockchain technology through the Washoe County Recorder’s Office.”
Customers using the blockchain marriage certificates no longer have to wait seven to ten business days to receive them. Instead, their certificate arrives via email in less than 24 hours. County officials served around 950 people between April and early December. The county is now considering using blockchain technology for a digital record recovery system in case of a disasterother records. Nearby Elko County has also started a trial phase for using blockchain technology to store digital copies of birth certificates.
Titan Seal, the company behind Wahoe County’s digital marriage certificates, told the journal it is “actively looking for a DMV partner in the country to potentially create a digital driver’s license that is certified through blockchain technology”.
Resistance to the initiative has come from Washoe residents who don’t understand the technology and attempt to print the digital version and use it as a paper certificate. Hunter Halcomb, a department systems technician with Washoe County, also told the journal that around 35 percent of government agencies have rejected the digital certificates. The largest opposition comes from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“DMVs in border states are our biggest issue because they actually see cases of marriage certificate fraud,” Halcomb said.
The idea of a PDF marriage certificate really disturbs them and we haven’t been able to convince the administrators of any of these DMVs that the (digital certificates) are actually more secure than the paper ones.
The Nevada DMV has not commited to accepting the blockchain-based marriage certificate.