The Pacific island nation is now offering a digital residency and blockchain-based verified ID, which can be used for KYC and ID verification.

The Republic of Palau and blockchain development firm Cryptic Labs announced the launch of the Root Name System (RNS), a digital residency program on Tuesday.

To inaugurate the partnership between Palau, Cryptic Labs and the sovereign-backed digital residency program, Palau’s President Surangel S. Whipps Jr. signed an agreement to grant “all global users” digital residency through the RNS under the country’s Digital Residency Act.

The Republic of Palau is located in the western Pacific Ocean and consists of about 340 islands inhabited by 18,221 residents. President Whipps said:

Our Digital Residency Program will have capacity for internationally recognized standards of identity verification to ensure that Palau upholds the rule of law and our reputational integrity. We welcome all global citizens to apply to participate in Palau’s digital residency program.

The digital residency program provides a blockchain-based legal ID, digital residency to democratize access to global business opportunities, and geography-agnostic governance to aid in remote corporate formation and operation. It also allows users to gain an address, shipping services and digital signature verification.

By using RNS, the digital residency program boasts end-to-end encryption which lets users control how much location and ID data they want to share with others. Once approved, users will receive a physical ID card and an ID as a nonfungible token (NFT). This will be used to facilitate “secure ID verification and access to KYC functions and forms the foundation for legal ID and verification on-chain.”

Bril Wang, CEO of Cryptic Labs said in the announcement,

This partnership with The Republic of Palau will revolutionize economic development both in Palau and around the world. The world is beginning to recognize the practicality, versatility, and truly transformative power of digital identity — this is a swift step towards that future.

Applicants for digital residency can apply by creating an account and paying with their credit card or with cryptocurrency.

The Digital Residency Program marks the second major foray in blockchain adoption that Palau has taken. In Nov. 2021, the West Pacific island nation announced a partnership with fintech firm Ripple (XRP) to develop an environmentally-friendly digital currency to assist in cross-border payments.

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