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Asian RoyalsBhutan

Bhutanese Crown Prince is country’s first citizen with digital identity

Crown Prince Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan undertook his second solo official engagement as he became the first citizen to be inserted in the country’s new digital identity platform. 

On Tuesday, 21 February, His Royal Highness officially launched Bhutan NDI in an event held on King Jigme Khesar’s 43rd birthday. 

The Gyalsey, the Bhutanese title for the heir to the throne, posed for the digitalisation of his image, which was then revealed to him, as shown in one of the images posted by his mother, Queen Jetsun Pema, on her Instagram account. 

Therefore, the Crown Prince is now officially the first citizen in the country to have his digital identity within the Bhutan NDI mobile wallet. The platform is based on DID technology (Decentralised Identity), which guarantees users more control over the data they input and the people with whom they share certain data. 

The new nationwide system was developed in tandem by Drake Holding and DHI InnoTech (Department of Investments) for GovTech Bhutan, the country’s technology innovation agency. 

Now that the project has been launched, it will be gradually implemented throughout the whole of Bhutan’s population. 

Jigme Tenzing, Acting Secretary for GovTech Bhutan, later said, “We are honoured and privileged to have His Royal Highness as the first digital citizen of Bhutan. The launch of Bhutan National Digital Identity, based on the Self-Sovereign Identity model, is a major step forward in transforming the way services are delivered in both the public and private sectors.”

These sentiments were echoed by Ujjwal D. Dahal, Director of DHI InnoTech: “We are proud to work with GovTech Bhutan as a development partner on this important project which will help transform the way citizens and all visitors to Bhutan will interact with government and private sector organisations in the future.”

Crown Prince Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck was born on 5 February 2016 as the first child of King Jigme Khesar and Queen Jetsun Pema. Despite having just turned seven years old, this is already his second solo engagement, having undertaken his first last year, in June 2022, when he opened the Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck Super FabLab (SFL), a 3D printing and tech facility.