Blockchain: The Battle To Secure Digital Identities, HuffPost

Blockchain: The Battle To Secure Digital Identities

A friend of mine recently lost his wallet with all his money, cards and documents in it, of course. He was telling me how difficult and how long is the entire process to receive fresh documents: queues, lost time, the documents that need to be signed, etc.

So, I began thinking how it is possible that in our modern world is still necessary to make queues in public offices in order to obtain your documents back and verify your identity. How is it possible that it doesn’t happen online?

People don’t have any control over the their identities.

So, without the possibility of reading anything about the exchange of your own identity attributes across the network for authentication, verification, and authorization you can be vulnerable to identity fraud.

I know, this script seems to be unlikely, something that happens only on the screen (do you recall “The Net” with Sandra Bullock?), but it is not so far from reality because identity data is typically centralized.

This makes identity management, protection and verification very expensive for all the enterprises and government agencies involved in the process, and risky for us.

A solution to my response should be the blockchain. A few well-known companies such as Deloitte, IBM, and Microsoft embarked to ask themselves the same question and they are presently developing a few solutions for identity management.

Blockchain technology, in fact, can provide the most significant features to enable a digital identity network to work decently. Here’s how:

  • The blockchain is a collective ledger where all the data are stored in a trusted and unchangeable place;
  • In case of the Ethereum blockchain, wise contracts ensure privacy and safety in order to execute each transaction;
  • No need of trust inbetween the users to verify transactions and ensure records are valid;
  • Users can control their identity data and attributes;
  • Dynamic validation and modification of data thanks to wise contracts that are able to update them in real time;
  • Managed visibility and capability to verify identity without disclosing any data;
  • All users have the same permissions because it is a decentralized system.

This is just an example of the main reasons why identity management can only benefit from the blockchain technology, whether it is the Bitcoin or the Ethereum one; and that’s why the above companies determined to take advantage of this revolutionary tech.

IBM, for example, was one of the very first company to probe and test the blockchain to solve identity-related issues:

Recently, IBM and SecureKey also announced they are working together with the main aim of creating a “new digital identity and attribute sharing network” to make it lighter for users to verify their data in a privacy-enhanced, secure and efficient way.

Deloitte is doing a similar project using the Ethereum blockchain. It is an open source based on a brainy identity platform available for users and companies that want to obtain, verify and identity credentials when communicating with one another.

This way, customers can create and store identity info such as ID reference, driving license or passport, which can be confirmed by third parties to create verifiable credentials to be used for any digital communication. This Deloitte’s platform provides many opportunities for the automation of identity-related process including customer registration and Know Your Customer (KYC).

Another stir in this direction has been made by Microsoft Company that embarked a partnership with Blockstack Labs and ConsenSys to create an open-source platform for identity management based both on Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Identity-related issues worldwide: a brief report According to a latest post published by Microsoft blockchain business strategist Yorke Rhodes III:

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