Every day, nearly everyone gets online. Millions get online for many reasons. They go online to play a game like Player Unknown’s Battle Grounds or Fornite Battle Royale, or users go online to research a topic, shop for a few items, respond to social media, or review their bank statements, people are becoming more and more dependent on online services and creating more transactions.
“The more transactions an individual carries out online, the more digital footprints they leave behind.”—Rohan Pinto
Most online transactions require that users provide personal information before they can access services. Platforms such as Amazon Pay or PayPal require users to input financial and personal information—which eventually gets stored on a number of internet databases. With the propagation of user’s data, they risk being hacked. This was evidenced by the Equifax hack, where hackers gained access to a major database and exposed personal information of users and.
Blockchain Use Case for Digital Identity
Sam Mire of Disruptor Daily evaluated a number of likely use case for Identity management. I’ve summarized three in this article.
Identity Verification—Most online platforms with identity credentials most likely use a combination of username and password. Mire suggests that these will be outdated as businesses and government entities begin to understand the vulnerabilities of this rather simple credentialing process. Here are a few statistics that should cause concern:
86% of internet users use passwords that were likely compromised in previous data breaches. This means that hackers had free reign throughout their numerous internet accounts.
70% no longer trust passwords to protect their accounts.
81% of data breaches was the result of hacked passwords.
A Google report found: 3.3 billion credentials were stolen during third-party breaches, and 12 million were stolen via phishing attacks. In other words, the system is broken.
Clearly, protecting and managing one’s identity will need to be handled in the same way as one guards their personal home—where many are installing live video recordings of anyone who rings the doorbell.
So too, users can protect their identity with blockchain features such as multiple step, and multiple factor identity validation methods. Blockchain has been proven to work, and a number of companies have implemented blockchain to manage their digital identities.
Here a few companies that are adopting blockchain use case for identity validation.
Civic – Identity management company developing blockchain identity solutions.
Edge – Developing secure identity solutions to help protect cryptoassets.
NewBanking Identity – Personal and business identity verification services.
I’ve always liked @civickey project by @VinnyLingham been in it since the beginning. Can’t wait to see this Civic wallet And the great potential #Civic has in the future. #CivicWallet app https://t.co/CxKj4BGNkN #CivicApp #Wallet $cvc #Civickey
— Dan (@DeCNTRLZD) July 23, 2019
Non-Custodial Login Solutions—When you log into an online app or platform for online shopping—you entrust that entity with your financial data, and more, to a centralized, managed, or custodial, database system. This means you will be entrusting your data to a custodian—whom you will have to trust to protect your information and have the confidence it will not become compromised. Not only do we tend to trust national brand named entities, but we also trust our employers to manage our personal data on company servers—believing they’ve got it all under control.
However, history is replete with examples of hackers breaking into what we once thought of as being secure. Here’s a quick historical review of some of the most notorious breeches of data:
Home Depot (2014)
Hilton Hotels (2015)
Blockchain offers a non-custodial solution of managing your digital identity. Blockchain is decentralized, and so it is conducive to non-custodial login credentials. Your data—usernames, passwords, and the database that controls them—will no longer be stored with a custodial central entity, such as your employer.
With blockchain, the custodian of log in credentials are removed. They are replaced with public and private log-in keys. The centralized database systems in question will continue to ensure those logging in are legitimate users, that is: they are who they say they are.
Here are a couple companies that are adopting a use case to manage non-custodial log-ins.
Edge – Decentralized non-custodial login solutions.
REMME – Login that verifies identity through blockchain permissions.
Secure Identities for the Decentralized Web—The original internet (1969) was designed by ARPA, UCLA and Berkley, among others (Walt Howe) as a way to ensure communication would never be lost in the event of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. Yup, the days of the Cold War gave us the Internet. Primarily designed to ensure a direct connection between two users, or peers. It ensured file sharing, direct messaging, and bulletin boards.
By the late 1980’s commercial entities arose with names like AOL and Earthlink. Eventually, the US Government in the Clinton era released the technology to the public. If you recall, that was when Al Gore “created the internet!” [Not true!]
Today—the internet is inundated with third party ecommerce platforms, content rich platforms—all “requiring troves of personal data in order for users to access the services that they so desire, whether it is email or online shopping.” (Mire)
Blockchain, with its decentralization, can assist third parties while maintaining ones’ identity. In one use case, a user can store data and identify information on a blockchain—available to use throughout the internet. No longer will the user have to grant app, platform or service providers their personal data and credentials each time. Another consideration is to have the user add their personal data on a blockchain while allowing third parties to access user data with the user’s consent.
Here are three companies working to solve this issue with decentralized web.
Metadium – Decentralized identity protocols.
Madana – Creating secure personal data sharing on the web.
Hu-manity.co – Personal data title rights on the blockchain.
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Our CTO, @satazor, just attended #IPFScamp in Barcelona with his team, where he gave a Talk / Workshop about Decentralized Identity, a Lightning talk and another talk about IDM & Nomios and oriented a Deep dive about Master Keys & User-Experience 👏 We are so proud to be involved in these projects!
Identity theft is a real concern. With more businesses and government demanding that users provide personal information online, digital identity management represents a valuable use case application for blockchain distributed ledger technology.
The promise of blockchain to support digital identity is real, and many companies are pursuing that end for the corporation and government entities, as well as for the smaller, entrepreneur entity.
Howe, Walt, “A Brief History of the Internet: https://www.walthowe.com/navnet/history.html, August 2019.
Mire, Sam “Blockchain for Identity Management: 7 Possible Use Cases”, December 2018.
Pinto, Rohan, “How Blockchain Can Solve Identity Management Problems”, Forbes, July 2018.