There are over 1 billion people on the planet without a proper form of identification. These people, who are often displaced from their homes or live in poverty, are put at a severe disadvantage without ID and are less likely to receive healthcare, education, and other public services. Additionally, identity fraud and theft are rampant, with government-issued paper documents easy to steal or copy. This can make it hard for agencies and businesses around the world to combat identity theft or fraud.
Government-issued documents, like passports, are the most widely used forms of identity. They are accepted across the world and used to travel around the globe. Local forms of ID, such as a social security card, allow for the utilization of services domestically.
For businesses, identity solutions range from username and password attestation to biometric fingerprint scanning. These solutions, while user-friendly, often fail to provide adequate security, as centralized databases can be hacked leading to stolen or compromised passwords and identity information.
Identity is one thing that should always be immutable, never changing, always available, and secure. These characteristics are an excellent case for blockchain technology used in conjunction with biometric authentication and third-party attestation.
Systems are set-up so that users can access their identity through biometric markers (fingerprint scan, facial recognition, etc.) or the use of a secure password and verified by other members of the blockchain network. Since the blockchain is immutable and never-changing, identity cannot be altered or manipulated and is secure even in a catastrophic event. Even Microsoft is getting involved with developing decentralized identity solutions.
Civic operates a digital wallet which stores identity information. The Civic app uses fingerprint scanning for authentication of identity, with information easily shared with companies who can confirm the data on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Trusted Key provides digital identity solutions for enterprises. It is a cost-effective solution while still being user-friendly for consumers. Currently, Trusted Key has a pilot program in the healthcare sector but also has solutions for education, national identity, financial institutions, and more.
One proposed method of government-issued digital identity is being developed in Estonia. The country, which first went from a physical ID card to a mobile app, is working on a solution for digital state-issued identity. E-Estonia allows digital signatures to attest to user identification and use services that range from banking to public school applications to mobile parking payments.
Dan is a freelance cryptocurrency and blockchain content writer. He has written content for startups, ICOs, financial planners, venture capital firms, and more. Previously he founded an e-commerce company that grew to $1 million in revenue and profitability in less than 3 years. Dan has a degree in Economics and Finance from Bentley University.