Huge technological advances have driven the growth of digital-first and phygital ecosystems. Individual interactions at every stage will require those individuals to prove their identities. Examples include opening a bank account, getting a new phone subscription, or making secure online payments, among others.
From booking a vacation online to checking in at the hotel, each step requires you to establish your identity. So, let’s consider how verification of identity works. Think of it as a “triangle of trust,” connecting the issuer, the holder (in this case, the user), and the verifier. Take the use case of driver’s licenses. In this scenario, the road authority issues the license; it is the issuer. The individual driver is the holder, who presents the license, when asked, to a rental company, for instance (or the insurance company, in case of a problem). The rental/insurance company is the verifier.
As the digitalization of our lives gathers pace, digital identifiers will soon be required at every stage within a process of identification and authentication. In this context, self-sovereign identities (SSIs) present a workable solution for managing the many interactions among the three roles outlined above.
According to Robert Heinze, Director Technology & Innovation Management at G+D, SSI can best be achieved through a combination of cryptography and decentralization. “The concept of verifiable credentials included in the current SSI specifications is a fundamental game changer for digital identity management. They could be superior in unattended use cases, and conveniently transfer the use cases of an ID card in the digital world. They aim to enable quick and cost-efficient identification with the highest standards of privacy and security,” he said.
Let’s examine why this is important, and how we can build toward it.