Few technologies are as consequential as those that facilitate the issuance and storage of digital identities. These data-based attributes help us navigate the virtual world, and in turn help computer systems authenticate that we are who we say we are. If digital IDs are insecurely stored or fall into the wrong hands, identity fraud on an industrial scale is the outcome.
Thankfully, governments and private enterprises alike recognize the importance of implementing robust digital identity solutions; doing so will not only help to combat fraud but also reduce customer onboarding costs and promote financial inclusion. The following five projects are leading the digital identity race at present, enabling users to interact safely and seamlessly with systems related to banking, healthcare, voting and more.
Concordium is a privacy-focused blockchain for enterprises and governments, and the first project to have an innovative user identity layer built-in at the protocol level. Based in Zug, Switzerland, Concordium utilizes smart contracts and the cryptographic concept of zero-knowledge proofs, wherein users can verify that something is true without physically seeing the evidence.
Designed to integrate with existing financial and business systems that must authenticate users’ identity on a day-to-day basis, Concordium has also been created to meet regulatory approval. While the data about network participants is anonymized on-chain, the platform retains the ability to revoke anonymity in a decentralized process only if requests are made by a legal authority. Concordium’s mainnet is due to launch in early 2021, with its incentivized testnet having already attracted plenty of interest.
IBM are fully invested in the digital identity race, via their IBM Verify Credentials product. The concept is simple: individuals should have the right to control when, where and with whom they share their credentials online. The term favored by IBM is “decentralized identity,” and with the Cambridge Analytica data scandal having fomented widespread distrust of big tech firms, it’s a concept very likely to catch on.
Utilizing underlying blockchain technology, IBM Verify Credentials makes it possible for issuing organizations to vouchsafe digital credentials, with users then free to decide which third parties they wish to share them with. Currently in alpha mode, Verify Credentials can be employed by businesses who conduct Know Your Customer (KYC) processes, increasing trust while optimizing costs. Notably, the product builds on top of open standards in conjunction with Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and other standards groups.
Remme is a developer of Identity and Access Management solutions, such as PKI-enabled apps for Web 3.0. Its enterprise-ready, blockchain-based identity solution is called Auth, and it’s a product that allows developers to build ecosystems where physical and digital experience blend together.
From passwordless authentication (one-tap signup) to self-sovereign digital identity securely stored and managed on your smartphone, Auth simplifies user access to a range of online systems. Users can even revoke access to their data at any time, addressing the imbalance whereby countless third parties hold your data on file. Moreover, you can sign out of every website or app from within the Auth app.
Avanade is a little different from the aforementioned projects, acting as more of a facilitator/middleman. They are experts, in other words, at securing IT ecosystems and retrofitting outdated systems with identity management solutions including migration to Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory. Named as Microsoft 20/20 Security Advisory Partner of the Year back in March, the Seattle, Washington-based firm has a comprehensive portfolio of identity solutions including Identity as a Service and serves clients in 25 countries. If you’re a business looking to scale up on the identity front, Avanade can get you up and running.
There you have it: five projects leading the digital identity race at this current juncture. With a security-centric solution in place, enterprises can achieve compliance while driving customer engagement, and end users can benefit from a richer, safer experience. Here’s to the next wave of innovation.