Blockchain technologies are tracking and managing digital identities both securely and efficiently, thereby resulting in seamless sign-on and reduced fraud.
Be it healthcare, banking, national security, or online retailing, identity authentication and authorization is a process that is intricately woven into commerce and culture worldwide. Because of the lack of common comprehension and often-unchecked cyberspace of personal information, identity authentication is facing significant hurdles. Several events such as hacked databases and breached accounts are showcasing growing problems of our technologically advanced society. Along with biometrics, blockchain technology is offering solutions for these digital identities issues, where an identity can be uniquely authenticated in an immutable, irrefutable, and secure manner.
How are digital identities represented in the Blockchain?
- At first, the user’s identity starts its journey into the blockchain as a self-asserted block. It contains the user’s identity attributes and user’s public key along with the user’s private key. At this initial stage, the level of confidence in the user’s identity is at the base level.
- Other entities, such as electricity providers or banks, with which the user has a relationship, are also represented within the blockchain, along with their own sets of hashed attributes and public keys. These entities focus on establishing relationships with a user by signing the particular hashed attributes of that user, which are relevant to that relationship. For instance, the Passport Office can sign the hashed address and photograph of the subject if the attribute value asserted by the user gets matched with those on record at the Passport Office.
- As more relationships are established for the user within a blockchain, confidence in the accuracy of the attributes increases and thereby, the identity itself grows organically. Additionally, as more transactions involving the user take place, the ‘reputation capital’ of the identity also grows proportionately.
- If any of the relationships change between the user and the entities, that change is established within the blockchain as a separate block with a cryptographically signed timestamp. This effectively allows the new verifier to observe, both previous and current relationships, through a cryptographically protected sequence.
Blockchain Identity Use Cases
Blockchain technology can be applied to the following identity applications. Any company can deploy blockchain for building trust among users. Blockchain allows companies to instantly make, approve, and verify different types of transactions by leveraging a collaborative digital ledger. Once transactions or other data are inside the ledger of the blockchain, cryptography takes over, and existing verification hurdles are drastically reduced, with chances of data being stolen are eliminated.
Undoubtedly blockchain technologies are interesting and innovative. They have the potential for some useful applications like creating evidence chains for identity verification and the creation of smart contracts. So blockchain is certainly positively impacting and securing digital identities.