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Expert opinion

9 companies leveraging blockchain to support the identity building blocks

Friday 3 August 2018 | 08:57 AM CET

As the digital and physical reality are blurring into a single integrated way of living, it has become essential for individuals to own and control all elements of their digital identity.

Moreover, rather than grant broad consent to numerous apps and services, and have their identity data spread across numerous providers, individuals need a secure encrypted platform where they can store their identity data and easily control access to it. Currently, many industries, from finance to government, and associations are trying to create and support this digital hub for creating, storing and security identity, turning identity into an industry in itself.

According to an OWI labs report not all identity needs and use cases are the same. Moreover, if we examine each use case of identity and how it can relate to blockchain independently, we can recognize the following cases: creation, verification, authentication, authorization, and federation.

  • Creation - The initial creation of an identity, for example a government birth record or a new registrant into a system.

  • Verification - Confirming (at least) one data point of the created identity to confirm that the identity record exists.

  • Authentication - Confirming identity data points are the same as before. A common example is the use of username/password combinations to enter a computer system. If a person can provide matching data for these fields, they are authenticated.

  • Authorization - What can identity do in the system, what permissions does it have? The authorizations determine what resources it can access, its ability to make edits and other access control parameters.

  • Federation - How can your identity be shared? Different verification, authentication or authorization parameters are potentially distributable to other parties to deliver a better identity experience. For example, by logging into Google, you can access services that trust the Google sign-in process.

Considering this, check out some relevant blockchain startups focusing on leveraging blockchain technology for users’ identification, authentication and onboarding:

Cambridge Blockchain is a digital identity compliance software provider for financial institutions. The startup has built a distributed digital identity system that enable FIs (but not only), to eliminate redundancy in managing customer data. They specialize in customer onboarding, know-your-customer checks, due diligence and provide a platform to connect multiple identity validators.

KYC Chain has created an identity platform based on distributed ledger technology. The platform aims to share verifiable identity claims, data or documents suitable to satisfy compliance requirements for KYC onboarding or refresh. In terms of data privacy, platform users own the “keys” to their personal data and identity certificates, therefore identity owners are the only ones who get to choose which part of their information is to be shared.

SelfKey aims to create a self-sovereign digital identity platform that allows individuals and companies to own, control and manage their digital identity. The platform is powered by KEY, a utility token that allows its owners to have access to the Identity System. Moreover, users can verify their identity, notarize ID documents and access citizenship and residency by investment, bank accounts and other services. They focus mostly on the Asia market.

Peer Mountain is a mobile-first distributed system of trust. The startup focuses on building a decentralized P2P trust marketplace that connects self-sovereign identity owners with regulatory-compliant service providers. Being a protocol of trust in an open ecosystem, Peer Mountain let users aggregate other IDs, like Civic, onto their profile.

Evernym team has created a public permissioned distributed ledger called Sovrin, which is designed specifically for self-sovereign identity and privacy-preserving cryptography. The startup has partnered with R3, opening Sovrin’s blockchain-based identity technology to R3’s 100-plus banks.

uPort ID, created by Ethereum development community ConsenSys, aims to build a self-sovereign identity and user-centric data platform. The team behind the startup has also created a mobile app, which already has been downloaded by Zug citizens to access a new suite of e-government services in a trusted and self-reliant manner.

Civic is an identity platform using blockchain and biometrics on mobile devices, in order to provide multi-factor authentication without a username, password, third party authenticator, or physical hardware token. However, the startup aims to become a decentralized ecosystem for IDV checks (international KYC verifications), consisting of smart contracts and Civic tokens – CVCs.

Using a blend of blockchain-based data and facial recognition techniques, ShoCard is a mobile-identity platform that provides a variety of use cases, including repeat authentication, true-digital signature with non-perishable audit-trail, transaction authorization, login services without username/passwords, and user authentication in financial transactions, travel, health, government.

Trusted Key Identity is an identity management startup that uses Ethereum for online onboarding, KYC and identity/document checks. The startup offers a mobile identity wallet and REST API web services that enable definitive user identity verification, password-less login, as well as identity fraud prevention via secure transaction and document signing. The design supports lost or stolen handling as well as new device scenarios without having to trust any other party.

Interested to find out more about blockchain and digital identity? Check out our article on the evolution of digital identity, and some digital identity initiatives based on blockchain tech.

About Mirela Ciobanu

Mirela Ciobanu is Senior Editor at The Paypers and has been actively involved in covering digital payments - related topics, especially in the cryptocurrency, online security and fraud prevention space. She is passionate about finding the latest news on data breaches, machine learning, digital identity, and blockchain and she is an active advocate of the need to keep our online data/presence protected. Mirela has a bachelor’s degree in English language and holds a Master’s degree in Marketing.

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