This is one of the greatest applications in blockchain that can shake up the work as we know it. The main idea is to give the chance to the user to be owner of its own data, instead of a third party. It is not just the ability of individual identification, as we can do it today with our digital signature. Is about the merge of a common data base, decentralized and public, containing information and characteristics about assets beyond people. The biggest change we are living nowadays is the implantation of an ID system within the EU supported by blockchain; Digital Identity will give citizens the power over its own data. Europe will have its own digital ID based on Blockchain on a short term. The authorities issuing this identities will remain, but every citizen will collect all this information (personal ID, driving license, criminal records, health records, finances, CV…) in an e-wallet, and, when asked, he will only choose the information asked at the proper moment.
Decentralization and Encryption are key to enforce personal data on blockchains. Instead of anonymous companies gather all information once created, ID system on blockchain will keep this information in encrypted and decentralized blockchains. From there, users will be able to grant access to anyone using public and private keys.
Estonia is probably the country that leads this technology in the world. The Estonian system they developed on digital identity is not limited just to the simple identification of its own citizens. Their advanced development of this digital identity extends itself to many electronic system, such as: travel permits into the EU countries, national security insurance, personal identification in banks, digital signature, voting politicians, criminal records, medical records…and much more.
Identity is contextual, which means that the type of identification and data necessary to identify a legal entity, natural person, or an object vary depending on its nature and the context of the transaction. Some cases might need verification from governing bodies, but other doesn’t. Acceptance criteria of this technology ultimatelly depends on the definitions from the parties that trust it.
Essentially, when a file is registered into a blockchain, the authenticity of this information is guaranteed by the multitude of nodes that support the network. In other words, a numerous group of users endorse the validity of all data registered.
In this case scenario, the nodes that form the network can be controlled by agencies authorized or governmental institutions responsible of verifying and validating all digital entries. Basically, each node can “cast a vote” in relation to the authentity of this data, so the files can be used as official documents – but with a higher security protocols.
Some examples of use in our current situation (always talking about private environments) could be, for example the identity of workers clocking in, if they are free of diseases, such as COVID-19, traceability… and everyday we will see new forms and fields of application of this technology.