As users make the most of online services and explore the web, they eventually produce a digital identity. This kind of identity will be associated with central entities like Google and Facebook, which will make it simpler to talk about data with new releases through simple sign-in buttons.
While these digital identity management systems are convenient, they’re counting on centralized intermediaries that hold and control user data. Personal identifiers and attestations have been in their hands, plus they can decide — or perhaps be forced — to talk about these details along with other parties.
Blockchains provide a solution: decentralized digital identities. These allow visitors to manage information associated with their identities, create identifiers, control who they’re distributed to and hold attestations without counting on a main authority, just like a government agency.
A decentralized identifier for any decentralized identity may take the type of an Ethereum account. Users can make as numerous accounts because they want around the Ethereum network without anyone’s permission and without anything being kept in a main registry. Credentials around the Ethereum blockchain are often verifiable and tamper-proof, which makes them very reliable.
Other use cases are available. In August 2022, Binance catapulted the decentralized identity debate to social networking platforms after relocating to launch its first soulbound token, BAB, becoming users’ Know Your Customer (KYC) credentials.
Whether decentralized identities are the way forward for online activity remains seen.
Managing decentralized identities
Talking with Cointelegraph, Witek Radomski, chief technology officer and co-founding father of nonfungible token ecosystem Enjin, revealed he sees the next where the metaverse will discover a “blend of social networking systems, email, crypto wallet addresses, and decentralized applications,” suggesting you will see a mixture of digital and decentralized identities.
Per Radomski, the important thing to identity management would be the “preservation and protection of sensitive information,” as different systems have “distinct technical techniques to track digital possession of information.”
Radomski added that folks entrusting protocols using their private data should think about that big business decisions is going to be made according to an enterprise’s needs and philosophy, adding:
“The possession of digital assets mimics asset possession within the physical world. Presuming that proprietors are operating inside the bounds from the law, blockchain-enabled digital possession can’t be interfered with through the government.”
He added that decentralized identities will lead to preserving individuality, that will “depend on showing that you aren’t a bot” and can have online activity among the “most compelling testaments to show this.”
The potential for decentralized identities
Managing digital identities is really a challenge, as you mistake can certainly result in a breach of private information. Centralized entities happen to be known targets, having a recent situation seeing the private data of Portugal’s president stolen inside a cyberattack. Using decentralized identities eliminates this risk, as just the users have the effect of their data.
Talking with Cointelegraph, Dmitry Suhamera, co-founding father of IDNTTY — a decentralized public infrastructure layer enabling a decentralized identity approach — stated that centralized digital identity providers “compete with one another, which really hinders prevalent adoption,” as with the finish, “the user needs an ID for government services, an ID to have interaction having a bank, an ID to utilize a cooperation.”
Real-world use cases have experienced digital identity programs’ adoption slow lower soon after launching, with Suhamera using Gov.United kingdom Verify within the Uk, which saw under 10% of people registering, for example. Nigeria’s adoption of eID, Suhamera added, stalled in 2017 among difficulties with public-private partnerships accustomed to launch this program.
Per Suhamera, centralized digital identity solutions have a tendency to “be quite costly and provide an inconvenient monetization model” as users need to buy and purchase national IDs before with them digitally.
Mix-border purposes of digital IDs will also be complex, Suhamera added, as corporations and regulators have to set up paperwork, which may be a sluggish process. Suhamera added:
“Decentralized ID enables in order to obtain a distributed ‘cheap,’ simple to integrate repository of private ID (that just the user is accountable) that any service can integrate, from KYC providers and digital signatures to the online or identity services.”
While decentralized identity could make identifiable information more portable and keep it safe, centralized entities managing digital IDs “tend to supply a group of services at the same time,” boosting consumer experience.
Decentralized identities have many use cases, including the opportunity of universal logins across numerous applications without using passwords. Providers can issue attestation tokens granting users use of their platforms following a single sign-up, for instance.
Binance’s soulbound token implies that user authentication and KYC is another possibility around the blockchain by using non-transferable tokens. Since these tokens aren’t transferable, voting with the blockchain without manipulation is indeed a possibility.
While decentralized identity management does have the symptoms of significant advantages, we’ve got the technology doesn’t come without its drawbacks. For just one, self-sovereignty means it might not be probably the most user-friendly approach.
Talking with Cointelegraph, Charlotte now Wells, communications manager at crypto platform Wirex, stated digital identities have been in existence for a while, although blockchain-based digital identities will “be a game title-changer later on web 3 because of their decentralized nature.”
Wells noticed that the quantity of user data stored on the internet is continuously growing, creating “huge security concerns over how this data is going to be stored and who’ll get access to it.” She pointed to data breaches at Facebook, which uncovered the information of countless its users. Per her words, decentralized digital identities is going to be “vital in allowing us to possess possession and control of our credentials.” Wells commented:
“Self-sovereign identities use blockchain technology and nil-understanding proofs to keep digital identities on non-custodial wallets – the greatest advantage because users have total control of this and choose what companies, apps and people get access to this data.”
She added there are drawbacks: An important role of centralized entities is “enforcing standards of regulation, giving users and companies the reassurance they have to work on the internet.” Without these central government bodies, Wells concluded, there might not be exactly the same degree of protection for decentralized identities.
Zero-understanding proofs are a good way of showing the validity of some data without revealing the information itself. Fraxel treatments, combined with decentralized identities, can often mean users can be who they really are while under pseudonyms, making certain their security isn’t affected.
To Fabrice Cheng, co-founder and Chief executive officer of Quadrata, blockchain-based digital identities are likely to change the idea of digital IDs and make new use cases for that Web3 space. Talking with Cointelegraph, Cheng noted that it’s still vital that you be conscious of what’s shared, noting that individuals should “be aware o their behaviors around the blockchain.”
Using the Ethereum blockchain serving as a worldwide directory for decentralized identities of users that like the things they share and therefore are in charge of their data, it’s difficult to make a scenario by which crypto-native users wouldn’t prefer this different. Non-crypto native users, however, may choose to carry on using centralized providers and share their data, a minimum of before the consumer experience becomes as basic.