BTC Wires: Today’s world is constantly plagued about new kinds of security concerns that did not exist even a decade ago. One such key apprehension that bothers us often is fear of identity theft. We constantly worry that our personal information is being misused by third party entities that we did not expressly authorize. The debate that followed the rigorous questions aimed at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg forced us to sit up and consider how much we value the identity we have created through our digital footprints and how important it is to ensure their safety. With the emerging blockchain technology offering advantages such as transparency, immutability and high levels of security despite the clarity of records, the world is beginning to question whether it should switch to blockchain solutions to safeguard its identification data.
Blockchain usually stores information with strong encryption over a decentralized network very different from the networks used by social media platforms such as Facebook or government bodies. With solutions such as zero knowledge proofs available using blockchain, the control of data is handed back to the person it concerns. It ensures that all relevant information is controlled by the owner who is able to track access of such data without putting every aspect of his or her personal information out there. Coinbase, a leading player in the crypto space has already begun working with the concept of decentralized IDs and the idea is clearly gaining some traction.
If the debated trend becomes a reality, decentralized IDs or DIDs will help users control who can see their data, the very data that currently sits distributed over tens and hundreds of accounts and online entities without the actual person owning the information. The Sovrin Foundation is a key firm trying to make this possible and it says that this would ensure a “self-sovereign identity”, something that would be used across platforms for a host of different purposes without baring all. Today our information is owned by several firms, even companies we have used the services of or worked with for seemingly inconsequential purposes. This puts it under the threat of being revealed and abused by unauthorized parties. With blockchain, different forms of identity, including US citizens’ Social Security Administration numbers, nationality id, refugee registration numbers can be collated to form a database that is controlled by the concerned person, and who can use this convenient source of identification across borders and purposes.
Naturally, Governments and companies like Facebook are deeply uncomfortable with the idea because it eliminates their control and in the case of Facebook at least, takes away an avenue to earn substantial profits (by selling data to advertisers). In fact, the governments of UK and Australia are even building their own centralised ID platforms to counteract such a trend, if at all it surfaces. However, crypto enthusiasts and people increasingly plagued with security concerns are mulling the idea as a way to put their anxiety to rest.
This is not to say that the implementation of such an idea would be as simple as it appears to be in theory as several commercial and technical challenges remain to be taken care of before blockchain is really USD to safeguard personal data. At the same time, if these issues can be tackled, blockchain could really provide a great solution to the problems of identity theft and abuse.