The Potentials of Digitizing Your Identity

The Potentials of Digitizing Your Identity
What is a Digital ID?

From login credentials to biometric facial recognition, the world’s population has been using digital forms of identity to accomplish everyday tasks. Real-time authentication has even been added to the mix for increased security. The financial sector was one of the first to see this development, requiring users to input a code received via email, app, or text message to access services.

After developing ways to validate your identity securely, such as decentralizing data, two-factor authentication, etc., the next question to answer was one of convenience. Active individuals in the digital era are now all too familiar with the process of validating and authenticating access to secure apps, which these days are abundant. Business accounts, financial services, mobile carrier services, and even videogames now use secure authentication, which must be issued and validated per service provider.

The solution? A secure, decentralized service where individuals can submit and validate their identity once and be issued a verifiable digital version of an authentic real-life ID.

What are the advantages of having a Digital ID?

Apart from gaining the ability to verify their identity on different platforms without having to scan and re-scan their documents to access services, users gain the advantage of having their identification in digital form for many real-life encounters that would require the user to validate their identity. Government services are one example, being the very authority that issues identification to individuals for the purpose of availing services from them.

Estonia has turned several heads in the digital industry for being one of the first countries to fully integrate their services digitally, starting with civilian identification. Residents in the country are issued both a physical ID card and a mobile ID by the government. The citizens use their Digital ID to access public services, e-voting, medical and emergency services, and even travel within the EU without a passport. The image below illustrates the growth path of Estonian citizens utilizing government services online via e-Estonia.

Digital state services

With decentralization offering better security, sensitive data can be locked away in the individual’s mobile device, only accessible to the user. The data is even more secured with digital wallets since nothing is shared with companies that require identity verification. Upon verification of user data and ID scans, a Verifiable Credential is issued, which does not contain any of the user’s personal information but rather describes whether an attribute is correct, such as a person’s age. This credential now becomes accessible to companies verifying the user’s identity through the Digital ID and is reusable across the available platforms it can operate with.

Looking to the future

As more mature products emerge, the consumer market gains access to secure, decentralized forms of identification for use on the broad spectrum of services both online and in real life. Estonia’s example of digitally integrating state services for Estonians and non-residents to access public service, business, and even travel & leisure is one to applaud. For businesses, this means integrating with a wide range of Digital ID Wallet apps can be beneficial, especially now that contact tracing and authorized person-only accesses are increasingly in demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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