Problem: You do not own your own identity
As the Internet proliferates throughout the world, it becomes an intrinsic
element of human daily life in almost every domain. The Internet is an
inherently digital, international, exponential and technology network
unbounded by traditional borders. The shift from paper to digital computing
and Internet 1.0i and 2.0 were some of the most fundamental changes of
recent modern history. Today, almost everything is being disrupted by
digitalization, computing, and the Internet. The development of blockchain is
considered by many to enable an Internet 3.0.
However, despite advancement and disruption in other domains, the identity
systems we rely upon today are currently paper-based, nationally-driven,
government identity systems and do not leverage the power of Internet 3.0.
Millions of people currently rely on — or are excluded from— identity systems
due to a lack of any modern technology infrastructure.iv
Most identity systems are centrally planned and managed, do not integrate or
link to other systems, and do not place the identity owner in a place of
entitlement and power. These systems lead to inefficiencies, data leaks, threats,
loss of privacy and identity theftv which have left billions without financial
accounts of any kind.
Many centralized identity systems have very serious security issues. The recent
Equifax data breach where the personal data of up to 143 million individuals
may have been compromised highlights the vulnerability of centralized
databases and calls into question the continued practice of collecting large
centralized sets of highly sensitive data. In some instances, the citizens of
entire countries (such as Swedenix) have suffered potentially devastating
personal data breaches. These breaches often do not occur as a result of
hacking or other malicious efforts but, instead, because appropriate safeguards
did not exist to prevent unauthorized access to the data.x
Current identity systems have largely failed to deliver any of the most basic
requirements for a successful identity system: security, privacy, ownership,
access, protection, interoperability, or linked data portability to identity owners.
“Current identity systems are limiting Fintech innovation as
well as secure and efficient service delivery in Financial
Services and society more broadly. Digital identity is widely
recognised as the next step in identity systems.” – WEF
The failings of traditional centralized identity systems are clear. To ensure that
individuals retain ownership of their identity, the development of a sustainable
digital identity model for our evolving global society is now essential.