How Decentralized Identities can be used to remove bias and protect user data
More and more our lives depend on verification or authentication of our identities for many activities including buying a vehicle, applying for a loan, or signing up for any new service. So far, the existing systems for authenticating and creating trust in online users are troublesome for users and businesses alike. Unfortunately, with the current way how we handle identities, the users have to surrender their privacy by relinquishing their data, identities, and who has access to those to a third-party provider. Though the trust and security of all online transactions hardly clear the criteria of "satisfactory”, users have no other choice but to trust social media companies, search engines, and other online technology giants with their identities and data, so that these companies can monetize them, and the user is left with zero economic gain from this.
One’s personal information, like name, address, or credit card information, might be saved at dozens of sites. By saving this information with multiple sites you are also sharing your username and password with multiple companies so that your future transactions will be made simpler. But there is also a risk that comes with convenience such as identity theft, cyber fraud, fake profiles, etc.
With Decentralized Identities (DIDs), we can fix this and other problems. DIDs put customers back in control of their personal information and change the dynamic of data control by having online businesses now have to earn the trust of the user so that the user can share their data with online companies and not the other way around. With DIDs the users can better protect their transactions because they can make sure that the information shared is accurate and refers to the individual they are transacting with, consequently decreasing fraud.
How Do Decentralized Identities Work?
With Decentralized Identities, users use an app, which is considered a "wallet," that stores all their personal information and credentials. There are “NO” passwords that exist under this model (forget about your more than a thousand passwords, imagine that!). Instead, passwords are substituted with cryptographical keys which authenticate users transparently to businesses whilst safeguarding their communication exchange. These wallets store the verified identity fields such as name, age, location, credit card accounts, citizenship, education, employment, and credit history, among many other data fields that the user would like to keep on the wallet. In essence, the user DID wallet becomes the “safe” for any valuable data point that the user considers valuable and has the potential to be shared with another party in the future.
Under this new model, the DID user is constantly in control, selecting between whom to share about and what to share— that’s the reason it is stated as "self-sovereign identity."
The standards of this technology are innovative, the software used for applying decentralized identity wallets and assisting services is plenteous, ranging from open-source building blocks, by an array of startups, to some of the major names in technology. Numerous vendors that offer wallet apps or that can assist establishments to incorporate the technology hooked on their apps have the membership of the Decentralized Identity Foundation.
A lesser amount of information stored in databases denotes fewer, or lesser destructive data breaches and easy compliance for businesses or organizations. Phishing to steal the password of any account is eliminated, a remembrance of a less protected past. Loan applications could be acquiesced and processed in seconds, or any other transaction that required sharing of data between parties would be radically improved by digitizing a process that used to entail mountains of paperwork.
This technology aims to make the user feel empowered online and provide a safe platform where sellers and buyers build up a verifiable reputation.
What is the potential impact that DIDs can have in the world of business?
As the quantity of digital transactions rises, we should aspect for opportunities to integrate decentralized identity, opening with those transactions that will bring the most benefit are those transactions where:
An organization desires to build trust with their customer (e.g., to evade fraud, abuse, or safeguard safety).
The trust is built on the customer’s data (e.g., financial or health information, PII).
The legitimacy of the data can be proved thru a third party.
While designing systems to allow transactions thru these characteristics, decentralized identity may offer simplified compliance, easier integration, delighted users, and less risk that help to increase privacy and fewer invasive verification.
With this technology, we have the potential to establish a better, and safer future, where we get more control over individual privacy, business is efficient and trustworthy as well as online groups are entrenched with trust. By adopting these decentralized identity protocols, the risk of fraud committed against industries and governments and identity theft will greatly decrease, but it wants collaboration and coordination between and among businesses, establishments, and governments. We're all together in this. Let's accomplish it.
We at Nebulai use Decentralized Identities for several purposes, including:
- Decentralize the identity data controller so that the user remains in control
- Make sure user has control of when, where, and to whom they can share their data assets. All this without passwords
- Protect the user by creating an “anonymous” identity so any user of our platform could remain protected against bias when transacting with any party in the Nebulai Marketplace
- Removing the blockers of sharing data with multiple parties, including skills, certifications, portfolios, intellectual property, documents, etc. All these could be shared securely with other parties without relying on a centralized intermediary.
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