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Is Blockchain the Answer for Self-Sovereign Identity? For a long period of time, large firms have acted as the primary caretakers of user data, but the tables have turned or are at least poised to turn

By Shiv Aggarwal

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The core problem with the internet, as it stands, is identity. Every year, millions of dollars are lost in fraud and identity theft because there's no secure and verifiable way for anyone to prove their identity or prevent malicious actors from using it.

Sophisticated attacks are on the rise. In 2018, over 60 million Americans fell victim to identity fraud, that's four times the number of victims in 2017. While account hacking reached a 5-year high leading to losses over $5 billion.

Almost every organisation uses ID forms like social security numbers to validate individual identities. In over 35 per cent of these breaches, social security numbers were compromised and that's more than credit card information (30 per cent). While businesses may not be able to stop using social identity cards anytime soon, there's a big opportunity to re-evaluate the concept of identity management and keep consumer data secure.

There are many, like us, who believe blockchain identity management could be an answer to this problem.

The Identity Revolution

Praised for its ability to move power, over personal data, from businesses back to users, the term self-sovereign identity, or what is generally referred to as self- controlled identity, portrays the next step in identity revolution. For a long period of time, large firms have acted as the primary caretakers of user data, but the tables have turned or are at least poised to turn.

The fraud cases are spiking up and the tools or measures used by the firms may not be necessarily better. As a matter of fact, these large organisations spend a lot of security and typically do a pretty average job.

The best thing to do, right now, is to isolate individual information and move it from a pool of identities representing similar data. This will eliminate the honey-pot effect. It's less practical and moreover, less valuable to attack single individual identity.

Permisionned Data

With user-controlled identity, instead of relying on firms to protect silos of data, consumers will be the one dishing out access to these businesses. Firms that previously leveraged this data on their own terms would be now needing permission to move forward. Most of all, consumers will not be giving out any more information than what's needed. It'll further make sure identification can be made possible by any single data point without sharing other details.

This changing of the guard may go a long way curtailing the increase in identity fraud.

The transition from physical forms, such as Social Security Numbers, being used in the virtual space, online, may take time, the potential for improved and enhanced security is enough to entice many organisations to pilot the application.

Giving control back to users

Businesses are unfairly tasked with the burden of protecting personal data. Soon the responsibility will be passed back to users. The advent of self-sovereign identity will give users a chance to reclaim back the control of their information and how it's us

Shiv Aggarwal

CEO, MyEarth.ID & Europe Lead, Government Blockchain Association

Shiv is a technology entrepreneur with a focus on improving human lives through the power of technology. He is currently leading Myearth.Id towards building a decentralised identity management platform, with a vision of providing a Universal Id to all Human Beings. 

Shiv is also volunteering as the European Lead and London President for "Government Blockchain Association", a global non-profit organisation with over 100 chapters across the world, helping governments understand and adopt blockchain technology.

Shiv has more than 15 years of technology industry experience, having worked with global brands like Bank of America, Cathay Pacific, The Hartford, Lloyds of London, Unilever, British American Tobacco and more. Shiv has been providing technical consulting, design thinking and thought leadership to his clients and stakeholders, and has been instrumental to the success of many strategic and digital transformation projects. Shiv has global corporate exposure, having worked across US, Europe, and India.

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