News > Can Blockchain ID provide the elusive ubiquitous digital identity?

On Tuesday 19th April, more than 30 identity professionals converged in London to debate the potential uses of Blockchain, at the latest EEMA High-Level Fireside Briefing entitled ‘Blockchain ID: A better way?’Blockchain April 16 - picture

For those unfamiliar with Blockchain it has its origin in Bitcoin source code and put simply it is a data structure that makes it possible to create a ledger of transactions which can be shared.  For more background reading The Wall Street Journal has a very good explanation: http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2016/02/02/cio-explainer-what-is-blockchain/

The evenings debate was opened by the Chairman of EEMA, Jon Shamah who said: “We need to declutter and cut through the hype, to focus on what Blockchain means in the context of identity.” Guest presenters Steve Pannifer from Consult Hyperion and Telesign’s Andrew Tobin shared their insight and expertise with the audience.  Here are some of the key points raised during the event…

  • To date the industry as a whole has failed to deliver ubiquitous digital identity. Blockchain may be able to address this through strong cryptography (the user has a cryptographic key under their control) and the potential for portability.
  • Blockchain points to a move away from the centralised model in use today and the reliance on organisations such as credit reference agencies, to a more decentralised approach.
  • Blockchain raises the issue of data sovereignty and promotes giving more control of data and who accesses it to the citizen/customer.
  • The use of Blockchain could prompt a move away from the complex Know Your Customer verification approach, in favour of a new identity ecosystem, whereby the customer points an organisation to list of digital identity transactions/attributes that proves they are who they say they are.
  • The use of Blockchain for identity purposes could bring security benefits as presents a much smaller ‘attack surface’ and the decentralised model means it one element is compromised the entire chain will not break.
  • Blockchain is often regarded as censorship resistant and unchangeable. Addressing this will also require assurances to be put in place that the people that making changing have the permission to do so, and that requires a trust framework.
  • The ideas being presented by Blockchain are not new, but are being presented in a new way.

The next EEMA High-Level Fireside Briefing takes place in Brussels on 17th May. The br

iefing is being hosted in association with Trustcore and will focus on Blockchain once again with the session entitled ‘Blockchain – a future we sufficiently understand?’ For more information and to register please visit: http://eema2017.wpengine.com/event/blockchain-may 

 

Download press release in pdf