Future with the Decentralized-Identity
You are running late for work. You scramble up in the morning, get out of your apartment with the bare essentials, get to the garage and then in your car, turn on the car with your smart phone — your DID gets authenticated. The car starts, you are off to work, and since you would be later than usual, you are expecting a bigger than usual traffic at the parking lot of your office premises. You arrive almost an hour later and see that the lot is beaming with activity. A short wait at the entrance, you flash your phone at the garage reader — your DID wallet gets scanned and you are allowed into the garage. Although late, you are not concerned about finding an empty space. You drive up to your spot, it appears to be blocked, but the blockade automatically gets removed the moment your registration number is scanned by a camera, installed right next to the parking spot which enables you to securely park in that specific spot, meant for your car. You quickly grab your stuff, head up to the entrance of the building, and again, need only to have your DID wallet scanned to get access to the office area. Right from the very beginning, all you needed to be mindful of was, not to forget to take your phone with you.
This type of ease of everyday activities in our daily life is a lot more in our reach than we realize. Streamlined authentication is already widely in use. We are however definitely moving away from the federated authentication system to a decentralized one, with the prime focus to keep our data secure and more importantly, private. The advantages to having ownership of your own data, instead of trusting third parties to deal with it in a secure manner. This is the promise of the Decentralized Identity (DID). We get to choose with whom, to what extent and for how long we intend to share our data, with the possibility to revoke what we shared, at any time.
The DID technology, which would largely enable us to live with this ease of movement, has already a big group of community who are rooting for it. The aspect of secure and portable data, that no other third party can benefit from, has already been understood and appreciated by this community. The next step that should be investigated is, how to scale this technology to a larger picture. We understand that all of this makes sense from the perspective of an end user. But for such an ecosystem to function smoothly, all the participants involved in the interactions need to be on board and unite in this undertaking. This includes other participants starting with the various forms of government institutions, law enforcement agencies, to various private institutions and corporations, such as the transport agencies, universities, local supermarkets, automobile or aero space industries, etc. This is the scale at which the Decentralized Identity (DID) would need to be expanded in order for us to profit from this technology. This begs the question of evaluating the cost factors that come into play behind the expansion of the technology and evaluating all possible ways of scaling this technology to reach a bigger audience. For this very reason, before we go about building DID silos that would only resolve parts of the equation, we need to look at the larger picture and create solutions that would make for the most cost-effective implementation of a solution that caters to all.
One possible solution would be to leverage the blockchain technology and propogate the DID across the blockchain platform. This could be done through the means of a Self Sovereign Identity (SSI). In practice, this would mean that the DID would be implemented across a platform large enough to include huge amounts of participants across the globe, and it would be self-verifiable. When thinking about using the blockchain as an anchor here, it is important to assess the impact of this solution on other areas of the entire eco-system. These include assessment of whether blockchain alone is big enough to accommodate such an enomous amount of data, to what extent can we have our data instantly available, etc. Another point to consider are the standards with which we are defining the threshold of allowing somebody’s identity to exist. All these aspects are being looked into at the moment by various institutions such as the ISO group, so as to set the standards by which new disruptors will be introduced into the market. As creators of this new technology, we should also be held responsible for working in accordance with the guidelines being set forward by these institutions and come together with other creators to bring about synergy in what we make.