Among the variety of non-financial use cases, blockchain technology can be applied to identity applications in areas such as digital identities, passports, e-residency, birth certificates, wedding certificates, IDs, online account logins, etc. Creating an identity on blockchain can give individuals greater control over who has their personal information and how they access it.
2.5 billion people in the world are unbanked with no identity and hence excluded from the global financial system. Identity that could be provided by applying blockchain technology has the potential to include the unbanked into the global financial system.
UN Sustainable Development Goal #16, Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, aiming to “provide legal identity to all, including birth registration, by 2030.”
Blockchain technology can be applied to identity applications in the following areas:
- Digital Identities
- Birth Certificates
- Wedding Certificates
- Online Account Logins
- Many more
Projects/companies working on blockchain and identity (pull requests welcome) consolidated by Markus Sabadello /peacekeeper.
- Namecoin is a blockchain that has been conceived from the start to be used for registering domain names. It is the first fork of the Bitcoin software.
- NameID is an OpenID service based on Namecoin identifiers.
- CertCoin is an MIT paper about a NameCoin-based decentralized authentication system which maintains a public ledger of domains and their associated public keys.
- ChainAnchor is MIT paper about an architecture that adds an identity and privacy-preserving layer above the blockchain, either the private blockchain or the public blockchain in Bitcoin.
- Blockstack is a network of computers that collectively maintain a global registry of domain names, public keys, and cryptographic hashes. With this registry, Blockstack serves as a decentralized domain name system (DNS) and a decentralized public key infrastructure (PKI). Onename is a product built on Blockstack that allows people to register identities.
- A workshop called “Rebooting the Web-of-Trust” has produced a paper about a Decentralized Public Key Infrastructure (DPKI), which registers identifiers and associated public keys on blockchains.
- The non-profit organization XDI.org has designed a blockchain-based registry for human-readable names and machine-readable numbers.
- Startup ConsenSys has developed a blockchain-based identity system called uPort to launch an “Internet-of-People”.
- Identit.ee is a program to build blockchain identity solutions related to the Estonian e-Residency concept.
- BitAlias allows users to register names in the Bitcoin blockchain and point them to their wallets.
- EtherID allows registration of domain names for an Ethereum account.
- ENS is the “Ethereal Namespace”, a contract system and set of conventions to form a hierarchical namespace.
- Ethereum Name Service is a proposed protocol that provides flexible resolution of short, human-readable names to service and resource identifiers.
- Evernym is developing the first “self-sovereign identity platform” on a permissioned distributed ledger called Sovrin, which is dedicated solely to identity, and it is fully open source (FOSS). Multiple white papers explain the ideas and technologies behind it. A podcast is available that explains the concept of “universal identity”.
- At Ethereum’s DEVCON ONE conference, a talk on blockchain, digital identity, and public key infrastructure was given.
- Bitnation seeks to establish the concept of “world citizenship” through identity registration on the blockchain. The project is collaborating with the Estonian e-Residency program and also has a focus on offering “blockchain emergency IDs” to refugees.
- Linux foundation hyper ledger project looking to develop a cross-industry open standard with many big companies participating.
- ID2020 seeks to provide every child born after 2020 with a self sovereign digital identity, which helps reduce risks of trafficking and drive digital inclusion.
- Shocard is an early stage company developing an “identity platform” built on blockchain.
- A research team at Athens University of Economics and Business is working on “information-centric” networking and is exploring the use of blockchain technology for “content names”.
- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is funding research on the “Applicability of Blockchain Technology to Privacy Respecting Identity Management”
- An MIT paper about “Decentralizing Privacy: Using Blockchain to Protect Personal Data”.
- An Ethereum blog post about “Privacy on the Blockchain”, including some thoughts about identity systems.
- Jolocom is developing applications for everyone to own their personal digital identity, using linked data and blockchain technologies.
- Danube Tech is collaborating with several other efforts to build blockchain-based identifier registration infrastructure.
- Scuttlebot is a “blockchain identity” protocol avoiding a singleton-based approach. It embraces subjectivity over consensus, e.g. each identity can publish messages that map their favorite pet name mappings for themselves and others. Patchwork is a user-facing decentralized messaging and sharing app based on Scuttlebot.
- Startup Cambridge Blockchain is working on an Identity Blockchain for validating secure digital identity documents, processing electronic signatures, and recording transactions.
- Proof-of-Individuality addresses the challenge to prove that a person only has one account within a system, without sacrificing the advantages of anonymity/pseudonymity. See here for a draft implementation using “virtual pseudonym parties”.
- Regis is a platform that makes it easy to build, deploy, and manage decentralized registries on the Ethereum blockchain.
- SingleID An app that allows you to be in control of their online identity. It provides safe logins with no registration and no password.
- IDKeys is a distributed global identity system that registers cryptographic public keys on the Stellar blockchain.
- CheapID is a digital identity standard designed for use in conflicted environment like those many refugees or disaster victims may find themselves in.
- DIDs (Decentralized Identifiers) are a new type of identifier intended for digital identity that is “self-sovereign”, i.e, fully under the control of the identity owner. DIDs resolve to DDOs (DID descriptor objects) and can be registered in different blockchains (using different “methods”).
- A research project on registering WebIDs on the Ethereum blockchain, to be used for Linked Data and Solid.
- An article by the GSMA about the relationship between blockchain and identity.
- A snapshot of the identity landscape by oneworldidentity.com.
- Authenteq is an automatic identity verification platform that uses a facial recognition algorithm to create a digital identity on a blockchain.
- The Humanized Internet is building a prototype of an identity-as-a-service platform, relying on a blockchain system, to store legal IDs, property titles, education certificates, and medical records.
- Deloitte SmartID uses Ethereum smart contracts to store, endorse, share, and revoke attributes, in order to enable users to automate digital processes such as customer registration and commercial KYC checks.
Elena Mesropyan lists the following pioneers in building blockchain-based identity management and authentication solutions for cross-industry applications:
2WAY.IO effectively transforms public nodes into private nodes by adding a permissions layer. Private nodes can connect information silos & secure communication channels. They’re user-in-control (privacy-by-design & security-by-design) and require no trade-off between security and UX. These systems are both trusted third-party- and blockchain-agnostic; they only require an intermediary or blockchain when both parties agree to add one to their interaction.
Atencoin is a first-generation, identity-based compliant digital currency. It is headed up by the National Aten Coin (NAC) Foundation, an organization that supports the identification of blockchain-based technology and digital currencies.
BlockAuth enables users to own and operate their own identity registrar that allows them to submit their information for verification.
Blockstack provides a decentralized domain name system (DNS), decentralized public key distribution system, and registry for apps and user identities. Personal user APIs ship with the Blockstack app and handle everything from identity and authentication to data storage. Applications can request permissions from users and then gain read-and-write access to user resources.
Bitnation is a governance 2.0 platform that is powered by blockchain technology. Its goal is to provide the same services that governments provide, but in a decentralized and voluntary manner, unbound by geography. Bitnation has worked out an identification solution such as blockchain passport and a marriage certificate.
BlockVerify provides blockchain-based anti-counterfeit solutions. It uses blockchain technology to improve anti-counterfeit measures in different industries such as pharmaceuticals, luxury items, diamonds and electronics.
Cambridge Blockchain LLC is developing its digital identity software with several leading global financial institutions, with commercial deployments planned for late 2017. The company’s distributed architecture resolves the competing challenges of transparency and privacy, resulting in faster customer onboarding, lower costs, and enhanced compliance through a single, trusted and consistent view of customer reference data. Cambridge Blockchain has won FinTech competitions including BBVA Open Talent 2016 and the Santander InnoVentures Distributed Ledger Challenge. Cambridge Blockchain graduated from the 2016 FinTech Innovation Lab – run by the Partnership Fund for New York City and Accenture.
Civic is a blockchain-based identity management platform that allows users to register and validate their personal identity information and lock their identity in order to prevent identity theft and fraudulent activity on their credit reports. Civic aims to tackle the problem of consumer identity theft and reducing online identity fraud.
Credits platform enables enterprises to quickly and easily build robust blockchains that address the challenges of establishing provenance, authentication and reconciliation faced by many industries. The platform allows to create encrypted digital identities to substitute dozens of usernames and passwords while offering greater security features would save enterprises, institutions, governments and customers, time, energy and money. A golden record for identity which would work not only at a bank level but across the globe in all electronic environments.
CredyCo provides document verification SaaS, which uses smart contracts and identity technology built on top of the blockchain to ensure the credibility and irrefutability of all statements.
Cryptid eliminates the possibility of counterfeit identification by adding factors of identification and encryption. Cryptid takes the data provided in the form and package it into a compact format readable by our systems and generate your Cryptid identification data. All of the data is encrypted with the provided password after which it is permanently transferred to the blockchain. The customer is then given a unique identification number that points to the information on the block chain and can be stored on almost anything from magnetic stripes to QR codes.
Evernym is a global, fully open-source, attribute-based, self-sovereign identity graph network built on an advanced, dedicated, privacy-enhancing, public permissioned distributed ledger.
ExistenceID is a secure digital identity system for safe storage and sharing of valuable identity documents. A private identity capsule rates users’ total identity so they can prove that they are real. Only users choose who and when can access different parts of their identity. At the same time, ExistenceID has zero knowledge of users’ personal account.
Guardtime’s BLT – Blockchain Standard for Digital Identity – is an authentication and signature protocol meant to replace RSA as the standard for digital signatures. In contrast to RSA’s reliance on quantum-vulnerable asymmetric key cryptography, BLT is based on Guardtime’s quantum-secure Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) technology, which uses only hash function cryptography.
HYPR biometric security suite provides enterprises a fully interoperable solution to secure users across mobile, desktop and IoT systems. HYPR enhances the user experience by allowing you to choose from voice, face, touch and eye recognition. Our decentralized authentication platform allows enterprises to leverage biometrics without worrying about hackers attacking a biometric server or centralized password database.
Identifi is a blockchain-based startup creating address book where users can link their personal profiles and identifiers to form a trusted identity. In addition to keeping contact details such as phone number or bitcoin address up-to-date, the user can give other users trust ratings and feedback.
Open Identity Exchange (OIX) is a non-profit, technology agnostic, collaborative cross-sector membership organization with the purpose of accelerating the adoption of digital identity services based on open standards. OIX’s
OIXNet is a registry. It is an official online and publicly-accessible repository of documents and information relating to identity systems and identity system participants. Referred to as a “registry,” it functions as an official and centralized source of such documents and information, much like a government-operated recorder of deeds. That is, individuals and entities can register documents and information with the OIXnet Registry to provide notice of their contents to the public, and members of the public seeking access to such documents or information can go to that single authoritative location to find them.
KYC-Chain is a novel platform built over the convenience and security of DLT, allowing users to manage their digital identity securely, while businesses and financial institutions are able to manage customer data in a reliable and easy manner.
Netki provides open source and open standard-based digital identity solutions that allow financial service companies to meet their compliance requirements on both public and private blockchains. Netki Wallet Name Service (WNS) translates easy-to-remember names like “wallet.myname.me” into bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) wallet addresses.
ShoCard is a digital identity that protects consumer privacy and is as easy to understand and use as showing one’s driver’s license. It’s optimized for mobile and so secure that even a bank can rely on it. A user’s identity is encrypted, hashed and then written to the blockchain, where it can be called up when needed. Users would, in effect, give banks temporary access to the private side of this blockchain record in order to verify identity. Once that is done, the bank creates its own record that can be consulted in the future to determine that a certain Joe Smith is really Joe Smith.
UniquID provides secure identity management, integrated with fingerprint and other biometry on personal devices. Ready to be deployed on custom hardware, servers, personal computers or smartphones and tablets, UniquID Wallet runs also on battery and low-powered devices, providing integrity and interoperability at the edge of one’s infrastructure.
uPort, developed by ConsenSys, is building a secure, easy-to-use system for self-sovereign identity, built on Ethereum. The uPort technology consists of three main components: smart contracts, developer libraries, and a mobile app. The mobile app holds the user’s keys. Ethereum smart contracts form the core of the identity and contain logic that lets the user recover their identity if their mobile device is lost. Finally, the developer libraries are how third-party app developers would integrate support for uPort into their apps.