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Decentralized technologies are the future of identity management. But why is this move to decentralized solutions happening, and why is it so important? It’s simple: a decentralized, ultra-secure identity wallet can serve the dual purpose of protecting your identity from disaster and giving you unprecedented control over your personal information.
We’ve been in the midst of a digital transition for over two decades, but most people don’t think about what that means for them. For most of us, it was a tiny trickle of our information deposited on the Internet — a copy of our birth certificate here, our Social Security number there, our home’s online deed, etc. Just think how many things you’ve done online. They all required some sort of identity verification, with varying (and often questionable) levels of security.
Related: Preventing Identity Theft in Today’s Digital World
We’re being challenged, and we don’t even know it
That is the challenge we currently face, and most methods of securing our identities are plasters that are applied afterwards. Improving password hygiene or adding a one-time passcode can only do so much. For example, governments can be hacked, and they often contain huge amounts of personal data. The same goes for companies; if thieves don’t get real data, they get login credentials to access that data later.
The current modes are not only extremely insecure, they are also not useful. Without a digital identity wallet to manage all aspects of your identity, you have to constantly upload different bits and pieces and then manage all that information. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to get personal information back once it’s out, and most of us don’t have the time or expertise to do it — but there’s a better way.
The decentralized identity wallet
The solution lies in blockchain technology; you’ve probably heard of it in the context of Bitcoin and other digital currencies. It is immutable and decentralized and offers high reliability – just what means you can access your data. The encryption is so strong it cost a fortune people millions when they have forgotten passwords.
While that’s an expensive lesson in password management, biometric identity verification provides an identity verification method that’s more convenient and secure than traditional passwords or knowledge-based authentication (CBA). We rarely get our cake and eat it too, but digital identity wallets offer just that.
Decentralized wallets using blockchain technology are a distributed yet secure way to store all your personal information. So even if a disaster shuts down servers in one part of the world, you can still access your data because servers in other parts of the world can access it too. The result is a redundant way to manage your digital identity anywhere, anytime. All you need is a phone and an internet connection.
Related: How Blockchain’s Decentralization Story Could Redefine Data Privacy
How digital identity wallets can help YOU
All of this theorizing is well and good, but how will the common person see the benefits of the decentralized identity wallet revolution? It starts with a single way to get information flowing to the other party with every online transaction. You don’t need to upload a copy of your ID to a specific company; instead, you give that company access to your digital ID through your identity wallet.
Because it’s secure, there’s little chance of a fraudster happening if you or use your credentials to create an online account. Identity verification will be quick and easy due to the high level of trust that the identity wallet provides to all parties involved. You also have instant access to all documentation and data that allows you to: Complete almost any transaction that requires proof of ID instantly.
You also have unprecedented control over your data. You can view the data that companies have access to through a single app or platform and revoke their access if necessary. Your data will not be stored on any corporate or government server. Instead, it is stored on distributed nodes that can be located anywhere in the world. But this does not diminish security; it raises it because these nodes create an immutable ledger of every piece of information that is fed into the blockchain. If data is stored centrally, it can be stolen or tampered with. If they are decentralized, that becomes much more difficult.
Related: Blockchain, NFTs, and the New Standard of Identity and Security
Each of our identities is unique, and it may be the only right that every person on the planet shares. So it makes sense to use the technology we have today to improve the way we store our data. The internet is great, but it wasn’t built with security in mind. Digital identity wallets solve this problem. As a result, we can finally move beyond the physical document paradigm and enter an era of true digitization.