Blockchain applications promise a digital world of trust. We are examining a shared database where you can trust that the data are correct because they are verifiable and cannot be edited in retrospect. At least, that is what is promised.
Digital identity is a really tough nut to crack. Because somebody or something can claim they are somebody or something, but how does the other side of the digital line know whether this is true? This is a generic problem in the digital world which many parties are working on. Blockchain has two roles in this.
As blockchain is only worthwhile if several parties are involved, people or organisations, the identification issue quickly comes into play. In some blockchain applications, that happens on the basis of anonymity; in other situations, the identification is vital. An example is supply chain solutions in which parties share information from the farm to the shop. Blockchain applications want to be certain that the parties can identify each other. Blockchain therefore has a lot to gain from good identity solutions.
We also see new identity solutions that are made possible by blockchain technology. Within these solutions, blockchain plays a role in solving an identity issue.
Working on identification processes requires focus on both interoperability and standardisation. We do this in the Netherlands, in the European context and ultimately on a global scale. Although it is not easy, it is necessary for a properly functioning digital world where we can trust each other.
• Self-sovereign identity as a basic principle: we test the different possibilities in scenarios and use cases. We also want to build a generic platform where different technological solutions can be linked.
• In the EU context, we will work on scaling up within Europe. The basic technology exists, but it is far from being mature. Scaling up means not only the technical capability, but also examining the entire scenario including the legal, governance and implementation aspects. As we will all need to adopt it then how can we ensure that we all benefit from it?
• In the various use cases, self-sovereign identity will be taken as the primary starting point. This is the link with the use cases diplomas and pensions.
• Self-sovereignty is about people. In a world where devices are linked and independently operate, that identity must also be crystal clear. We will investigate that further in our Object Identity track.