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Blockchain identity and digital credentials, with Adam Gunther and Drummond Reed

Welcome to the first episode of IBM Blockchain Pulse with your host (and blockchain evangelist), Matt Hooper!

Blockchain is one of the pioneering innovations of our time — it may be the pioneering innovation of our time and too few people know about it. If you are one of those people — that’s okay! This podcast will be centralized around illustrating practical blockchain use cases guided by leaders across multiple industries. From financial services to trade, to tracing the safety of your next meal, to purchasing a ticket to your next concert — blockchain is transforming lives — and not soon. Now.

In this episode, Matt is bringing you a use case near and dear to his heart: identity. How many times have credit cards been hacked where they need to be canceled immediately? How many times have emails and social media accounts been tampered with? As more and more people put their personal information online, it’s come to be expected that more and more bad actors are getting ahold of others’ online identities.

Transforming digital identity into trusted identity

Matt’s first guest, Adam Gunther, joins him to explore this topic. Adam is the Executive Director of Blockchain Trusted Identity and Network Services at IBM. He sees this “new normal” of fragile online identities as an avoidable problem. Together, they discuss fraud prevention; verifiable forms of ID; and the next, most practical, use cases for blockchain this year. Matt’s second guest, Drummond Reed, is the Chief Trust Officer at Evernym and a champion of self-sovereign identity. They discuss digital identity, digital credentials (and how they differ from their physical counterpart), and the future of protecting your wallet and identity.

Key takeaways

[2:30] About IBM Blockchain Pulse!

[3:13] About today’s episode and featured guest.

[4:15] Adam unpacks the phrase “blockchain identity.”

[8:56] The most powerful wardens of identity as Adam sees them right now.

[12:35] Adam defines a permissioned blockchain.

[13:11] The beauty in self-sovereign identity.

[16:35] The Cambridge Analytic scandal: a real-world example of identity theft. Adam’s thoughts on where we are two years later, online identity protection in general, what he’s currently doing to help, and how we can all — as blockchain enthusiasts — reshape the identity conversation.

[24:16] Matt thanks Adam for joining him this episode!

[25:30] Matt introduces today’s second guest: Drummond Reed.

[25:49] Drummond explains what a trust framework is.

[28:16] Drummond speaks about his introduction to digital identity.

[29:22] Drummond speaks about the shift from web 2.0 identities to more web 3.0/self-sovereign identities.

[31:57] The problem that blockchain solved for the identity space.

[34:40] Drummond’s example of governance frameworks.

[37:30] What does it mean to be Chief Trust Officer at Evernym?

[38:53] How does an agent protect your wallet and identity? How will you use it practically?

[41:17] The difference between digital credentials and physical credentials.

[43:38] What is the IBM Blockchain relationship with Evernym right now?

[46:57] Drummond’s predictions on what online identity will look like in 10 years.

[49:57] Drummond describes the most exciting performance at any technology conference he’s ever seen and its relevancy to digital credentials and self-sovereign identities.

[53:23] What Drummond recommends listeners follow up on!

[55:22] Matt wraps up this week’s episodes, summarizing key points and giving a small preview of what’s to come in future episodes.

Sources mentioned

Public vs. Permissioned Blockchains
IBM Blockchain Trusted Identity
Sovrin Foundation
The Cambridge Analytica Scandal
Blockchain Garage
Imogen Heap
Open Identity Exchange
Internet Identity Workshop
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI)
IBM Think Conference
CU Ledger
Hyperledger Indy

Follow-up with our guests

Adam Gunther’s LinkedIn
Drummond Reed’s Bio on Evernym

Looking for more episodes?

Visit IBM Blockchain — and for news and updates, follow @IBMBlockchain on Twitter!

Tweetables – For social media

“One of the big problems with digital identity is that we don’t know how to do it very well. … [People] have just become accustomed to: ‘I’ve just had some identity theft, time to deal with it.’ Why are we accepting that status quo?” — Adam Gunther

“I think that’s what blockchain is doing; it’s empowering you to be the warden of your identity.” — Adam Gunther

“What’s going to happen with SSI [self-sovereign identity] … this whole transition to individuals having this power to wield their data [and] to share it  … will just start to happen the way … we started to use credit cards when before, we only had cash.”
Drummond Reed

“[Digital credentials] is peer-to-peer the way peer-to-peer has never been possible before. … And … Creative passports … is just a beautiful example of what’s going to be possible with digital credentials and self-sovereign identity.” — Drummond Reed

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