Blockchain Identity

It’s all about trust: Blockchain for identity management

Share this post:

What will you find at the center of every business interaction? People. They are the heart and soul of commerce. However, what is vital to every transaction is trust, and trust in business relationships is built on knowledge. That’s why banks and other business institutions have KYC (know your customer) requirements for identifying and verifying the identity of anyone they interact with.

Identity management is currently carried out in a decentralized manner. Businesses and government entities have access to disparate data, and individuals must supply their personal information over and over but have little control over how that data is used or exchanged. These challenges and potential solutions such as blockchain will be discussed at the upcoming K(NO)W Identity Conference, which will be held May 15 – 17 in Washington, DC.

Identity in the digital age

In an online exchange of money and goods or services, each participant has to be able to trust that the other is real (they are who they say they are) and is able to provide what they say they will. In the digital age, it has become both easier and harder to “trust” a person’s identity. Though the internet has made it possible to provide all sorts of information to corroborate who you are, it has also made it possible to misrepresent, fabricate and steal personal data.

Due to identity theft and fraud, industry enterprises and government agencies have been tasked with a risky, time-consuming and costly undertaking: verifying, managing and protecting the identities of the individuals in their business networks. Many organizations see blockchain as a new way to handle these responsibilities because it can allow individuals to consent and control access to their data as well as provide businesses a trusted view of a person’s identity.

Let’s solve digital identity together

Building blockchain for identity management

In my previous blog post, “Reimagining the Future of Identity Management With Blockchain,” I explained the fundamental principles of trusted identity management and talked about the benefits of using blockchain to implement a distributed trust model. Through shared ledgers, smart contracts, consensus and privacy capabilities, blockchain can help to standardize identity management processes, reducing cost, time and complexity. Now, I’ll go over three guidelines that can help organizations when they develop this type of blockchain:

  • Design with a future end-state in mind. A user-centric model based on self-sovereign identity must be easy to use. It should be possible to manage consent and control of personal data across a blockchain in a simplified way but with a distributed trust model. Business applications must also be fully interoperable, spanning both industries and ecosystems.
  • Evolve from proprietary to fully open platforms. Growth requires flexibility. Blockchains built on The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric — an open-source community project hosted by The Linux Foundation — are permissioned, secure and modular, so they can scale across a business ecosystem. With open, interoperable platforms, identity can be verified in a more robust manner, which can help establish the right levels of trust for individuals and businesses seeking to make business and personal transactions.
  • Adapt the enterprise business model. Blockchain facilitates new ways of doing business. With a wealth of past performance data to establish reputations and trust, peer-to-peer business models could become more viable.

For in-depth insight on building trusted identity networks on blockchain, read “Trust me: Digital identity on blockchain” from the IBM Institute for Business Value.

Shape the future of identity at K(NO)W Identity Conference

On May 15 in the Amphitheatre from 1:15 to 1:45 PM, be sure to attend the keynote session with SecureKey CEO Greg Wolfond and TD Bank’s Chuck Hounsell, where they will join IBM’s Jerry Cuomo for: “Trusted digital identity networks: A journey towards self-soveriegn identity.”

Then, join me at K(NO)W on May 16 in Atrium Ballroom B from 2:30 to 3:15 PM for the panel: “Identity on Blockchains.” The other panelists and I will be exploring the opportunities and practical challenges of using blockchain and distributed ledger technologies for identity management.

IBM will host several discussions and answer all your blockchain questions at Booths #107 and #109 on the floor throughout K(NO)W, so be sure to stop by. Register today, and I hope to see you there!

Learn more about blockchain for digital identity and be sure to check out IBM Blockchain. Join the community to stay up to date on new developments:

Contact an IBM Blockchain Trusted Identity expert today

Program Director, Research Business Development & Strategy, IBM Research

More Blockchain Identity stories

Decentralized identity is poised to disrupt how you share data

IBM recently wrapped up a very bustling week in San Francisco at THINK 2019 full of client conversations — through sessions and in the expo hall — and how technology will transform enterprises with data, AI, cloud, blockchain and more. In my blog post prior to THINK, I wrote about how blockchain is becoming more […]

Continue reading

Taking the next step towards deploying blockchain for business anywhere

Throughout IBM Think, an important message has resonated everywhere — empowering businesses to overcome vendor lock-in and the freedom of choice to apply IBM technology wherever data resides. Our Watson team made some major announcements this week about making AI models and applications run across any cloud. Today, we are re-stating that same commitment for […]

Continue reading

14 banks using we.trade for global trade finance, breaking down trade barriers for business

A shipment of 12 bottles of rare wine moves by truck from a small winery in France to a buyer in Spain. Twenty pieces of office furniture from the U.K. are sold to a German retailer and arrive two weeks later. Transactions like this happen daily, but for many small and medium businesses, the financing […]

Continue reading