Below is our recent interview with Abdullah Naveed, CEO at Decentralized ID:
Q: Why is ID so important in today’s IT world?
A: Your identity is what defines you, and is what is used by marketing agencies to target you every time you log into a secure portal, or every time you fill out an online form. ID is also the base of every transaction in computer sciences. So, we are seeing a new wave of companies, technologies and schemes aimed at protecting this ID nugget. There is a general consensus in society that ID should be protected and the users should have control of their IDs. Thus, it is also a hot topic of discussion.
Q: What does DID do?
A: DID is one of the alternative ways to provide and prove ID on the Blockchain. While there are many companies and projects aligned under an umbrella, we on the other hand, are independent and have created our very own way of issuing and transferring IDs over the Blockchain. Using DID, we have developed a scheme to issue IDs on the Blockchain in a way so that the users are in control of their IDs. In addition, we have redefined the concept of Digital IDs to make them immutable, anonymous, with an audit trail and at the same time, sovereign. In our case, you as the user are the actual owner of the ID you hold.
Q: Does DID actually store your IDs on the blockchain?
A: Yes, we store an ID card on the Blockchain as a smart contract. It is our own proprietary (and patented) technology. We issue smart cards on the Blockchain: for example, users can prove that they are 18+ without giving out any other information at all about themselves. Similarly, for the verifying/authenticating body, we provide a means to have an audit-tracked, time tested, future-proof form of identification scheme for them to implement. We are proposing to store people’s information on the Blockchain as hash of the real data. Rather than storing data itself, we store the proof of data.
Q: How do you see the digital ID industry growing?
A: We see the ID industry as an ever-evolving and fast-growing industry. Right now, it’s a pretty hot field to be in; there is innovation going on and standards beings declared. We foresee that it will be at least 5 years till a proper formulation is set into place with regards to Digital IDs. Remember, ID is just not an ID card or a visa or a website login – it goes much deeper than that. At DID, we consider all attributes of you as an ID. We have decentralised ID in the true sense of the word. But we will see more innovation in the ID industry and there will be more controversy surrounding it too.
Q: Tell us more about the technology behind DID?
A: The technology behind DID exists to put you (the user) in control of your ID. We
are one of the only ones to have a working ID schema that can be implemented today. While we are currently based on the Ethereum network, we are truly Blockchain agnostic and you can start using our Login ID services on any platform. The DID technology is essentially a set of standards, protocols and software that demonstrates how ID can be issued on the Blockchain. And also, how this ID can be securely transferred over the Blockchain.
Q: What does it mean to have your ID in your control?
A: You, yourself issue your ID card. You just ask a verifying authority to verify it. Therefore, the ID is always your property. The DID-issued IDs also work in a way so that you are required to unlock them; therefore your permission is sought before an ID can be viewed or accessed.
Q: What is on the roadmap for DID moving forward?
A: We have just begun releasing our findings to the public. We are currently giving private demos to Governments and ID issuing authorities worldwide. We also recently conducted a case study in Sierra Leone where we put polling IDs on the Blockchain to prove our schema in action. We feel like we have just gotten started. An important milestone for us is when we release our API in the near future. We will be opening up our platform so that other companies will be able to launch their own memberships/IDs on the Blockchain. We are also in contact with a few corporations to see how they can leverage the Technology to provide immutability to their digital records; and ID is of course the base of such records and transactions. We see DID’s signature ID-issuing scheme to be adopted by the authorities to issue secure, sovereign ID that puts people back in control.