- 1.To enable people and organisations to have digital, trustworthy interactions directly with each other, whilst maintaining privacy and without any centralised registry or organisation needed;
This is you.
Figure showing multiple social media profiles
Digital identity is something that we rarely think about in our day-to-day lives, but it is something that we all have subscribed to.
Yet, currently, the average person, and likely you reading this, has over 150 accounts online, each with a separate username, password and security process.
Think of the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Signal, Amazon, Telegram, Deliveroo, Uber... the list goes on.
Every time we open an account online, to use a service, buy something online, use social media, or even just browse the internet, we are creating a digital footprint for ourselves, which feeds into a digital profile.
And each of these different accounts holds personal data about you, such as your name, age, photographs, sex, gender etc., and also various preference data, such as what you browse, like, share or click on.
These digital profiles are generally secured behind a password, meaning that you feel a level of confidence that you have control over them.
However, in reality this is not the case.
Our data is stored across multiple gated siloes, and every time we want to access this data, we need to prove to the gatekeeper that we are who we claim to be through an authentication process.
In other words, every time you want to get access to your own digital identity data, you need to get through a locked door using a key.
We play out this sequence multiple times a day:
Person: "Hello there, can I please get into my account to view my own data please".Company: "Ahhh maybe, if you have the password and key you can get in, otherwise nah, you can't have your data today".
But it's my data right?
Company: "HAVE YOU SEEN THIS NEW VIDEO OF A BABY MONKEY RIDING A PIG?"Person: "That is some GREAT content, have some more of my preference data, I don't really care - I love it, thanks"
This is great content.
Company: *sweats advertisement money*
This is the digital sphere we have all become accustomed to, without really being aware of, or presented an alternative. Companies do monetise your data and do use your data to create specific digital profiles for you. But we are somewhat comfortable with this because we get to use a seemingly free digital service. For this reason, we feel a level of content sacrificing a little bit of privacy for a whole lot of convenience.
However recently, this model has led to two further issues:
As we get more and more accounts, remembering and managing passwords becomes increasingly difficult. Too many times we are faced with a popup, saying something along the lines of “Hold up, before you access this service we need to ask you some questions to verify that you are who you claim to be.”
And because it's getting more difficult to manage, we end up using the same password to access multiple accounts, which leaves the door open for scammers, hackers and fraudsters to easily phish the password away and obtain our digital assets.
This constant battle to access one’s own accounts and data is frustrating, and only becoming increasingly so. And we at cheqd believe that it’s outdated.
If you are asked to prove who you are to someone online, there is no existing way of doing this. Whilst in the physical world we have verifiable documents such as passports and driving licenses which contain trusted, safety features such as watermarks and common semantics, in the digital world we have nothing of the sort.
If I meet someone on social media, an eCommerce platform or a dating website, I have no simple way to verify that the person is who they claim to be. Why is this the case? Even though I have hundreds of accounts online, and many of them even require a Know Your Customer (KYC) procedure, I never hold that verified data. Companies hold that verified data... and they monetise it.
Over the last few years, there has been a big push for individuals to have greater control, autonomy and sovereignty over their own data.
Instead of companies managing data indirectly, on your behalf, it is now possible to hold your own data securely in a digital wallet.
This type of technology has been labelled by the industry as decentralised, or Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI).
You hold your data directly.
Importantly, this data is cryptographically signed by a person or company that issues it to you. The data itself is secured with a digital trustworthy signature.
Your data now has a digital, trustworthy signature.
And you can share this with third parties to prove trust in your own data, identity and attributes.
Self-Sovereign Identity: Trust Triangle: Blank
This does a few things.
- 1.It re-centres control of data around an individual (or company, thing: real or virtual);
- 2.It enables far greater trust in digital interactions;
- 3.It becomes far easier to access new services with bi-directional trust and confidence.
And the use cases and projects of this technology are growing rapidly...