Apr 7, 2022

Digital Identity Attestation. Now available in blockchain

What is digital identity?

Identity on Facebook or Twitter, e-mail addresses are examples of digital identities. They're easy to get, yet they're not checked by anyone. This is how trolls and fake news that are supported and promoted by fake profiles appear.

When a company interacts with anew customer, with a person with whom it has no previous contact, the company must ensure that the customer's identity is real.

If a company needs to enter into a contract with a customer exclusively through online interactions, then the company can rely on the qualified signature, where the verification of the customer's identity was done by a qualified certification service provider. In this way, the company has the guarantee that the one who signs is, undoubtedly, the one who claims to be, and that signature has the implicit legal value recognized by any court.

However, interacting with customers is not just about signing documents. A service provider may need other information about a person. For example, a company may need identity attributes such as a diploma, a certificate, a permit and so on.

All such information proven in the physical environment by identity documents, diplomas, property deeds, etc. should be possible to be translated into the digital environment and to be used under conditions of confidentiality, security and trust to prove certain qualities, attributions or permissions of the identified person.

This is how the idea of the IDBC (Identity attestation service in decentralized environments based on blockchain technologies) project emerged.

In order for the processes to be completely “remote” and to be able to fully enjoy the freedom that digital solutions such as the identity attestation service offer us, everything must happen in the electronic environment.

The IDBC project aims to develop electronic identity attestation services using blockchain technologies. In other words, the project aims at designing and developing digital services through which individuals or legal entities can prove in the electronic environment that they possess a certain attribute, a certain quality, a certification, a certificate, etc.

For example, at present, a driver can prove to a traffic policeman that he has the right to drive a certain car, by showing him his identity card, driver's license, car registration and RCA insurance. Using electronic means, the driver could show a QR code on his mobile phone, which, by a simple scanning by the policeman, would provide all the necessary information.

Through the IDBC project, certSIGN together with the University of Bucharest – Faculty of Mathematics aims to develop these attestation services in a decentralized manner, using the blockchain technology, so that the users of the services are in complete and exclusive control over their data, to know who, when and why access to their data is wanted and to be able to allow or reject access to their data.

Unlike the electronic identity card, where the data is stored and managed centrally exclusively by the state, the IDBC approach is a decentralized one of the “self-sovereign” type, i.e., the data is exclusively under the control of the user and is not stored in a centralized database under the control of a third party. In addition, the “self-sovereign” approach allows granular access to user data.

For example, if the user must prove his/her age in order to benefit from an online service, he/she can do so without disclosing other personal data such as his/her name, home address or social security number (CNP). This is more difficult to implement in the physical environment because a single document contains several identity attributes, and it is not possible to present only part of them. In the electronic environment, however, the attestation of identity can be done just as easily whether all the information about a person or only a part of it is necessary.

Considering the recent proposal of the European Commission regarding the update of the eIDAS Regulation and the proposal to introduce the European Digital Identity Wallet, certSIGN aims to develop, through the IDBC project, the services for electronic attestation of the attributes necessary for the European Digital Identity Wallet.

certSIGN, as Beneficiary, in partnership with the University of Bucharest – Faculty of Mathematics, carries out, starting with 14.10.2021, the project "Identity attestation services in decentralized environments based on blockchain technologies(IDBC)".

The project is co-financed by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), through the Competitiveness Operational Programme 2014-2020.