How can blockchain make self-sovereign identities possible?

From the European Blockchain Convention we are honored to share our interview with Ivan Basart, CTO & Co-Founder of Validated ID, about self-sovereign identities and their work in this field.

Validated ID was created in 2012 by several enthusiasts from the world of digital ID and electronic signatures. Between the founders they have over 80 years’ experience within the field of ID and signature systems

What are the use cases of self-sovereign identity (SSI)?

To name a few:

  • Universities: It will allow students to interact with multiple education centers for enrollment and homework.
  • E-commerce: It will improve the security of purchasing processes.
  • Financial Services: It optimizes the processes of onboarding, KYC, and AML with legal security.
  • Public Administration: It will offer high-level solutions for remote digital identification.
Founders of Validated ID

What are the benefits of a decentralized identity accessible to everyone?

The VIDchain project is based on adding different sources of identity in a wallet of identity attributes. In this way, the user can complete his “identity wallet” with very varied attributes and with different degrees of confidence depending on the origin of the information and the means of authentication used, from relatively unreliable sources such as social networks to robust systems such as biometrics, official identification systems (DNIe and other electronic identity documents) or even face-to-face identification.

Among the advantages when using a digital wallet, the following stand out:

  • Reduction of management costs and verification of credentials (both educational, identity, membership, and health, among others)
  • Improve trust
  • Boosting interoperability between member countries (cross-border)
  • Align with the GDPR: Own your data
  • Privacy improvement
  • Improved User Experience (compared to current digital certificates)

What is VIDchain?

VIDchain is an SSI solution consisting of a digital wallet and several APIs for digital identity processes and data management. This service aims to help people to regain control over their digital identity and facilitate secure user access to online services and exchanging your digital data via verifiable credentials.

Image via Validated ID’s website

What is the current status of VIDchain?

We already have a pre-release version to be tested upon request. Our goal is to release a production SSI solution by the end of 2020 or early 2021. In the meantime, we’re collaborating with national and international partners such as Sovrin, DIF, and Alastria to make Sovereign Identity part of the legal framework that allows the use of digital identity, thus making all digital identity systems interoperable at the European level.

There are a few players around decentralized identity. How does VIDchain differentiate from the rest?

Our SSI solution has 3 major key differentiation points:

  • It is ledger agnostic and by that, it means that VIDchain can support several ledger solutions and be interoperable de facto.
  • We are EBSI and Alastria compliant. Two of the ledgers that we support are EBSI and Alastria.
  • We are eIDAS compliant, using the eIDAS-bridge developed as part of one of the European Commission projects where Validated ID has been collaborating with.

Some people say that blockchain technology is not yet mature. What is your view on that?

We are currently living an exciting time. A lot of work has been done until now and the industry is beginning to see the value of a real self-sovereign identity solution. In 5 years we are going to see it as a reality.

Up to what extent regulation is key for the industry to progress?

For what we have seen, regulation is an essential part of the adoption and reliability of an SSI solution, and it seems that it will be even more relevant in the future. We have experienced that we need to make sure that any SSI solution is GDPR compliant while using a ledger. And within a Europe perspective, an SSI solution needs to be aligned with eIDAS regulation so the SSI Trust Framework can rely on the existing one in Europe.

What is your role at European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI)?

Validated ID plays a major role at EBSI as an SSI expert in all use cases. We are contributing to the design and development of different components, such as the wallet backend and frontend or the identity-hub API. We are also involved in designing and developing the eIDAS-bridge component to connect the eIDAS regulation to the EBSI SSI solution.

European Blockchain Convention connects the blockchain ecosystem in Europe