In 2018, FPT Software and a multinational consultancy company delivered an eKYC Utility application successfully in UAE. The application assists financial institutions and other relevant stakeholders to share and validate individual identity to enhance efficiency and bring a better customer experience.

Identity management at risk

Identity is an essential requirement for both public and private services. As an individual, we can identify ourselves in so many ways. Formally, the identity of an individual is a subset of a Know-You-Customer (KYC) and ties with a legal entity. It comes in at least three classes.

  • First, natural attributes are associated with a real person such as birth date, gender, and height.
  • Second, records accumulated over time such as medical information, working experience, education, and communication history.
  • Final, identity also has designated attributes such as nationality, marital status, telephone number, email, passport numbers, and so forth.

Unfortunately, the more options do not always bring the more convenient. Our driver license, passport, visa, social security card, work certificate, utility bill, and certificate of birth play as identity instruments in daily online and offline interactions, but we do not know where this personal identity information is being stored, who are using it without our permission. We are facing various risks of improper identity management. We need a reliable and flexible way to enable individuals to share comfortably and selectively precisely how they wish to share their identity data.

Blockchain is forward for a secure and trustworthy identity management system

The digital identity model with blockchain-based self-sovereign identity is proposed to eliminate the reputation of customer due diligence (CDD) and offer reliable protection against identity theft and violation of data privacy. The idea of a self-sovereign identity model may let us control our personal identity information and easily prove who we are to whom we want within a determined period.

In 2018, FPT Software and a multinational consultancy company delivered an eKYC Utility successfully in UAE. The POC application runs on Hyperledger Fabric framework and visualizes the idea that financial institutions and other relevant stakeholders to share and validate individual identity to increase efficiency and bring a better customer experience in onboarding processing by the one-time registry. Once one financial institution processed, other institutions can retrieve and trust that CDD result or make a further verifying step. The only thing required is the agreement between the members of the consortium and the permission from their clients.

The citizens of many countries desire to access a greater range of government services more conveniently and transparently. They already enjoy the smooth and secured digital identity solution from their virtual banks, online shops, and remote education. Therefore, it would be a great move if governments can issue identity documents of a legal entity right from the beginning and make the identity database assessable as a single source of truth for both government services and businesses under their citizen consent. We may able to get all of these benefits without having to rely on and worry about third-party social networks such as Google and Facebook who are tracing and use our private data at the same time.

(Related: Digital ID in Supply-chain: Mutual Understanding among Suppliers)

Blockchain-based identity paradigm trials have been carrying by Sweden and the UK within the EU, and many countries globally, including India, Georgia, Ghana, and Russia, among others.

Besides the use cases for KYC in financial systems, artist identity in digital entertainment, or patient identity in medical treatment recording, the use case for educational certification also getting much attention. Blockchain can support verifying of educational accreditation, cutting down recruitment cost, and excluding academic fraud.

Blockchain has an excellent advantage to be the way forward for building an identity management system that gives full control to individuals. It may take few years more for the technology to mature fully, but it is also an excellent chance for us to start designing new solutions for the future. Every true success begins well when we commit to passion and patience.

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Author Doan Truong Giang