The core technology evolution to understand is the intersection of the Blockchain and Digital Identity. Tykn offer this excellent definition guide.
Identity in the Age of the Blockchain
An explosive field of potential lies in the intersection with the Blockchain. In his Reboot the Web of Trust presentation Christopher Allen defines this headline theme of Forging self-sovereign identities in the age of the blockchain.
In particular, at 6m50s he describes how the Indian identity scheme ‘Aadhaar’, a centralized government program, violates over a decade of first-world Identity best practices, with few laws against profiling, discrimination and abuse by law enforcement.
To avoid these pitfalls Allen says a key objective was to utilize the same tools used to protect buyers, sellers, traders and auctioneers to protect the helpless, documenting these principles into his defining white paper The Path to Self-Sovereign Identity, which was presented to the United Nations.
In essence it represents a wholesale ‘upgrade’ to the Internet itself, such that these powerful features are built right into it, in the same way HTTP is the common protocol for sharing web information.
It works very effectively but it’s really quite an old technology and thus is ideal for this type of upgrade. Brave New Coin writes about how it will enable what the whole Internet has been calling for, entirely user-centric data portability. Users want the same frictionless experience and control of how their data is used with each and every organization they interact with, from governments through social media sites.
Blockstack offers this proposed definition of Blockchain Identity: A blockchain identity (or blockchain ID) is a generic term used to refer to any identity on the blockchain. Users can have one blockchain identity or many and can register them just like one would register domain names or accounts on Facebook or Twitter. In his blog Paul Payam Almasi describes the key relationship to and the role the Blockchain will play, noting a key industry insight:
“As cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance and Coinbase begin to onboard more and more users, they will have the incredible luxury of linking someone’s off chain identity with their blockchain identity. This creates a perfect onramp towards a self sovereign identity model.”