While blockchain is the latest buzz in authentication and authorization, it does promise to offer consumers improved control over their digital identities, as well as add more security. Its most significant challenge in becoming a reality is the establishment of a digital trust foundation, or an identity trust fabric (ITF).
What Is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a distributed, tamper-evident ledger that combines the following three concepts:
- Cryptographic hash functions
- Data structure with hash pointers
- Distributed consensus protocol
Together, these features provide the opportunity to build an ITF, a common trusted identity domain, which could lead to a decentralized identity architecture that would offer a range of benefits.
How Does Blockchain Work?
The basic processes behind a decentralized identity architecture and blockchain include the following steps:
- User or entity’s digital identity registers with the hash records of the ITF
- Trusted third party certifies the information provided during registration
- User or entity presents QR code to designated service provider
- Service provider verifies information with the hash records of the ITF
- User or entity’s digital identity receives access to service provider
An additional feature that some in the industry have suggested is the inclusion of an identity custodian (IdC). The IdC would take responsibility for storing sealed identity data, as well as providing a recovery mechanism. It would not have a control function. With an IdC in the loop, after your digital identity receives certification, you will store your data with an IdC. Once you provide a QR code to your service provider, the IdC will retrieve your identity information and deliver it to your service provider, who then verifies it with the ITF’s hash records. Learn more about the fundamentals of blockchain today.
Advantages of Blockchain Authorization and Authentication
Establishing an ITF, as well as implementing blockchain, offers several benefits, including:
- Cross-domain collaboration
Some disadvantages, which may be resolved in the future, include:
- Identity collision potential
- Cryptography algorithm
- Cryptocurrencies dependency
The most prominent challenge, however, is building an ITF that companies can implement into their operations.
Uses of Blockchain in Today’s World
Blockchain, as well as decentralized identity designs, could have the following applications:
- Specialized: A version for a unique purpose, such as processing compliant cryptocurrency payments
- General: A version for multiple applications, such as for identity verification and attributes sharing
In 2018, it’s expected beta versions of these applications will become available.
Potential Effects of Blockchain-Based Identity
If blockchain-based identity becomes accepted, it’s estimated it will have several impacts, including:
- Generation of public and private keys
- Representation of public keys as your signed statement and identity
- Creation of a sustainable form of trust management, ITF
While establishing an ITF is the most prominent challenge, if accomplished, it will allow authorization and authentication to change in whole new ways. At Optimal IdM, our award-winning team can help you authorize and authenticate users fast through The Optimal Cloud™ and our Optimal Authentication Service™. Contact us today to learn more about establishing an identity blockchain.
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