Reality and Digital Reality

Navigating these two worlds isn't always seamless, especially when it involves translating our physical identity documents into the digital sphere. Just recall the last time you witnessed your passport being scanned for digital records when opening a bank account. Going from physical to digital is usually not the most secure or smooth process. Particularly for identity documents, it's a challenge to ensure they maintain their trustworthiness and verifiability in the transfer.

Going from physical to digital has been a bumpy ride, which is why a digital “wallet” populated with digital credentials that are shared in both digital and physical ways is a game changer for individuals and organizations.

The Game-Changer

Enter reusable verified IDs—a game-changer in seamlessly navigating our digital and physical worlds. A verified identity refers to digital identities that have been verified to describe a real-world identity in digital form, and that the verification remains valid throughout the identity lifecycle. Reuse means that the verified identity can be used in multiple contexts. This ranges from being used by the issuing organization multiple times – like using a verified attribute like facial biometrics as an authentication factor – to enabling the verified identity to be reused by organizations independent of the issuing organization – like an employer accepting a verified education credential for a new hire.

Reusable verified IDs give an opportunity to leap the hurdle posed by the evolving landscape of a multi-reality, multi-wallet, and multi-credential world. Reusable verified identities are held by the individual that it describes, allowing them to travel with the individual through different applications – be it in virtual interactions or in person.

Interoperability: Critical for Success

This individually-held verified ID presents a valuable opportunity for organizations to securely and smoothly identify their customers, employees, partners, or things, but requires interoperability across multiple dimensions: with an organization’s own systems, and with other reusable verified identity solutions. The reusable identity community is unique in that from very early on it accepted that in order to achieve mass adoption of the method, it must adhere to commonly agreed upon standards. The W3C Verifiable Credentials specification is one of the foundations that is being used to ensure interoperability between otherwise competing reusable verified identity solutions.

As technology advances and standards for secure digital identities evolve, the potential for a smoother, safer, and more efficient exchange between our physical and digital identities becomes increasingly tangible. It's a transformative step towards harmonizing our existence across both realms, promising a future where our identities move with ease, irrespective of the world they inhabit.

At the EIC, we will be discussing the role that reusable verified identities play for the enterprise, along with many supporting technologies, like decentralized identity and identity verification. Join us in Berlin this June!