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How blockchain helps with identity management

How blockchain helps with identity management
Identity management has become an important element in the operations of various end user organizations for example enterprises, banks and government agencies. However conventional technologies can be quite limiting, especially due to the presence of a central server that can be hacked or tampered with. This is where blockchain comes in, whose ability to keep personal data from being altered or deleted makes it a great identity management solution for various verticals.
That was the point raised by ShoCard, developer of a blockchain-based identity management platform. “The strengths of this platform are: user-privacy, increased-security, ease-of-use, cross-border/industry viability and extensibility into existing mobile apps and services,” said Ali Nazem, VP of Business Development at ShoCard.
According to him, conventional security technologies like RFID have proven effective in many regards but are still limited by a number of factors, one of them being reliance on central databases, physical cards, readers and scanners, rendering them susceptible to fraud, theft and continuous breaches. Blockchain, on the other hand, overcomes those limitations.
“Blockchain is an immutable ledger where records are added to, but they cannot be altered, updated or deleted,” Nazem said. “Blockchain plays a pivotal role in solving the human identification problems that RFIDs lack. When it comes to digital identification across disparate entities, the combination of the blockchain, mobile technologies and biometrics offers unique possibilities that simply didn’t exist before, and that are able to provide more secure digital proof of identity, over traditional identity measures like ID cards.”

Different applications

The ShoCard solution is ideal for any vertical market where identity management is critical. These include the financial, government, travel, healthcare and mobile network operators (telco) verticals, Nazem said.
One use case mentioned by Nazem is credit report sharing. “Credit reports are often limited to a particular country and cannot be shared across borders because each country has its own unique credit reporting systems with different laws regulating them,” he said. “Using the ShoCard IM Platform, a credit reporting company may certify a users’ credit score and related information on the blockchain. This means the certification will be bound to that specific user. The user can now present her credit information to any third party, anywhere in the world.”
Another use case is authentication of travelers as they move from one checkpoint to another, a process that can be inconvenienced by long queues or presentation of different documents. “The ShoCard IM platform addresses these inefficiencies by introducing the concept of a traveler ID, which is a digital ID that includes the travel­er’s passport and biometrics, and has been certified by an authority, such as an airline agent or a government security officer. The authority checks and verifies the traveler and places a certificate on the blockchain. When the traveler reaches the next service provider in his journey – an airport lounge, a boarding agent, a rental car kiosk, a hotel kiosk – he can securely present his blockchain-enhanced traveler ID by scanning a QR code or transmitting via Bluetooth,” he said. “This can benefit all parties involved. The service providers are able to reduce personnel costs and the traveler spends less time waiting in lines.”
According to Nazem, their solution stands out in being blockchain-agnostic and scalable. “Systems that only rely on the public Ethereum network are limited to the availability of Ethereum over the long haul. Due to high network traffic, Bitcoin is no longer a viable system for high-scale identity management solutions. As network traffic increases on Ethereum, it too could see a similar fate over the next couple of years. ShoCard, with its blockchain agnostic approach, will never be affected by this,” he said. “We designed the architecture of ShoCard to be highly-scalable. Public blockchains are inherently not scalable. ShoCard has cre­ated a solution to use the public blockchains, but with scale. Our system can write five million user records on a publicly verifiable blockchain in 30 minutes. Other existing solutions cannot com­pete with this performance.”

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