Protecting Identities:
Hyperledger Indy for Self-Sovereign Identity Management

 

The possibility that you can ‘live’ your entire life on the internet, hypothesized decades ago, is now a reality. People can transact with businesses and organizations online anywhere in the world, and communication apps and social networks have shrunk the distances between us.

This freedom to do everything on the internet, however, leaves us open to security risks. Every purchase, log-in, or entry using our personal information creates a digital footprint stored or cloned onto many different databases. What more, third-party entities can collect individual data without the owner’s knowledge nor permission. How can we better use and protect our digital selves when the traditional methods are no longer safe nor sustainable?

Hyperledger Indy, a distributed ledger system built using blockchain technology, was purpose-built for decentralized identities. This is also called self-sovereign identity management, a protocol with one distinct directive: protecting our identities.

How Our Digital Identities Work

In our everyday interactions, we use documents that can prove who we say we are, such as government IDs, email addresses, or credit card information. It is easy to prove who you are when you are face-to-face and can present your credentials in person. But that’s not how our identities are managed on the internet.

The internet was born from a network of computers interconnected through an institution’s identity administration system. Traditionally, single identity providers (IdP) run administration duties for an organization’s own network. But because organizations work like independent silos, there is no way for another organization to identify you on their system.

If you want to log in to another company website or email, you have to go through their own identification process and most likely, provide the same information you’ve already provided elsewhere, to prove your identity. These repetitive processes are not only taxing on a person’s time; exposing identity data multiple times can also lead to privacy breaches.

These lapses in our identity security are a threat not only against individuals but to organizations and governments as well. Technology leaders have been facing increased scrutiny due to recent cases of illicit data exposure, while public officials all over the world are pushing for stricter data privacy regulation.

Decentralized Identity on Hyperledger Indy

Hyperledger’s Indy platform works to reconfigure these siloed identifier systems by using the concept of Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) to return the agency and control of identity information back to its users.

In SSI, identities that can prove who you are will now be treated as credentials. Only the owner of these credentials has control of who can see or access their information. There are three roles essential to this network: the credential issuers, the holders, and the verifiers.

  • The credential issuers are the ones who own, hold and determine how their credentials will be used and how the information on them will be validated.
  • Credential holders determine the credentials they would need to use in their workflows in order to prove things.
  • Credential verifiers determine what credentials to accept and which issuers to trust.

For example a customer wants to open a new account at a bank. A representative of the bank will ask for a credential (e.g., customer’s name or birth date) and a signature from the customer (the credential holder). The bank (the verifier) will then verify the credential through a digital identity management system. After a search in the distributed ledgers, the customer’s employer (the issuer) will confirm that they issued the credential. With the confirmation, the bank representative can finish creating the account.

Hyperledger Indy is a distributed ledger purpose-built for independent digital identities. It is a framework that can be used for a global decentralized identity management system. It has the tools and components to create real-time reconciliation and authentication solutions across multiple industries, giving it extreme flexibility in many applications that requires fast and secure identity authentication.

  • The government of British Columbia in Canada created an online directory, the Verifiable Organizations Network (VON), making it easier for businesses to register and to get permits while massively reducing red tape and unnecessary sunk costs.
  • To improve the banking experience of customers, the Bankers Association of the Philippines is developing a digital banking ID registry with its member banks to streamline the opening of new accounts and to hasten the delivery time of mobile services.
  • Evernym, the company that provided the first codes for Hyperledger Indy, created Connect.Me, a digital wallet app that uses self-sovereign identity verification. The wallet allows users to gather credentials as digital proofs, store or backup digital wallet credits, and answer secure messages from any connection on the Sovrin blockchain network.

Hyperledger Indy for Enterprise Development

Hyperledger Indy’s platform, using blockchain technology, allows for many different applications that revolve around the secure use and verification of identity information across other organizations on the blockchain.

  • A self-sovereign records management system for healthcare agencies can assist in providing prompt and accessible care for patients, eliminating barriers and slow processing times in accessing crucial medical information.
  • New e-payment systems using self-sovereign digital identity can simplify transactions and reduce opportunities for fraud. Instead of using usernames and passwords, customers can shop securely with just one click.
  • Digital identities can be controlled and managed easily using a self-sovereign identity platform. Individuals can verify their identities when interfacing with entities on the blockchain, notarize documents, and access personal records such as citizenship IDs.

To learn more about how Hyperledger Indy can work for your particular needs in digital identity management, connect with us through the form below, and request a product demo. Add greater value to your client relationships by protecting your clients’ identities and securing your organization’s digital integrity.