IOTA Identity Framework
The IOTA Identity framework implements the most common standards and patterns for Decentralized Identity in both a DLT agnostic and
iota method specific manner.
It is designed to work for Identity for People, Organizations,
Things, and Objects acting as a unifying-layer of trust between everyone and everything.
Introduction to Decentralized Identity
Decentralized or Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) gives individuals full control over their online identity, offering a remedy for database breaches, lack of digital trust, and stringent privacy laws like GDPR. Digital identity bridges the gap between online pseudonyms and real-world personas, enabling true verifiable identities. This gives individuals the power to choose which data to share and with whom.
Identity for People
IOTA Identity builds a new internet, without usernames, passwords, endless repeated forums, or uncontrolled data harvesting.
Information about anyone's life is spread across many locations. Most people have numerous unorganized important documents at home, hundreds of online accounts, and many more online footprints. Through statistical predictive analysis, computer programs can harvest unverified online information sources and create a reasonably accurate profile about our lives. These profiles are accurate enough for targeted advertising and personalized content but lack the proof and trust for them to be used in business. This results in an antiquated customer experience where we have to submit our age and address for every purchase we make and every account we create. It also inhibits our ability to do many online tasks like requesting and extending licenses or taking out a mortgage.
Self-Sovereign Identity is about returning autonomy and privacy to the individual, while also improving our online experience. Some movements focus on data privacy, preventing companies from using our information altogether, but with the IOTA Identity framework you control which part of the information you want to reveal. The user can create a single online profile containing all our personal information. They can decide who they share what information with, and a verifier checks if the information is correct, making the data trustworthy. This moves their online profile from a statistical estimation by corporate entities to an accurate and verifiable profile under their own control.
IOTA Identity allows a new internet without usernames, passwords, endless repeated forms, or data harvesting. Users have ultimate control and can choose to supply service providers with their personal data, who in return provide personalized experiences. Data will still flow, and perhaps even more than before, but it will always be in the interest of the individual, instead of a corporation. People will gain additional benefits in sharing their data, either in monetary value or improved customer experience. This sort of system is not possible in a non-neutral environment such as permissioned or fee-based ledgers.
Governmental mechanisms for building digital identitiesThe online representations or personas of individuals that are associated with their personal information and activities. Typically, these are implemented in a system where identities can certify other entities through a credential wallet. are currently being established throughout Europe and Asia, with demand increasing around the globe. However, they are managed by single entities and restricted to the governments that created them. By decentralizing a framework for these standards to adapt to, we have a system for intergovernmental verification of individuals and devices. A person’s digital identification will be transferable across borders like a passport. However, it will no longer require the trust of the issuing government due to the digital trust established by the open and auditable system.
Identity for Organizations
IOTA Identity allows organizations to comply with GDPR in a cost-efficient and privacy-enabling manner
Corporations are associated with greed and abuse of power. This reputation stems from the role some have chosen to take within society. Corporations are trusted with our data, but often do not act responsibly; vulnerability, fix, patch, repeat. In software and systems, we have seen this cycle repeat. Headlines on data leaks are now an ever-present feature in the news.
IOTA Identity presents an opportunity for companies to embrace a new role in the ecosystem. Traditional approaches do not provide cost-efficient solutions to new legislation like GDPR. IOTA Identity enables organizations to change their processes to comply with the new regulations in a cost-efficient and privacy-enabling manner. Features of “Data Protection and Privacy by Design” shift responsibility over Personal Identifiable Information (PII) from organization to customer, and organizations no longer need to store that data. The relationship between customer and organization is also tightened as communication via a third party Identity provider like Google or Facebook is no longer needed.
Due to Know-Your-Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) obligations, companies can be certain who their customers are. These services also provide unique insight into the state of their customers’ data. These insights can be combined and translated into verifiable credentials, providing a new “Trust Anchor” service with a potential for new business models. KYC and AML credentials would return the autonomy of personal data back to the customer. Once companies accept the KYC and AML credentials of other companies, the enrollment time for new customers is significantly reduced, as are the costs. With the personal data secured by the customer, companies can afford to store less data in their own databases, reducing risk and responsibility and fulfilling the goals of legislation such as GDPR.
Organizations that have their own decentralized identities can also combat fraud and increase control over their online brand. Companies can sign invoices and agreements using their decentralized identities. While interacting with the customers, they will also be able to reliably identify themselves.
Identity for Things
IOTA Identity adds the missing key ingredient for the "Economy of Things": Trust.
With Identity of Things (IDoT), devices are provided with a unique global identity that are able to prove many attributes including their capabilities, specifications, and authenticity. People, organizations, and other devices will only pay devices that can prove their ability to fulfill the required task. This basis of trust prevents fraudulent activity. Additonally, by using the IOTA ledger, the progress of the task can be immutably logged. With the combination of the IOTA protocol and the IOTA Identity framework, we can automate the entire interaction between all parties, without requiring predefined trust. The Industry Marketplace provides a perfect example of how this framework and level of autonomy work.
There is a growth in applications that generate Digital Twins for physical devices or objects, such as the Asset Administration Shell (AAS) developed for our Industry Marketplace. Digital twins are online profiles representing a device or object. They provide a virtual state that mirrors reality by emulating the device or object’s physical state through data input sources like sensors. A digital twin is often used to monitor states and execute actions based on the information. Digital twins are only rarely shared outside the associated application and organization due to the complexities in sharing and matching profiles. However, empowered with a digital identity, digital twin sharing would become possible. Once data is verifiable and trusted, digital twins can form the basis for the digital representation of physical devices and objects. This allows other identities to interact with them automatically and provide services such as predictive maintenance.
Security is a major barrier in advancing technologies that use IoT. Whether it is the smart devices in our own homes, or at a larger scale, the critical infrastructure of organizations and cities, security must be at the core. It is central to any globally-unifying identity solution. By integrating advanced research in cryptography and digital ledgers, and combining it with a scalable access and management system, security will become a core functionality of the systems we build. By using scalable device DIDs, integrating verification and reputation schemes, and allowing for transparent tamper-proof accountability, we begin to understand how we can future-proof the security of our systems, allowing us to start trusting the process, and not the patch.
One Framework. Any Identity
The IOTA Identity framework serves as a ubiquitous layer of trust for the internet. Whether it's people, organizations, or things, the framework enables the creation of digital identities, fosters trust-building through verifiable credentials, and ensures seamless interaction among different entities.
IOTA stands apart as a scalable, feeless Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), suitable for a universal identity solution. Some features of IOTA include:
- Cost-effectiveness: Usually, minting decentralized identities costs fees. IOTA Identity has redeemable and predictable deposits but no fees.
- High availability: Identities are always available on all network nodes - for holders, issuers, and verifiers.
- Security: Write access to identities is secured through multi-level control structures with key rotation capabilities, allowing for backup access and recoverability.
- Integrity: Updates go through the same mechanisms that secure the IOTA network, guaranteeing consistent state and history of all identities.