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Make businesses performing KYC into digital identity providers, GAIN white paper proposes

Make businesses performing KYC into digital identity providers, GAIN white paper proposes

The Global Assured Identity Network (GAIN) released its proposal for businesses performing know your customer checks to act as digital identity providers in a user-centric system to deliver “high-trust identity assurance” to the other businesses and entities they engage with online, in a keynote presentation at KuppingerCole’s European Identity and Cloud Conference 2021 (EIC 2021).

GAIN is backed by dozens of banks, and could not only help them as relaying parties, but is also proposing a system under which any banks could act as an “identity information provider.”

While the idea of giving more power to banks may not sit well with some, part of the motivation is to cut down on the amount of personal information shared with companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google, as Diginomica notes. It would also head them off as potential digital ID providers.

GAIN says it will unveil a proof-of-concept at the Institute of International Finance’s (IIF’s) annual member meeting next month.

The white paper, titled ‘GAIN Digital Trust: How Financial Institutions are taking a leadership role in the Digital Economy by establishing a Global Assured Identity Network’ and co-authored by more than 150, suggests a system made interoperable through the OpenID standards and widely available through an API.

OpenID also provides some privacy advantages over the tech giant-federated ID system, such as selective disclosure of identity data.

Financial institutions, telecoms and others are already required to perform KYC checks, and therefore to hold digital identity data on customers. This KYC data can be reused, GAIN’s reasoning goes, without sharing it directly with other entities customers are logging into accounts with or purchasing from. The infrastructure to perform secure authentications based on this data already exists, and can be leveraged in service of what could serve as the “third wave” of identity, playing a similar role to that VISA and Mastercard play for payments, according to the presentation.

Diginomica also notes that a potentially competing project, CustomerCommons.org was also launched at EIC 2021 to provide a place for consumers to store their digital identity data.

The GAIN white paper describes the digital trust challenge, the place of financial institutions within the ecosystem, and the fragmented digital identity market. GAIN also describes the network that would be required, and the user experience it could yield. The majority of the document consists of appendices on the related value propositions, business models, trust framework and technology architecture.

Biometrics are only mentioned once, as an example of the kind of data consumers do not want to share more than necessary with organizations that could sell or misuse it, or lose it in a data breach.

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