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World Economic Forum panel pushes for blockchain-based decentralized digital ID

World Economic Forum panel pushes for blockchain-based decentralized digital ID

The Digital Identity Initiative of the World Economic Forum (WEF) has been discussing the possibilities of agreeing on an international policy and standards framework that will serve as the springboard to enhance the adoption of digital ID systems that put privacy at the top of all major priorities.

The panel believes blockchain technology can help in building such privacy-preserving digital ID infrastructure, and in so doing, helping organizations and governments realize financial, health and social impact projects.

Discussions at the Forum’s Annual Meeting workshop which had as theme “Improving Livelihoods with Digital ID,” organized by its Crypto Impact and Sustainability Accelerator (CISA), examined ways by which digital ID benefits can be leveraged through a standardized approach, according to an article by Brett McDowell, chair and President of decentralized and open-source public ledger Hedera.

Hedera participated in the discussions on digital ID during the WEF’s recent meeting in Davos.

According to McDowell, having a blockchain-powered digital ID system that enhances data privacy and minimize incidences of data theft or exploitation is the way to go.

This, he says, is even made much easier with the Web3 concept, which seeks to replace the intermediary in managing digital ID “with public blockchain infrastructure where the user stores their digital identity metadata while keeping their personal information offline in their digital wallet with verified credentials signed by their various credential issuers.”

As writes McDowell, this means that each time a user “presents a credential from their wallet to an application, it can verify the credential by checking the cryptographic signature against the original credential issuer’s public key, which has previously been published in a publicly available registry,” while allowing them control over how, when and to who they share such information.

Digital ID systems built on such a model will not only enhance public trust, but will also drive economic incentives with several positive outcomes.

To get there however is not such a smooth ride. To McDowell, it means significant work has to be done and one of such things is to draw important lessons from digital ID pilots and then apply them at scale with the goal of delivering “a foundational building block for solutions to global challenges ranging from digital workforce transformation, to carbon asset MRV, to fundamental social challenges of exclusion and data exploitation.”

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