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Collaborate on verifiable credentials for better digital ID ecosystem, DIACC urges

Collaborate on verifiable credentials for better digital ID ecosystem, DIACC urges

Verifiable credentials hold enough promise to improve Canada’s digital identity ecosystem that organizations should commit to working together to enable their broad adoption, the Digital ID & Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) says in a new report.

Perspectives on the Adoption of Verifiable Credentials’ is a 12-page report that presents the results of interviews with organizations that could play a role within Canada’s digital identity ecosystem, most of them as relaying parties, about their interest in using VCs. This role is mostly synonymous with “verifier” in W3C Verifiable Credentials parlance.

The report is also intended to help inform VC issuers, holders and subjects, DIACC says.

DIACC starts from the perspective that the physical and digital identity landscape in Canada is fragmented, creating a raft of difficulties and issues which can be suitably addressed with decentralized or “self-sovereign” approaches to identity management.

Survey results recently published by DIACC show a healthy appetite for more control over digital identity amongst Canadians.

Factors driving interest in VCs include the reduced time, effort and cost of assessing how trustworthy identity attribute claims are, compared to often-cumbersome current practices. DIACC discusses the relative merits of VCs and the risks that go along with legacy approaches to digital ID.

The report notes challenges to widespread adoption of verifiable credentials identified by DIACC members. Trust relationships between participants can be strengthened by implementing specific relationship requirements in the Pan-Canadian Trust Framework (PCTF). Organizations adopting VCs will still have to chart their own regulatory and commercial course, and even the standards that have been completed leave room for further standardization of related elements, like digital wallets, cryptographic modules and data encoding formats.

No “first mover” has yet stepped forward to indicate that the ubiquity envisioned is on its way, meanwhile.

If the companies and organizations that issue, verify, and use digital identity want to realize the privacy, security and convenience potential of verifiable credentials, they will have to address these challenges collectively, DIACC says.

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