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How DIDs Solve Issues of Digital Identity
Our digital identity is an extension of ourselves. From social media profiles and banking information to DeFi applications and NFTs, we entrust our online data to a variety of platforms, many of which are centralized and vulnerable to hacks, leaks, and data breaches. It’s no secret that our digital selves are constantly under threat. Luckily, a decentralized identity can help provide a solution.
Decentralized identifiers, or DIDs, not only ensure the security and accessibility of our personal data but also empower individuals to take ownership and control of their digital destinies. DIDs use cryptographic proofs to allow individuals and communities to find better ways to connect without the problems of traditional, centralized identity management. A decentralized identity plays a pivotal role in safeguarding our digital selves, shielding us from exploitative practices that use our private data for profit.
With the Elastos DID solution, users can effortlessly access Elastos’ ecosystem services and applications, efficiently manage their assets and data, and ultimately exert autonomy over their digital destiny. As more products incorporate its capabilities, Elastos DID is poised to become one of the most widely adopted solutions in the decentralized identity industry.
Below we will explore how Elastos DID can begin to solve the online identity issues of universal login, data and security, user experience, and accessibility. With DID technology, the bridge between the physical and digital worlds can become much more seamless and secure, bringing the core aspects of human interaction to the digital world.
A Universal Login
One of the largest issues that DIDs can begin to solve is the social login dilemma. When we interact with the current state of the internet, we have a ton of login credentials across multiple sites and apps. For example, our Email username and password may differ from our Instagram, which is probably different from our Discord or Telegram accounts. However, with the multitude of identity solutions on traditional websites and apps, DID could provide a robust way to cut through the noise.
DIDs can be designed to be interoperable, meaning users can use a single DID, or single sign in (SSI), across multiple platforms and applications. For example, Elastos DIDs can remove the clutter, potentially giving users the ability to create a comprehensive login and private key their digital identification needs.
Not only do Web2 logins cause a headache for a user, but they also create a monopoly of data for malicious companies. Because a few social media sites dominate the social login market, they have access to a vast amount of user data, which they can use for targeted advertising and other purposes. This dynamic can create a situation where users have limited control over their online data. As a result, their activity across multiple websites and apps can be tracked and analyzed by a single entity without their knowledge or consent.
DIDs, if adopted widely, could be the all-in-one solution to replace Web2 social logins. The user owns and operates them, with open-source and decentralized software powering them. DIDs solve the problems of having multiple logins for different websites and giving too much power to a handful of greedy corporations.
Security and Privacy
The potential of a universal login free from the clutches of data monopolies is just one piece of the puzzle. DIDs also serve as the perfect solution for users fed up with shady security practices in both Web2 and Web3 when managing their personal data. Security and data privacy are crucial concerns in digital identity management, especially considering the increasing number of data breaches and cyber-attacks.
In traditional identity management systems, users are required to provide private data, which is stored in centralized databases. Often, this data is vulnerable to misuse by central authorities (including governments), third-party companies, or hackers. Additionally, personal information can be scattered across different media, such as papers, passports, and unsecured websites. This is where DIDs can step in.
DIDs can ensure users’ personal data is secure, private, and completely digital. Users can choose to disclose only the information they want to share, and they retain full control over who has access to their data. With Elastos DID, private keys are stored directly on a person’s device, not in some database halfway across the world.
Elastos even has its own DID sidechain that stores some, but not all, information using zero-knowledge proofs, or ZK-proofs, to utilize the best aspects of decentralization for seamless integrations and use cases. This ensures that users have confidence that their data is safe and secure and that they are in control of who has access to it.
By utilizing decentralized networks, DIDs can help eliminate the need for central authorities or corporations to store and manage personal data. This medium guarantees that users’ data is not vulnerable to anyone using it for their own personal gain.
User Experience and Accessibility
The final issues that DIDs can solve are related to user experiences and accessibility. We touched on above how DIDs can not only be a fix to the multiple social login dilemma but also serve as an answer to large corporations monopolizing personal data. But the possibilities don’t stop there.
DIDs can enable new types of user experiences on the internet. For example, a person could use their DID to prove their age or identity to access certain online services without revealing additional personal information by utilizing zero-knowledge proofs. Similarly, DIDs could facilitate more seamless and secure transactions, as users could use their DID to create Verifiable Credentials and authorize payments without their payment information on each individual platform.
DIDs can even facilitate the secure sharing of personal data between users and services. For example, a patient could use their DID to securely share their medical records with a doctor, or a job seeker could use their DID to securely share their educational and professional credentials with a potential employer.
Though DIDs open the door to several important use cases that do not exist today, accessibility remains a critical issue when it comes to online identity management. Traditional identity management systems often require individuals to access government-issued identification or financial services, which can exclude marginalized communities who may not have access to these resources. DIDs, on the other hand, can improve accessibility by allowing individuals to establish their digital identity without relying on centralized authorities or traditional forms of identification.
DIDs can enable individuals to authenticate their identity by using a range of alternative methods, making it easier for underprivileged individuals to establish their digital identity and access essential services and opportunities. They can also provide a user-friendly interface for identity management without complicated interfaces that can be daunting for individuals who may not have significant technical expertise.
In conclusion, decentralized identities (DIDs) offer a potential solution to the various issues that arise with traditional, centralized identity management systems. By ensuring the security and accessibility of personal data, DIDs can empower individuals to take control of their digital destinies. As DIDs continue to be integrated into more products, they are poised to become one of the most widely adopted solutions in the decentralized identity industry, providing a secure and seamless bridge between the physical and digital worlds. As a leading ecosystem built around the promise of DIDs, Elastos is a great option for builders looking to solve some of the challenges around Web3 identity management.
The article and graphics were created by the Elavation Team.