One of the main features of the 3air platform is Digital Identities. Identities are a cornerstone of society. However, many of Africa’s population lack proper identification and verifiable records from different sectors, such as finance, education, and health.
Digital identities can provide all of these in a trustless, secure, and private medium, providing access to credit scores, medical history, or proof of education that is directly verifiable on the blockchain.
By current standards, clients must sign up at a vendor and present their physical ID. They must also submit personal data, although most vendors don’t need all this information. If the sign-up process occurs online, it usually involves multiple usernames and passwords or third-party services. All of these attract additional costs and come with development, usability, and security flaws.
Although ISPs currently process a lot of personal information, they are not part of the authentication and identity services in general.
With the 3air platform, ISPs could provide identity-as-a-service and earn additional revenue or just offer additional value to their clients. ISPs are perfectly suited for these tasks. For 3air, each issued digital identity will incur a fee.
In the best scenario, a properly issued digital identity will be recognized by government authorities and could replace even official means of identification. 3air will strive to achieve the status of a licensed or certified ID issuer through our K3 partnership. Issuing official government ISP licenses could pave a shorter route to our destination, however our success is not dependent on this outcome. Still, identities issued by a licensed ISP provider will have merit with other institutions and businesses struggling with identification means for people living in emerging economies.
Such an identity will benefit the client and the ISP. Future identification on the platform will be easy, cheap, and trustless from anywhere in the world. 3air users will not need additional identification to use any services connected to 3air’s ecosystem, removing a major security flaw and cost from ISPs that join the platform.
On the other hand, once digital identities become mainstream, they will be usable on other points of identification, including websites, web stores, shops, bars, etc. With proper issuer certification, it even has the potential to become a mainstream means of identification.
The term, digital identity, is only loosely defined. It can be any means of identification with a digital document. On the other hand, there is a W3C standard being proposed that defines decentralized identifiers (DIDs) (W3C, w3.org, 2021) and Verifiable Credentials (VCs) (W3C, w3.org, 2021).
We believe this will be the standard that will prevail in the digital identities space, which is why we are structuring our identity data model according to this standard. It will make our identities usable in versatile situations and interoperable with future projects and institutions.
At the head of digital identities, there will be VCs. Credentials are a part of our daily lives. We use a driver’s license to show that we can operate a vehicle, we use university degrees to prove our level of education, and we use passports to travel between countries. The VC specification provides a mechanism to express these sorts of credentials on the web in cryptographically secure, privacy respecting, and machine verifiable methods.
DIDs in this model refer to any subject (a person, organization, thing, data model, etc.). It is decentralized because it can be decoupled from centralized registries, identity providers, and certificate authorities.
Each user will have their DID on the 3air platform. This DID will be used for all contracts between users and ISPs, including granting ISP services, payments, rewards, marketing, microloans, etc.
Figure 9 DID issuing and service interactions
How issuing DIDs and DID interactions work?
A user walks into an ISP or telecom provider that can issue a DID. They identify themselves, and the ISP creates a DID on the blockchain with their information through the 3air platform. The information is stored in a digital vault. The user gets complete control over their DID and can use it to access other services, either with the ISP or other parties that accept the level of DID they were issued. The level depends on the information provided and the issuer’s license. With every DID interaction, the user has complete control over submitted information. Each interaction stores data to build a verifiable history that users may need to access certain services in the future.
In the medium to long-term, it will lead to seamless KYC procedures, better customer experience, and reduced costs for the ISP. The user will have complete control of who can see or use their private information using vaults under their control.
Vaults facilitate sharing private information without revealing sensitive data to the other party. For instance, if you need to be of age to access a service, the questions should be:
- Are you older than XX years (with the answer simply Yes/No)?
- Does this information belong to you?
There is no need for the other party to know exactly how old you are, your name, or where you live. All these pieces of information usually come with regular IDs, even when they are not needed. As for the second question, the digital identities indisputably match the provided information to the correct identity based on biometric data.
Blockchain technology makes it impossible for any party to fake or manipulate information, with biometrics adding an extra protection layer against identity theft.
The user will benefit from the DID with a reduced frequency of identification and KYC procedures. It also provides access to new services inside the ISP and even outside. Users can use the same DID on other websites and apps to uniquely and trustlessly identify a user. Payment records can contribute to building a positive credit score, making it easier to acquire financial services such as loans. A good track record also makes it easier to access other services from different providers. The options are limitless and synergistic.