The foundations of trust within your ecosystem already exist. Leverage existing relationships to fast-track the benefits of verifiable credentials, and digital identity is something you can act on now.
To stay updated on all things governance, sign up for the Indicio Governance Newsletter.
By Sam Curren
Moving to digital trust and verifiable credentials is the goal of many current organizations. Doing so carries substantial benefits, including fraud reduction, increased data sharing with reduced integration costs, and even privacy law compliance.
Large-scale efforts by governments and orgs like GLEIF to create organizational identity are often championed as the foundations for this new digital world, and many are under the impression that it is one that we must wait for.
In reality, the relationships you already have are the key to building a digital ecosystem. Ecosystems need to identify the parties involved in the issuance and verification of credentials — who to trust for what. By contrast, large global identity projects will actually provide very little value to established ecosystems where the parties have established relationships with each other. Moreover, as ecosystems turn digital, newly created digital identifiers from ecosystem participants can be passed directly between participants and the ecosystem governance authority using existing communication channels and relationships; there is no need for that to be orchestrated by another party.
Here are a few examples:
Employees within a company — companies already know their employees and have existing HR processes for interacting and coordinating with employees. Employees know which company they work for. Issuing those employees verifiable employment credentials requires no outside authority.
Trade associations — trade associations already know their member companies and have been working with them for a long time, in some cases, years or decades. Verifiable credentials for member companies, including certifications, proof of membership, and other benefit qualifications are all based on existing relationships.
Business partner networks — insurance companies are a great example of how to build on established trust. They know the providers in their network, and they know the insured individuals. They can provide both directories and introductions between newly connecting parties, all leveraging these existing relationships. Patient VCs can ease onboarding at a new medical provider, while providers can provide qualification credentials to patients. Data entry errors are minimized, efficiency is gained, etc.
None of these examples need anybody’s permission to start innovating with VCs and gaining immediate benefits.
So, what do these large government efforts and global identity programs provide? We’ve made it clear that existing relationships don’t need external parties. What these large identity systems do provide is a trusted foundation for new relationships. It simplifies the process of identifying new ecosystem partners and participants, which can be a major source of fraud. By streamlining the correct identification of individuals and organizations, ecosystems can grow rapidly and more efficiently.
So what’s the holdup on these large programs? It should be no surprise that policy creation, technology development, and often regulation take time to get right.
As these programs mature and deliver the right technologies, they will assist in the growth of already established identity and trust ecosystems. They’ll improve upon existing methods of vetting new partners and participants, and that’ll be great.
In the meantime, the technologies needed to enhance trust and create digital ecosystems from your existing relationships already exist. We at Indicio help our customers do just that, and we’d like to help you as well.