At the moment, digital identities are provided to us by central identity providers such as credit bureaus, Email providers, and social networks. While their services allow us to access an entire host of benefits, they have limitations that need to be rethought, especially as we move into the decentralized world and web 3.0.
Central identity providers are honeypots of data, sometimes storing the information of over a billion people (e.g. Yahoo!), which make them highly valuable to hackers. They have been irresponsible with securing our data (e.g. Equifax), and arguably unethical with sharing it (e.g. Facebook). At Trustin.Me, we believe Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) is the solution to most of the issues posed by central identity providers.
SSIs return the ownership of identity to the individual by empowering users to register their own identity on the blockchain and selectively share their information with the third-parties they trust. With SSI, individuals are in charge of creating their own identities and making claims about themselves; however, sometimes, there is an incentive for people to make false claims or minimum regulatory requirements that have to be met — this is where trust anchors come in.
What it does
As a trust anchor, we utilize APIs from the data already available through places such as banks, the government, hospitals, social media profiles, and more to form an aggregate of a person's identity.
After an identity has been attested, a user can selectively share authenticated data with any third-party they choose or use government e-services and vote.
For Trustin.Me 2.0, Trustin.Me would have its own uPort, which allows us to interact with individuals directly. In essence, we would perform the background work and attest an identity at a Tier 2 level. In the long run, as nations further build their digital infrastructure, we can provide Tier 1 verification with all the rights and privileges that come with that identity.
How we built it
In order to build our trust anchor, we used:
- uPort: uPort is an open identity system that returns the ownership of identity to the individual. We use their platform for hosting the SSI.
- JSON Web Token (JWT): JWT is an open industry-standard for representing claims securely between two parties.
- Plaid: The Plaid API allows a user to gather a picture of their financial life, which they can then selectively share with third-parties.
- LinkedIn: An individual's Social Network profile is a good authentication of a users claims for basic functionalities.
- MakerDAO: MakerDAO is a stable coin. We use it as a loaning service for our Tier 2 verification proof of concept.
- React: We used React for building our website, and the voting system for our Tier 1 verification proof of concept.
- Decent: We use Decent for our event ticketing platform. They are used as a proof of concept for our Tier 3 verification level.
Challenges we ran into
We dealt with a decent number of errors and bugs, but nothing unusual in that regard. The exploration of and the uncertainty surrounding the best manner in which we can show what a trust anchor is capable of doing was another challenge we ran into.
We were well nourished, hydrated, and managed to take a couple of naps, and thus were physically & mentally in good spirit :)
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Just within 36 hours, we have created an extraordinary, multi-functional, yet simple platform. A platform that is well-positioned to take on the challenges of our time, while being well designed, creative, & transformative.
Regardless of the results of the hackathon, we're both proud of what we've created.
What we learned
We explored a decent number of APIs, ERCs, EIPs, and more to use the best products, and inform ourselves to the extent possible.
We also learned about many new projects, met people we enjoyed conversing with, and had an overall meaningful weekend.
What's next for Trustin.me
Drew and I would like to further explore the idea of SSIs, trust anchors, the solutions to some of the most pressing issues in the identity space, and how to best overcome them.