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What is a digital identity?

Proof of one’s own identity is provided in the analogue world with the help of an identity card. It is an official document that is issued by government agencies and is considered to be nearly forgery-proof. However, proof of identity is also required in the digital world. In this case, a digital identity is used to identify oneself. It is often considered as counterpart to an identity card. However, this is just as wrong as the assumption that digital identity is limited exclusively to digital processes.

Digital identity: More than just an ID card

A digital identity document, which merely replaces the identity card, would not be effective and would fall far short of what is possible today. The digital identity includes several characteristics of the owner and is not limited to basic personal data as provided by an official identification document. The special thing about this concept is that the user only shares selected information with third parties. At the same time, the digital identity can be used for business relationships in the analogue world.

Features of a digital identity

The digital identity – also called self-sovereign identity – can contain a wide variety of features. In addition to the identity card, the driver’s license, credit card information, a residential authorization certificate or proof of creditworthiness can be saved in it. The owner of the data can share it with companies as needed. Evidence of the COVID vaccination or test certificates can also be stored in a digital identity.

How secure is digital identity?

Identification using digital identity must be secure for both users and companies. Users store their features in a private wallet that is only accessible to them. These stored documents were previously verified by independent third parties such as banks or institutions. For this purpose, certificates that do not allow any conclusions to be drawn about the owner are issued and stored in a blockchain. Users only share the stored certificates during a business process. You retain full control over your personal data, while companies receive pre-legitimized certificates.

This procedure speeds up the identification process tremendously: A car rental company no longer has to verify its driver’s license, ID card and bank details itself, but instead receives legitimized certificates from the blockchain. The same applies to proof of vaccination status. Restaurant employees no longer have to check this themselves, but have the relevant certificate sent to them. The advantage of digital identity for companies is that it minimizes bureaucratic processes, while users have full control over their data.

Further use cases

Since processes for identification are used everywhere, the application possibilities of the digital identity are also diverse. Access authorizations with an expiration date for the fitness studio or the office building can also be stored in the private wallet, as can tickets for trade fairs and events. Depending on the situation, the digital identity is sometimes a passport and proof of creditworthiness; Passport and driver’s license or passport and access card. This reduces the effort for both users and companies, and thanks to the blockchain technology used, everyone involved is offered more security than with conventional methods of identification.

The digital identity of myEGO

For myEGO it is clear that a digital identity has to meet special requirements. The interoperable self-sovereign identity from myEGO enables seamless integration into existing systems and is easy to implement for companies, restaurants and cultural institutions. At the same time, the private wallet gives users back control of their data. The latter creates trust and acceptance on the part of the user.

The European Commission has also recognized the future viability of self-sovereign identity and would like to advance the development with a European digital identity (EUid). Last but not least, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for digital identification options. Using different apps for contact tracking and proof of vaccination status has proven neither efficient nor user-friendly. The use of blockchain technology and private wallets, as used by myEGO, simplify the application for companies and users. myEGO therefore welcomes the current efforts at federal and European level to promote the establishment of a digital identity.