Since this image was published in 1993 NewYorker, a new quest for managing identities have started. Since then, there have been a number of efforts carried out in order to know who we’re interacting with on the internet. Blockchain as well has introduced another layer of anonymity to the users using it. All we know about our BitCoin trader is his address. Although efforts are being done to identify the authenticity and identity of the blockchain users through KYC and other techniques, the struggle stills seem constant. There are platforms like Sovrin, uPort, and blockstack who have tried to solve the identity management issues by customizing the smart contracts so as to solve the issue. Meanwhile, there are some actors like the “Hydrogen Team” who are looking at it by creating standard protocols for identity in the public blockchain like ethereum.
The same team who were the founders of the ERC-725 alliance have now started to think of identity at an aggregate level. It is simply a protocol for aggregating digital identity information that’s broadly interoperable with existing, proposed, and hypothetical future digital identity standards. Companies stated above are all working on identity-related projects on Ethereum. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been broad consensus around which specific identity framework to use, and as a result, each is pursuing slightly different and potentially incompatible approaches. If they all leveraged a common protocol like ERC-1484 that’s flexible enough to incorporate the specific functionality required for each of their services, yet general enough to be interoperable, their identity products would be that much better. ERC-1484 can be thought of like a wallet — the individual credit cards and IDs can be from any of the other companies and standards, such as Civic, uPort, Sovrin, or even Hydrogen.
It differs from ERC-725 (Key/Claim-Based Identity), ERC-1056 (Lightweight Delegated Identity), and other proposals in that it is meant to function one level below these frameworks, as an aggregator. ERC-1484 identities essentially consist of collections of addresses that are permissioned to ensure that
- Users have ultimate control over their identity
- Users can offload some tedious identity management tasks to identity providers
- Users/user-selected identity providers have complete control over which applications they want to link to their identity.
ERC-1484 has no doubt started an all-new way of thinking about managing identities. Let’s wait and see how many are willing to adopt it and what sort of new improvements will be brought to it.