Decentralized authentication simply means that there is no central authority needed to verify your identity, i.e., decentralized identifiers. DIDs (Decentralized Identifiers) are a special type of identifier that allows for decentralized, verified digital identification. A DID is any subject identified by the DID's controller (e.g., a person, organization, thing, data model, abstract entity, etc.).
DIDs, unlike traditional federated identifiers, are designed to be independent of centralized registries, identity providers, and certificate authorities.
So, what is Decentralized Authentication, and how to achieve it? Let us try to understand it with an example. Say you move to a new country, so now, you need to verify your identity once again to every service provider to give them proof that you are the right person and not a fraud.
You must register for various services, including voting, obtaining a driver's license, banking, receiving electricity, and paying for entertainment subscriptions. To open an account, you must currently register with each service provider separately and prove your identification.
But decentralized authentication simplifies this process. You only have to authenticate your identification to a neutral third party once, and the proof of your identity is saved in an identity trust fabric (ITF). The ITF and its supporting infrastructure (i.e., decentralized identity network, services, and verified claim exchange protocols) act as a middleman between you and your service providers, handling all identification and access requests.
When we think of decentralization, the first word that comes to our mind is "Blockchain". The introduction of blockchain as a technology for implementing a decentralized and tamper-evident shared-ledger allows for new research into establishing a common trust domain.
At the moment, distributed ledger technology is a viable means to construct an ITF. It provides a decentralized and relatively safe way to store and verify the proof of IDs for identities (and associated profile attributes).
As of now, blockchain technology is an interesting approach to decentralized authentication. But, blockchain isn't really built for the speed and scale you'd normally associate with enterprise tech. And that's not to say business leaders should be ignoring this stuff. There's an actual sense that client stress is going to be a critical driving force around self-sovereign identity — wherein people call for that they manipulate how their private statistics are shared.
Although blockchain is one promising avenue for decentralized identity, it is far from the only one. Many of the most powerful concepts behind decentralized identity can be implemented without the use of blockchain. So, we should always be looking for an alternative.
In one simple example, someone creates a couple of personal and public keys in an identification wallet. The public key (identifier) is hashed and saved immutably in an ITF. A dependent third party then proves the person's identification and certifies it by signing with its non-public key.
The certification report is likewise saved within the ITF. If the person desires to get admission to a carrier, it's sufficient to give its identifier within the shape of a QR code or inside a token. The provider company verifies the identification with the aid of evaluating the hash values of identifiers with their corresponding hash facts within the ITF.
If they match, admission is granted. In greater ideal scenarios, the person can derive separate key pairs from a non-public key to generate separate identifiers for one-of-a-kind relationships to allow privacy-pleasant protocols.
Businesses and industries that understand and capture the possibility to apply rising standardized decentralized identification technology for client identification control will create a long-time period of aggressive gain. It permits them to leapfrog the opposition and preserve their lead some distance into the future.
This main area will come from having a holistic approach to identification control that encompasses identification, security, and privacy. For the companies with the foresight to embody them, decentralized identification technology will:
- Reduce the want for centralized databases to absolutely the minimum (e.g., for regulatory purposes) and accordingly provide clients complete control and possession over their non-public information.
- Reduce vulnerability to information misuse via the ones charged with coping with it, and to cyberattacks, fraud, and different monetary crimes.
- Give extra comfort to clients via ways of putting off passwords for login and ongoing authentication.
- Generate remarkable degrees of human acceptance as true among the corporation and its customers and companions.
- Reduce the compliance burden of dealing with clients' private information in services.
- Allow participation in open, trustworthy, interoperable standards.
- Enable interesting new enterprise alliances inside which companions can talk and trade records securely to supply services (e.g., in scientific or education).
We know that Decentralized Authentication is the key to advancing in the future, and now it depends on how we try to implement it. Some problems may arise, but we never move ahead in the game/life if we are not up for a challenge.