Harnessing the Power of Verifiable Credentials
Welcome to Part 3 of our guide to Modern Consumer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) Platform! In this installment, we’ll be discussing the use cases and industries impacted by decentralized identity and verifiable credentials.
Decentralized identity and verifiable credentials have become hot topics in the tech world as they offer a new approach to managing digital identities and proving credentials. Decentralized identity refers to the concept of individuals and organizations having ownership and control over their digital identities without relying on a central authority to manage them. Verifiable credentials, on the other hand, are digital documents that can be used to prove a certain attribute or claim about an individual or organization.
A verifiable credential typically consists of three main components:
This component provides metadata about the credential itself, such as its type, issuer, issuance date, and expiration date. This metadata helps establish the context for the credential and provides information about the issuer and the subject of the credential.
This component contains information about the subject of the credential, such as their name, date of birth, and other attributes that are relevant to the credential. It may also include information about any relevant contexts or qualifications that the subject has, such as a university degree or a professional certification.
This component provides proof that the credential was issued by a trusted party and has not been tampered with since issuance. The proof can take various forms, such as a digital signature, a cryptographic hash, or a zero-knowledge proof. The proof allows the credential holder to demonstrate the authenticity and integrity of the credential to a third party.
DIDs (Decentralized Identifiers)
DIDs are used in verifiable credentials to identify the subject of the credential in a decentralized and trust-minimized manner. When a DID is included in a verifiable credential, it provides a secure and private way to identify the subject of the credential without relying on a centralized authority.
The DID is typically included as part of the credential subject component of the verifiable credential. The DID can take the form of a URL or a unique string of characters that is associated with the subject’s public key. When a verifier receives a verifiable credential, they can use the DID to retrieve the subject’s public key from a decentralized key registry, such as a blockchain or a distributed ledger.
Once the verifier has retrieved the public key associated with the DID, they can use it to verify the digital signature on the credential proof. By verifying the digital signature, the verifier can be assured that the credential was issued by the entity specified in the credential metadata and has not been tampered with since issuance.
Using DIDs in verifiable credentials provides several benefits, including:
By using DIDs, verifiable credentials can be issued and verified without relying on a centralized authority or identity provider.
DIDs allow the subject of the credential to maintain control over their identity and personal information, as they are not required to share personal data with a centralized identity provider.
DIDs provide a standardized way to identify the subject of the credential, which promotes interoperability and enables verifiable credentials to be used across different systems and applications.
Example Verifiable Credential
"type": ["VerifiableCredential", "UniversityDegreeCredential"],
"name": "Bachelor of Science in Computer Science",
"college": "College of Engineering",
"university": "Example University",
"major": "Computer Science",
"name": "Example University",
This credential represents a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Example University. It contains information about the issuer, issuance date, credential subject (the recipient of the degree), and proof that the credential was issued by the issuer. The proof includes a digital signature using the Ed25519Signature2018 algorithm. The credential also includes a unique ID and a type that indicates that it is a Verifiable Credential and a UniversityDegreeCredential.
These technologies have a range of applications across industries, including:
In the financial industry, decentralized identity and verifiable credentials can help improve the KYC (know your customer) process. Instead of relying on paper-based documents, individuals can provide verifiable credentials that prove their identity, address, income, and other relevant information. This can help streamline the onboarding process and reduce the risk of fraud.
Decentralized identity and verifiable credentials can enable patients to have more control over their medical records. Patients can store their medical records in a secure, decentralized database and share access to them with healthcare providers as needed. This can help improve patient outcomes and reduce medical errors.
Decentralized identity and verifiable credentials can help individuals prove their educational achievements and credentials. Instead of relying on traditional transcripts and diplomas, individuals can provide verifiable credentials that prove their education and qualifications. This can help streamline the job application process and reduce the risk of fraudulent credentials.
Supply Chain Management
In supply chain management, decentralized identity and verifiable credentials can help improve the traceability and authenticity of products. By providing a secure and immutable record of product ownership and authenticity, businesses can reduce the risk of counterfeit products and improve supply chain efficiency.
Decentralized identity and verifiable credentials can help individuals prove their identity when accessing government services such as voting, social benefits, and tax filings. This can help reduce fraud and improve the efficiency of government services.
In the travel industry, decentralized identity and verifiable credentials can be used to improve the customer experience, increase security, and streamline processes. Travelers can use verifiable credentials to prove their identity and travel history, which can help expedite airport security processes and reduce wait times. Decentralized identity can also provide travelers with more control over their personal data, allowing them to share only the necessary information with airlines and other travel providers. This can help improve data privacy and reduce the risk of identity theft. In addition, decentralized identity and verifiable credentials can be used to improve loyalty programs and other customer-facing services. By providing customers with a secure and verified digital identity, travel providers can offer more personalized experiences and rewards based on their travel history and preferences.
In Part 4 of our guide, we’ll be discussing how decentralized identity and verifiable credentials potentially improves digital identity onboarding and identity verification.
Stay tuned to learn more about this exciting development in the world of CIAM!