The future of digital identity is decentralised

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Paris, September 7, 2021 - Archipels, the digital identity expert company, publishes its white paper entitled: "The future of digital identity is decentralised". Through this text, the observation is clear: in our society, it has become vital to design new mechanisms for managing the digital identity of people, organisations and goods, by placing the user at the centre of data exchanges. Decentralised digital identity promises to deliver many social, economic and political benefits while putting privacy at the heart of the system.

The concept of decentralised digital identity is at the origin of Archipels.

Created in 2020, Archipels, a company specialising in decentralised digital identity, is the result of a consortium of four trusted third parties: Caisse des Dépôts, EDF, ENGIE and the French Post Office.

Archipels validates and authenticates documents (e.g. proof of address or Kbis) related to the identity of individuals and companies with a third party. This certification work is made possible by blockchain technology. This technology allows data and documents linked to the identity of individuals and companies to be certified and verified in a confidential and secure manner. But Archipels' vision is not limited to this. Its ambition is to develop the standard for decentralised, secure and verified digital identity in compliance with European standards.

Beware that when we talk about digital identity, we are not talking about just the attributes of a person's civil status. Digital identity encompasses a very disparate set of data used to represent and distinguish a person - for example, email addresses, various login credentials, biometric characteristics, a bank card number or even an IP address.

Behind the creation of Archipels lies a strong ambition, that of giving back total control to individuals over their identity. It is within this framework and with this vision that Archipels unveils its white paper entitled "The future of digital identity is decentralised". 

Choosing decentralised digital identity to address the shortcomings of current systems

The first observation is this: The digital identity management systems most commonly used today are not sufficiently secure. So-called "centralised", they rely on the creation of a user account per individual and per service, thus multiplying the number of digital identities. It is estimated that each person has an average of 150 accounts on the Internet. This constantly increasing number raises the question of the risks associated with potential security flaws in all centralised systems. 

It is clear that these current models are outdated. This failure is coupled with a loss of public trust in the way their personal data is managed. Data breaches are on the rise. According to the FIC 2021 barometer, they will affect almost two million people in 2020, an increase of almost 20%.

The evidence is clear and unambiguous: decentralised digital identity is the only current solution to provide a secure digital identity management system that protects its users. 

Decentralised identity can be defined as a mechanism that allows users to directly administer their own digital identities through the use of blockchain technology. It is the identity holders, the individuals, who decide to which entities or persons they want to reveal their identity information.

The principle at the heart of decentralised identity is therefore that of a digital identity whose attributes the user carries, certified by third-party issuers. It makes it possible to go further in protecting the personal data of individuals. 

Several use cases illustrate the importance of decentralised identity: 

  • Secure and sustainable access to digital services
  • Access to digital financial services 
  • Strengthening privacy protection  
  • Simplification of education-related services
  • Access to health services
  • Enhanced customer experience for the culture, leisure and travel sectors

Europe opens the door to decentralised identity

The need for a decentralised digital identity on a European scale is echoed in the proposal for an EUid regulation tabled in the European Parliament on 3 June 2021, which is still in progress. 

Its objective: to ensure that all citizens and businesses have access, if they so wish, to a national digital identity that is recognised throughout the EU to facilitate and secure their transactions. In this context, this proposal would require each Member State to provide a certified European digital wallet to its citizens and residents free of charge. Its recognition will thus be mandatory in the public sector and for many private sector companies, including large online platforms. Archipels and its white paper are therefore perfectly in line with this important time. 

The challenges are similar and the vision is the same: "Archipels' ambition is to deploy on a large scale a digital identity management system that is confidential, secure and places individuals and the protection of their privacy at the heart of the programme," says Hervé Bonazzi, CEO of Archipels. 

Download our free white paper to discover the benefits of decentralised digital identity and the needs it addresses.