Our identity is, without doubt, the most important asset we hold. In the digital age, our daily lives are fraught with dangers which undermine our identity or expose details of our personal lives we’d rather keep out of the public realm.
Often, it’s necessary to give certain websites or service providers details about our identities to gain access to exchanges, financial products, or even online communities.
However, every time we share our identities online, they become vulnerable and potentially open to criminals. At present, the safety of our online identities is only as secure as the third-parties who hold them, the number of which increases each time we open a new account.
But with blockchain, the way we store and use our digital identities could be about to change. Here, we’re going to explore how digital Avatars and blockchain-based identities could revolutionize the future of digital identification.
How can blockchain provide a better digital identity?
Blockchain, the digital ledger technology best known for powering cryptocurrencies, can also be used to store data in a transparent, immutable, and secure manner. As a result, it’s easy to see blockchain’s suitability for storing and managing our online credentials.
Through a decentralized approach to identity management, users are empowered to keep their personal identities safely stored on the blockchain, only revealing critical details when required to third-parties.
As a result of certain aspects of blockchain technology, such as zero-knowledge proofs, blockchain credentials can also be a much safer solution for storing data than directly storing identity documents on the blockchain.
Zero-knowledge proofs essentially allow data to be verified as correct or existing on the blockchain, or at a certain blockchain address, without a third-party ever revealing the true value of the data – in this case personal details. The most powerful aspect of a blockchain-based identity management system is the self-sovereignty of personal data, which means that third parties never have to act as custodians for your data.
When third parties have control of user data, such as emails, passwords, and personal details, they become custodians of that data. However, most companies are ill-equipped to adequately protect their customer’s data, which often ends up in data silos and vulnerable to attack.
The result is huge data breaches which cause the loss of user’s data, and the potential trading of this user data on criminal marketplaces. Some well-known examples of this are Marriott International’s data breach in November 2018, which led to the data being leaked, and also Facebook’s breach in 2019 which exposed 540 million user’s records due to poor security.
In practice, this means that through blockchain-based identity management, data breaches such as those which happened at Marriott and Facebook would be prevented from occurring, as third-parties would never become custodians of user data in the first place.
How to protect your personal data using a Metaverse Avatar?
Metaverse’s goal is to build a digital universe where blockchain-based assets, and digital identities known as ‘Avatars’, form the basis for a new way to interact with third parties and make transactions.
Avatar’s can be used to manage personal digital identities on the Metaverse blockchain, as part of the digital identity layer. Each Avatar is made up of 64 alphanumeric characters and has its own address on the Metaverse blockchain.
Metaverse Avatar’s are linked to a user’s real-life identity, but do not require third-parties to independently verify the user’s personal details, and therefore never requires service providers to keep user details on file.
Instead, Avatar identities are already pre-verified by Oracle providers on the blockchain, and in turn the Oracle providers communicate with third-party service providers, such as banks, exchanges, and finance providers, to verify a customer’s identity.
Through Metaverse’s relationships with partner banks, digital Avatar’s can be used to verify the identities of user’s looking to open an account, and pass know your customer (KYC) requirements.
In this process, instead of the user’s ID being passed directly to the service provider, it would instead show that the user had been verified using their digital Avatar –keeping their identity and personal details safe and secure in their blockchain wallet.
There are almost 2,000 Avatars already created on the Metaverse blockchain, with more being created every day.
What are some good practices for users who want to be in control of their own data?
Whilst blockchain-based identity systems may usher in a revolution in the way we manage our online identities, there are a few security considerations and best practices that users should be aware of when using a digital avatar or blockchain-based identity.
1. Protect your private keys
1. Protect your private keys
The main consideration is ensuring that your sovereign identity, which is stored on the blockchain, is protected. This involves taking private key safety seriously.
Private keys are used to access wallets, and so whilst digital Avatars and blockchain-based identities remove the reliance on third-party data custodians, they also require an extra layer of security from users to protect their private key.
2. Keep your wallets safe
Other best practices include taking measures to keep your wallet safe from bad actors, such as only sharing your wallet address with known entities, and checking that addresses are correct before sending data to them.
3. Remember self-sovereignty
Many of the best practices required for keeping a digital identity safe on the blockchain are similar to those for transacting safely with digital assets, and users should be mindful that a digital Avatar puts them in sovereign control of their identities. This means that while your identity is much safer in your hands, there is no centralized service provider to restore access to your wallet or private data if you lose your access information!
Metaverse recommends that users follow these security best practices when using a blockchain-based identity solution, to ensure the protection of their personal information. These steps provide a greater level of protection from third-party data breaches, but also requires greater
diligence on the users’ behalf.
diligence on the users’ behalf.
- You can create your own Avatar on Metaverse blockchain by following this tutorial.
- Learn more about Metaverse at: http://mvs.org/
- Check out our newest development, the Dualchain Network Architecture (DNA) at: http://mvsdna.com/