After incidents such as the Equifax data breach, in which millions of people had sensitive personal information such as names, addresses, and social security numbers stolen, it became overwhelmingly clear that we need new mechanisms to handle personal information. Years of willful ignorance and slow development have lead these systems to be vulnerable to attacks. Antiquated, centralized systems such as Equifax’s are not secure enough to reliably handle such important data, and are slow to adapt to recent trends in identity verification and personal data handling that could improve the current situation.
Luckily, new decentralized services like Civic aim to fix the current issues facing identity security using biometric verification and blockchain technology. Civic abandons cumbersome and unsafe authentication methods such as passwords or third-party authenticators, and instead using biometric markers such as fingerprints to verify your identity. Using the process outlined below, Civic then uses the blockchain to obtain, attest, and record identity verifications in a decentralized manner on the blockchain. This process ensures that personal data is not stored in a centralized manner, and that verified forms of identity can be used repeatedly by multiple parties, taking advantage of the public platform to eliminate redundancy for users.
Civic’s platform is able to provide multi-factor authentication without relying on antiquated methods like passwords, third-party authenticator, or physical hardware tokens. First, keys are generated by a third-party wallet, so that Civic is not a centralized keeper of user keys. Then, users simply need to download the app to their mobile device, and can authenticate using biometrics such as fingerprints. All identity data is hashed after verification and a flag is maintained to indicate that the data is up-to-date. Using the Civic app, users can then create new accounts on other platforms using their private data provided to the Civic app. This improves upon existing services like Facebook Login because Civic’s login mechanism ensures that the accounts are being created by the true owner of the identity data.
Civic’s platform can be used for reusable KYC processes. Using CVC Tokens, the cryptocurrency behind the Civic platform, Identity Requesters can use Civic’s Identity Partners to verify user identities. After a piece of data has been verified, it is then added to the user’s app and can be later reused for other KYC processes. This is efficient for both users and requesters, since users can reuse previously-verified pieces of data, and requesters get a cheaper, expedited KYC process. Beyond being more convenient, this process is also much safer for users. In traditional KYC processes, users end up sending pictures of PDFs of important documents to unknown third-parties. Using Civic’s platform, data is verified by trusted third-parties privately, and since the Civic app required biometric verification, it is very difficult for an attacker to access submitted documents.
One of the most timely applications of Civic’s unified identity platform is identity verification for ICOs. ICO investors can use Civic’s identity platform to securely make account on the ICO’s token sale website. Civic verifies their email and phone number, and encrypts them locally in the Civic app on their phone. In order to satisfy ICO KYC requirements, users can then scan and verify their identity documents such as a passport and driver’s license in order to prove their accredited investor status. This provides a secure ICO process and improves user experience by making the verification process as seamless and possible and removing redundancies. Another, perhaps overlook benefit, of Civic’s identity verification during ICOs is that it prevents large entities from purchasing amounts that exceed the purchase limit. Since every buyer is connected to unique identity that is backed by documentation, ICOs can be sure that each buyer is a unique person. This helps prevent centralization during the token sale process — rather than allowing a few large groups to quickly buy up the supply, this instead allows many smaller buyers to individually make purchases.
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