Decentralised Identity

Without an identity layer, data breaches and the misuse of personal data has eroded trust. A decentralised identity approach using distributed ledger technologies (DLT) is gathering pace, standardised by W3C and the Decentralised Identity Foundation (DIF), and backed by companies such as IBM and Microsoft. The underlying distributed ledger infrastructure could potentially be used to facilitate an exchange of assets.

Decentralised identity is an emerging concept that gives back control of identity to consumers through the use of an identity wallet in which they collect verified information about themselves from certified issuers (such as the Government). By controlling what information is shared from the wallet to requesting 3rd parties (e.g., when registering for a new online service), the user is able to better manage their identity online and their privacy – for example, only presenting proof that they’re over 18 without needing to reveal their actual Date of Birth.

Traditionally, a user needs to register for an account and a username & password for every Service Provider they wish to engage with.


In such systems, the user’s identity is managed by each Service Provider.


In a decentralised identity framework, the user receives credentials proving their identity from multiple Issuers (e.g., Government, Employer, University etc.) and stores them in a digital wallet.


The user (aka Holder) can then present proofs of their identity to any company that requests it (Verifiers), and these companies can verify that the proofs are true via a Blockchain-based ledger.


Rather than a central authority managing the user’s identity, a blockchain-based distributed ledger acts as the source of truth. The identity information itself is not held on the ledger but within a wallet managed by the user.


Mobile Operators are well placed to support and play a role in the operation of a commercial decentralised identity framework.