Innovative companies in Digital Identity

Recently the UK government announced that they are looking to bring Digital ID cards into the market. People are having to increasingly verify themselves online and there’s no widespread solution for this. Whilst Digital ID have been widely adopted in countries like Estonia, India and Sweden, there’s been both praises and criticism from industry experts. Instead of providing my point of view on the matter, I’d like to introduce you to the companies who’s already made the first move and are the ‘hot stuff’.

Yoti

You can use Yoti at convenience stores in the UK

Yoti has built a mobile app that lets you get a ‘Digital ID card’. You have to submit a passport or a driving license along with a selfie and you’ll get your ID in minutes! You can use this to prove your age at local convenience store, buy a lot of alcohol from Jagermeister (Yumm!) and they’re also trialling age verification in the cinemas. Their app is cute as a button and I love how it works.

When it comes to providing ID solutions, there’s a bit of a chicken and an egg problem where you need a lot of places where you can use your ID and these places also need a lot of customers so it’s worth it for them to use the solution. With over 7 million app downloads and over 12,000 stores or companies accepting Yoti ID cards (At the time of writing), they’re on Cloud 9 and they’re going higher to Cloud 10 or even 11, or whatever comes next.

As an SSI purist (Someone who believes SSI is the best solution for everything), the only thing I don’t like about Yoti’s proposition is that their ID solution isn’t Self-Sovereign. They mention their app is secure, and whilst it probably is, I just don’t know what they can do with my identity.

OnFido

OnFido is an ID provider. ID providers typically provide B2B services to organisations who need to identify their customers before providing a service. If you’ve got a Revolut account then it’s likely your documents were verified by OnFido before you could open a bank account with them. They’re not usually a customer facing brand and you probably had no idea existed. In order to understand the full depth of the challenges and benefits of identifying a real individual, you can check the UK government’s guide to How to verify someone’s identity.

They recently did a pilot around re-usable eKYC in the UK financial institution along with Deloitte and Evernym, using SSI technology and the results were very positive where more than half the customers went on to re-use their digital identity and majority said they would recommend it to a friend. They’ve proved it works in one of the most regulated industries in the world, but the laws need to catch up with technology. What could this mean for you if this becomes widespread? Next time you open a bank account, you won’t have to frantically look around for your bank statement or your passport when you open a bank account.

Truu

Truu provides Digital passports to NHS staff members. They’re revolutionising how pre-employment checks are done by hospitals before they onboard healthcare staff. Doctors tend to move around to different hospitals often, and every time they need to re-verify information about themselves, such as providing medical certificates, passport, DBS checks, etc. Collecting and updating this information can take a long time sometimes and they have to get this evidence verified physically every time they switch jobs. Instead of hospitals asking doctors for the same information over and over again, hospitals in the NHS can now rely on the checks done by a doctor’s previous employer. They can reduce administrative tasks by 1000s of hours as this practice becomes more widespread! As a result, doctors can spend more time looking after their patients. Truu has a truuly (excuse the pun!) social cause in the healthcare sector and uses SSI technology to solve some really powerful use cases.

Farmer Connect

Farmer Connect is looking to reduce inefficiencies in the supply chain market for food. In their website, they state their vision is to “Humazine consumption through technology”. I’m not quite sure what it means but I like it! Unfortunately I couldn’t download their app since it’s not in the app store. But I’ll tell you what I found out in their website.

They’re looking to help farmers get loans and get rid of middlemen so that poor farmers can make more profit. The other side of the product which is really cool is that you can scan QR codes on the foods you eat and find out the story behind it — where it came from, who made it and the story of the farmers. I think that’s what they mean whey they say they want to “Humanize consumption through technology”.

I drink a lot of coffee and I’d love to thank the farmers and leave them a tip for fuelling me to write this article you know. Consumers are increasingly looking for more ways to make more sustainable and conscious choices about their lifestyle, and Farmer Connect could someday give us that opportunity.

Trinsic

In a gold rush, either you can mine for gold or you can sell pickaxes to people who want to mine for gold. Trinsic is the type of company that provides sells you the pickaxes so that you can go mining.

Trinsic has 2 products -

A mobile app (Android/IOS) that lets you carry around your digital credentials with you.

A dev portal that lets corporations issue and verify credentials as well as onboard other organisations into the Sovrin network. What I really like about their product, as opposed to some of their competitors is that they let you try out their API for free. You can download their app and you could start producing your own credentials in 5 minutes! They’ve got a cool demo of Getting essential workers back to work. As SSI usage becomes more mainstream, Trinsic is definitely someone to look out for!

Fetch.ai

If you thought everything you’ve read so far is cool, wait till you hear this one! As indicated on their name, this involves AI! They provide autonomous agents that can talk to each other and negotiate on your behalf so that you can live your life on bliss. Check out their use cases — they can provide agents on your behalf that can sign contracts with others so that you don’t have to worry about a thing! Imagine that you have dynamic congestion charges and your car automatically takes you to your destination based on your criteria (Such as time or cost) without you having to do something. What’s cool is that they have dev tools so that you can start building your own agents and start solving your own use cases.

Well, there you have it. At the time of this writing, very few people know about Digital Identity and the benefits that society will get with more widespread adoption. I’m hoping that in 10 years’ time, this article will be framed in a museum where people will reminisce about the way the world used to be, the same way we reminisce when we see a Nokia 3310 phone.

Note: The article contains information taken from different companies’ websites. This may change at a later time and I’ll try my best to keep the information up to date.