What are Verifiable Credentials?

And how can they help you create a private, tamper-proof credential that can be verified anywhere at any time?

A Crucial part of Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI)

A Digital Identity Card

In the physical world, we have ID documents that evolved through the years to become harder and harder to replicate, copy or tamper with. These documents however have yet to be modeled on the digital world. Until recently there wasn’t really a way to create a digital credential that could be as safe and trustworthy as a normal, physical government-issued ID card (or an equivalent document).

We now have access to technology that will create a new kind of digital asset that is private, tamper-proof, readily verifiable anywhere and, of course, portable.

Verifiable Credentials were first conceptualized and developed by the W3C

“Verifiable credentials represent statements made by an issuer in a tamper-evident and privacy-respecting manner.” – W3C (source)​

Verifiable Credentials VS Physical IDs

There are many different types of physical IDs worldwide used to identify individuals for different purposes. There are government-issued ID cards or driver’s licenses, there are social security cards, insurance cards, university/school IDs, or even a simple retail store customer ID card.

These are the types of documents we are used to, but as you know it’s not a sustainable or practical way of creating a credential – with technology we now have access to, it doesn’t make sense anymore to have all these physical documents that are seriously flawed.

With this technology, anyone can create a DID (decentralized Identifier) and digitally sign it, and issue it for a person to claim as their own credential.

 

 

 

What is a DID - Decentralized Identifier

 

DID, or Decentralized Identifiers are a new type of identifier that enables a verifiable, decentralized and digital identity (W3 – abstract). The DID refers to an individual and it is an isolated model that can be applied to any service. In this case, we’ll show you how DIDs work with Verifiable Credentials.

How do DIDs relate to Verifiable Credentials

Think of DIDs like your IP address , a digital unique number that is an address to your computer only, as a digital fingerprint. If on this metaphor the DID is the IP, emails are the Verifiable Credentials. 

Every computer has its own IP address and they are able to communicate with each other via email. The only difference is that for DIDs and VCs they have a secure connection and exchange data within a decentralized network which enables verification anywhere, at any time.

What is SSI - Self Sovereign Identity

 

“the concept at the very heart of SSI is verifiable credentials” – from Self-Sovereign Identity by Alex Preukschat and Drummond Reed, 2021

 

SSI and Decentralized Identities

This concept of digital identity is applied in a decentralized network, which allows users to manage and own their digital identities. No need for an institution or any third party to manage or store your data, that’s the beauty of decentralized networks, this brings the control and power over Digital Identity to their owners, and verification to anyone who needs to verify it. 

Of course, the only way to actually access and verify your identity, is with your permission.

Verifiable Credentials will enhance business processes which require documentation exchange both for enterprises as for individuals.

Guido Santos – Co-Founder genesis.studio

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