By: Jerry Cuomo, IBM Fellow, Vice President Blockchain Technologies, IBM Cloud
and Greg Wolfond, CEO, SecureKey


You know who you are.

We’re not trying to make any existentialist statements here – we’re being pragmatic. You have a defined set of attributes and assets that are completely unique. Your life is unique. You are recognizable.

So why is it, in an age when we can have conversations with friends in China or send photos to family in Argentina in a matter of seconds, does it take so long to verify our unique identities online, in person and over the phone? Shouldn’t our digital selves be a true reflection of our in-person lives? Our digital selves are just as unique; the attributes are the same, the assets are the same – why isn’t the ability to validate our digital selves the same?

Recently, IBM, SecureKey and Canada’s leading banks announced a new partnership to address this problem. Together, we’re building a digital identity ecosystem that allows you to share yourattributes and validate your identity online with complete privacy, security and trust. We are helping our digital and in person selves become one and the same. The network being created is built upon Hyperledger Fabric, a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation. It will be an attribute sharing network, where you have complete control of who sees your digital information, how much, when, where and why companies see it. No more waiting to prove you are who you say you are.

The new opt-in service allows you to share information with companies to do anything from opening accounts, to paying bills, to filing taxes, to renting apartments.  It will launch on a mobile app, meaning the power to prove your identity for whatever service you need, whenever you need it, will be a simple tap away.

Life is busy. We often don’t have time to go through the lengthy processes required to validate our identities online, in person and over the phone. In this great age of digital technology, why are we wasting time proving what we already know If you’re planning to go on a trip, for example, you can easily prove who you are to book flights, tell your credit card company you’ll be out of the country, organize travel insurance, set up a temporary phone, buy a new bathing suit, have suitcases delivered, order a car, and rent an apartment – all through this new service, in a matter of minutes. We’re helping to give you more control over your digital identity and giving you more time to enjoy life.

This new service is an incredibly convenient one, and it also delivers absolute privacy and security. No organization that participates in the service will be able to see your personal information, unless you have given them that right – ever. This triple-blind benefit is made possible through distributed ledger technology. Thanks to the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric (distributed ledger platform) and IBM Blockchain, a new high security business network, SecureKey and partners can build this new system to protect you from prying eyes. You will only ever be asked to share exactly the information needed to complete a transaction, and only the organization you choose to share that information with can see it.

Your personal digital information will no longer be stored in vulnerable “honeypots” that malicious parties can access. Blockchain’s distributed ledger technology means that your information is accessible privately from a myriad of trusted sources, preventing any central points of failure to keep your information perpetually private.

This system is close to becoming a reality. A host of trusted companies like banks, government services and telcos, are already on board and committed to help you prove your identity safely and with trust. SecureKey and IBM are both participating and speaking at the upcoming K(NO)W Identity Conference in Washington, DC. Alongside our peers in the identity space, we hope you can join us in exploring the future of digital identity. Joined by Chuck Hounsell, SVP Payments, TD Bank, we will discuss how trusted digital identity networks are creating a path for a safer, more private and frictionless digital world.

You know who you are. We believe it’s time organizations start letting you control your unique identity online.