What is Blockchain Verification & Validation?
Modern network infrastructure is turning towards decentralized models of record keeping. Authentication and identity management are no different.
What is blockchain verification? Blockchain verification uses private blockchain technology to store and verify identity credentials.
What Is a Blockchain?
A blockchain is a relatively new ledger and database technology invented to support decentralized information management. Initially conceived by Satoshi Nakamoto in their Bitcoin whitepaper, the blockchain serves as a solution to two specific problems–one, to avoid record duplication in the ledger, and two, to provide a decentralized mechanism for verification modeled on peer-to-peer transactions.
While the internal workings of a blockchain can get quite complex, the simple application of any blockchain is in contexts where users or organizations want decentralized records management. Users collectively provide resources to verify credentials and other information via built-in cryptographic standards. At the same time, they get to retain their information without relying on monolithic databases.
Several blockchain types serve this purpose, all of which fit into different contexts. These blockchains include:
- Public: Public blockchains are (obviously) public ledgers in which any user may participate in transaction verification and (if the blockchain supports it) information exchange. Centralized organizations do not maintain these blockchains, although an organization may participate as users. Common examples of public blockchains include most cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum.
The advantages of public blockchains are that they are open and trustable because no one can alter records independently. Conversely, they tend to be inefficient in terms of energy consumption and performance, and they don’t scale as well as their private counterparts.
- Private: Private blockchains adopt the decentralized approach of the blockchain on a smaller scale, typically within an organization or application. It still relies on peer-to-peer transactions and decentralized data management, but there are often additional controls in place managed by a central authority.
While not as free or transparent as their public counterparts, private blockchains are typically scalable, secure, and fast.
- Consortium: Consortium blockchains are a collection of blockchain systems owned by private interests used to streamline information sharing and workflows.
- Hybrid: A combination of public and private systems where an organization (or group of organizations) may segregate private blockchain data internally while sharing public data on a public blockchain system.
Additionally, two significant access categories may apply across different blockchain types:
- Permissionless: Permissionless blockchains allow any and all users to join and participate in the network without centralized control. Almost all public blockchains are permissionless, but it is possible to have permissioned, public systems.
- Permissioned: These blockchains are those where users must follow specific rules and regulations to participate. This participation is almost always predicated on the authority of a central organization or consortium.
These categories are not exclusive to a blockchain type, but more often than not, a public blockchain will be permissionless while private chains are permissioned.
How Does the Blockchain Support Identity Verification?
Traditionally, authentication and identity verification work through a series of applications and databases–a centralized store of user information and credentials.
This presents a few problems:
- Honeypots: Singular databases are known as “honeypots,” or attractive targets for hackers. If an identity database is compromised, then every user’s identity is threatened–including any connected information throughout that system.
- Ownership: Individual users do not own or manage databases… large companies do. As such, it’s increasingly difficult for users to disentangle their personal information from large companies that store it. Blockchain schemes allow users to manage their own information within a blockchain system without relying on a major company.
- Internet of Things (IoT) and Distributed Devices: The increasing adoption of smart devices and Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) work models makes centralized authentication and verification challenges. A blockchain authentication model can help make these networks more scalable and secure.
A blockchain can address these issues through decentralized management and user-focused participation.
Benefits of Digital Identity and Blockchain Verification
Because blockchains address questions of security, distribution, and scalability, they bring significant benefits to organizations that adopt them.
Some of these benefits include:
- Self-Sovereignty: A major strength of the blockchain is that users own their own data on their devices. Rather than rely on large databases, the system can authenticate user credentials against those stored locally on a user’s device.
We often lose sight of the importance of data ownership, and blockchain verification can go a long way in foregrounding self-sovereign identity management.
- Transparency: Blockchains are essentially transparent–that is, anyone participating on the chain has access to information relevant to the chain. Likewise, these records are under the user’s control, which means they know exactly what information is on the network and, if necessary, correct or remove it.
- Portability: Modern security standards emphasize data portability, or the capacity to move data from one location or system to another. With blockchain verification, it becomes much easier to move information between compliant systems without having to have, for example, multiple accounts or worry about data format and compatibility.
- Security: Additionally, such portability will strengthen the security around modern authentication approaches like federated identity management and Single Sign-On (SSO) schemes. Rather than having shared databases and complex APIs, blockchains could make moving between participating systems much easier–all while providing more control over what data is and is not exposed.
- Decentralized Key Management: A major issue in security and cryptography is key management, or the secure sharing of decryption keys so that users can keep their data obfuscated without impacting their usability or compromising overall security. A blockchain can provide a resilient form of key management that doesn’t present singular points of failure.
Relying on Secure, Decentralized Identity Verification with 1Kosmos
Blockchain technology is quickly becoming a staple of enterprise record keeping, which is very apparent in authentication and identity verification. Private blockchains are helping support companies manage distributed users worldwide in a scalable and safe way, putting ownership of private data back in the hands of end users.
With 1Kosmos, you get this blockchain verification technology as part of our feature set. These features include:
- Private and Permissioned Blockchain: 1Kosmos protects personally identifiable information in a private and permissioned blockchain, encrypts digital identities, and is only accessible by the user. The distributed properties ensure no databases to breach or honeypots for hackers to target.
- Identity-Based Authentication: We push biometrics and authentication into a new “who you are” paradigm. BlockID uses biometrics to identify individuals, not devices, through credential triangulation and identity verification.
- Cloud-Native Architecture: Flexible and scalable cloud architecture makes it simple to build applications using our standard API and SDK.
- Identity Proofing: BlockID verifies identity anywhere, anytime and on any device with over 99% accuracy.
- Privacy by Design: Embedding privacy into the design of our ecosystem is a core principle of 1Kosmos. We protect personally identifiable information in a distributed identity architecture, and the encrypted data is only accessible by the user.
- SIM Binding: The BlockID application uses SMS verification, identity proofing, and SIM card authentication to create solid, robust, and secure device authentication from any employee’s phone.
- Interoperability: BlockID can readily integrate with existing infrastructure through its 50+ out-of-the-box integrations or via API/SDK.
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