What is Identity?

Beginner's guide to Identity

Identity has come a long way since Freud. These days, individuals, companies–even devices–all require an identity. And many industries, from finance to government, are all tackling the same identity issues in our digital world, like verification and security. This has turned identity into an industry in itself — one that’s often overlooked, but essential to making everything run.

Here, OWI defines identity, starting with our Identity Building Block framework, which details the fundamentals of the identity industry and the challenges it faces.


What are the Identity Building Blocks?
A framework for the five core identity uses


What is Identity Verification?
How do we prove who you are?


What is Identity Authentication?
How do we know it’s still you?


What is Identity Authorization?
What do you get once we know it’s you?


What is Identity Federation?
How can we tell other people it’s you?


What is Trust & Safety?
The fuel powering interactions in our digital economy


Who are the Identity Companies to Know?
Broken down by building blocks, platforms & enablers, and consumer applications


Who are the Most Influential People in Identity?
Innovators, business leaders, policy-makers, and investors