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What is Identity Creation?

Establishing trusted credentials that can be used in future transactions

Formally

An authoritative process demarcating a particular attribute or set of attributes of an individual, entity, or thing, such that the attribute(s) can be used in future transactions to demonstrate the existence and uniqueness of that individual, entity, or thing.

Simply put

Who are you?

Status quo creation processes

For most individuals in the world, the most basic form of identity creation takes place in the form of government birth registration. For example, in the U.S., birth registration catalogues several attributes – name, gender, date and location of birth, and citizenship – that are fundamental to identity-related transactions throughout a person’s lifetime. Governments may also mandate other identity creation processes, such as the creation of a national identification number to access benefits or pay taxes, a motor vehicle licensing authority that can create attributes such as the type of driver’s license or license restrictions.

Non-governmental institutions frequently initiate identity creation processes for individuals as well. For example, a university will create attributes about a student such as degree type, major, and date of degree completion.

It is important to note that many use cases of creation simply create a unique identifier within a system, without consideration for verifying any attributes, or even ensuring an underlying uniqueness of that individual. For example, an email provider will create a new account simply by ensuring that the username is a unique identifier in its namespace.

For entities such as companies, articles of incorporation or company registration numbers provide similar authoritative acknowledgement of a firm’s existence and uniqueness.

Things also undergo an identity creation process. For example, mobile handsets are assigned a unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), while automobiles receive Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs).

The problem with the status quo

It is estimated that 1.1 billion people globally currently lack an officially recognized identity. In the absence of reliable government infrastructure to register people born or companies formed within a country’s borders, often there is a void for other mechanisms of identity creation. Part of this issue lies in a lack of alternative trusted or authoritative institutions for cataloguing new people or entities. However, even for those whose identities are created through formal channels, legacy systems often involve maintaining physical copies of core documents. These include birth certificates, national ID cards, or business registration certificates, and all of them can be prone to loss, theft, forgery, or even degradation from the elements (humidity, water damage, etc.).

Ensuring uniqueness at the time of identity creation remains a challenge within many systems. For example, birth registries of individuals rely on manual processes to ensure that a child is only enrolled once. While biometric collection is increasingly used on adults to ensure uniqueness in many systems, there is not yet a clear consensus on whether it is feasible to recognize newborns and infants using biometrics, and if biometric recognition is indeed feasible, which modality is best suited.

Similarly, there are vast opportunities for fraud or corruption. Black market assets can be made without industry accepted attributes — for example, “ghost guns,” firearms that have fake serial numbers, to track. So-called “diploma mills,” or fake universities, can churn out fake attributes claiming certifications of academic achievement without that person ever completing the relevant coursework. making them difficult for law enforcement

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