Enhancing Resident and Business Relationships with Digital Verifiable Credentials

Enhancing Resident and Business Relationships with Digital Verifiable Credentials – A GCOM Webinar Recap

Earlier this month, Sarah Samis, VP Product, and Ivan Jackson, Sr. Product Consultant from GCOM, led an engaging webinar in partnership with Carahsoft. The webinar, titled “Enhancing Resident and Business Relationships with Digital Verifiable Credentials,” explored a topic that is gaining significant traction in today’s digital world. As technology continues to shape government operations, state governments face the challenge of modernizing their digital interactions with residents. In the quest for simplicity and transparency, digital verifiable credentials have emerged as a crucial strategy in the realm of digital transformation. In this article, we’ll delve into key insights and highlights from the webinar.

What are Verifiable Credentials? 

Digital verifiable credentials are like your digital versions of licenses, certificates, and permits. They provide information about the individual or business they are issued to. What sets them apart is their high level of security, achieved through advanced cryptographic techniques and modern digital technology. This ensures that they are incredibly difficult to replicate or forge, making them far more secure than simply having a picture of a paper certificate on your phone.

The digital revolution has not only changed the way we live but also how we think about identity. In the past, we were advised to keep personal identifiers like Social Security numbers confidential and protected. However, with the rise of digital platforms, these identifiers have been shared and stored in various online forms and databases, leaving individuals with less control over their personal information.

To tackle this challenge, verifiable credentials have emerged as a solution. These credentials act as a digital signature for specific data, granting ownership to the individual and enabling them to give consent on its behalf. This empowers individuals by increasing both ownership and control over their personal information. With verifiable credentials, individuals can regain agency in an increasingly digital world.

The Triangle of Trust

Verifiable credentials operate through a “triangle of trust” involving issuers, residents, and verifiers. It all starts with issuers, like departments of motor vehicles or school systems, who create a record on a distributed ledger using a decentralized identifier. They not only provide the data but also sign a copy of it, turning the recipient into the owner of a verifiable credential.

The recipient can then present this credential to a verifier, who verifies the data by checking the signature against the distributed ledger. This decentralized identity system protects privacy, eliminates centralized data storage, and encourages direct interactions between issuers and verifiers.

To ensure consistency and compatibility within this ecosystem, organizations like the ISO and W3C play a significant role. ISO standards, such as those for mobile driver’s licenses, are tailored to specific use cases. On the other hand, W3C’s verifiable credentials are designed to be applicable across different sectors, allowing for flexible and efficient data sharing.

Todays’ Implementation: Credential Standards

Integrating verifiable credentials into enterprise systems is a simple process that primarily involves storing decentralized identifiers for each credential. The system is designed to be lightweight and flexible, which helps minimize administrative burdens and technical complexities. By placing the holder at the heart of the ecosystem, this approach streamlines the integration process across different enterprise systems, making it easier to implement and manage.

Conclusion

The purpose of verifiable credentials is to safeguard user privacy by creating a trustworthy environment where reliance on systems is minimized and faith in individuals is heightened. This approach enables a more streamlined verification process, eliminating the need for repetitive verification of the same information. By combining credentials and reducing the costs associated with identity verification, verifiable credentials have the potential to greatly simplify various procedures like banking and credit applications.

In summary, digital verifiable credentials represent a significant advancement in the ongoing digital transformation journey. GCOM’s decentralized identity solution empowers individuals, enhances security, and streamlines processes, paving the way for a more efficient and transparent digital experience between residents and state governments.

-GCOM Leadership Team