At Moonlight, we believe Digital Identity will become progressively important in the years to come and it will create extensive technological transformations across various industries. This blog post is part of an ongoing series called “Identity Initiatives Around the World” where we will talk about the problems, the proposed actions, and the possibilities to come in this rapidly developing field. With this endeavor, we aim to bring you information about the digital identity ecosystem.

What is Digital Identity?

Countries around the globe are proactively working on innovative identity initiatives. There are a few of them that have defined what Digital Identity consists of. Let’s take a look at the some of these simplified definitions:

  • As per Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency, a Digital Identity is created online using personal identity documents, without the need to visit a government office. A digital identity can be used over and over again to securely access a range of services. In the digital identity ecosystem, a digital service is a public-facing, online system that requires those using it to prove who they are.
  • The Government of the United Kingdom defines it as information used by computer systems to represent a unique person, organisation, application or device. So for a citizen or consumer, a “digital identity” is a trusted way of proving one or more attributes about themselves online or offline and the linkage of those attributes to that same person as a uniquely identifiable individual.

Why is Digital Identity important?

When it comes to e-communication, it is crucial to know who you are involved with in public, as well as in the private sector. Digital Identity can assist us in establishing a state of equilibrium between trust, security & privacy which will create a secure environment for interactions & transactions when it comes to individuals and organizations. It can also help us overcome the inefficiencies of traditional identity systems which rely heavily on physical documents and in-person interactions.

"Identity is now at an inflection point; physical identity systems are breaking down and digital systems are emerging in response." - World Economic Forum (A Blueprint for Digital Identity)

Needs and problems:

  • As per the World Bank, more than 1.1 billion people in the world are unable to prove their identity and therefore lack access to vital services including healthcare, social protection, education and finance. Digital Identity infrastructure can make these facilities accessible.
  • According to McKinsey’s Digital Identification 2019 Report, Digital ID also unlocks new opportunity for the 3.4 billion individuals who have some form of high-assurance ID but limited ability to use it in the digital world. Moving from purely physical ID to digital ID programs could enable these users to take advantage of the efficiency and inclusion benefits that digital interactions offer.
  • 65 percent of data breach incidents involved identity theft as per Gemalto, one of the world leaders in digital security. According to Javelin’s 2018 Identity Fraud Report, identity fraud victims in the U.S. increased by 8% rising to 16.7 Million in 2017 and fraudsters stole more than $16.8 Billion from U.S. consumers. A study from Juniper Research in 2016 found that the value of online fraudulent transactions is expected to reach $25.6 billion by 2020. Proper identity infrastructure can help us in mitigating these frauds effectively and protect consumers & enterprises.

The Future of Digital Identity

Possibilities are numerous and it's likely Digital Identity infrastructure and applications will have a multi-sector impact globally. It will bring pivotal transformations within most industries in our world today which will result in helping billions of people around the globe, governments, and a broad range of institutions in tackling dozens of crucial issues like banking, healthcare, education, inequality, poverty, and other multifaceted challenges.

"Identity will be the most valuable commodity for citizens in the future, and it will exist primarily online."
― Eric Schmidt, Former Google CEO (The New Digital Age)

In the next blog post, we will cover 5 different identity initiatives that are being worked on in North America.