EIC2018 – Blockchains and digital identity are interdependent

The European Identity Conference 2018 took place in Munich from 15 to 18 May. At the EIC2018, various aspects of digital identity were discussed. The main topics were the possibilities of blockchain technology and the implications of the DSGVO.

Blockchain technology and digital identity are two strongly overlapping topics. Almost everywhere in the modern world it is about the digital identity of the individual. It doesn’t matter whether it is about digital property, data ownership, privacy or KYC regulations of crypto exchanges. As shown on May 15th regarding the Blockchein ID Innovation Night, the Blockchain is a topic for Identity Access Management and digital rights. Accordingly, this was also a central topic at the European Identity Conference 2018.

The European Identity Conference or EIC2018 for short is organized by KuppingerCole. KuppingerCole, a consulting and analysis company with a focus on identity that has existed since 2004, has been hosting this conference since 2007.

Is Identity 4.0 coming soon?

Identity is a very important topic: Especially when talking about possible future developments, about the possibilities of artificial intelligence, big data or about the implications of a networked world, one cannot only talk about the positive aspects. In a larger panel discussion on Thursday, a speaker drew a parallel to book printing.

Gutenberg’s invention helped people in Europe to make a great leap forward, but it also played a major role in the Thirty Years’ War. Similar developments can now be seen: As much as the digital world unites us and provides access to information for everyone, Web 2.0 also marked the beginning of a renaissance of hate speech and fake news.

What is missing from digital identity? Identity!

Such things, or the increasing surveillance that is taking place thanks to artificial intelligence and facial recognition, have led some people to fundamentally reject these technologies. History shows, however, that machine breakers have never won the day. Moreover, modern technologies are not bad per se: in India, 3,000 families have been reunited thanks to controversial facial recognition.

So the solution can only be to develop these technologies responsibly. One aspect of this responsibility has to do with data ownership. One’s own digital identity must be one’s own property. And this requires both the creation of technologies and the establishment of a regulatory framework.

In an opening keynote, Martin Kuppiner, one of the founders of KuppingerCole, addressed the difficulties of using blockchain technology in the context of digital identity. He began with the history of digital identity from the first mainframe computers to the present day. He pointed out that over time more and more stakeholders became involved, so that now everything can at least be connected in principle by open standards. With the emergence of different types of identity (customers/partners/companies, even things), it has become increasingly difficult over time to really concretize the identity of the individual. We all have to create a new account for each web service to give an example of this problem. In summary, we can say with Mr Kuppinger:

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