IDG Contributor Network: Biometrics and blockchains: Why identity matters (part 1)

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This is the first of a three article series on identity and biometrics via blockchain technologies. In this first article, I’ll review the motivation behind using biometrics and blockchain for online identity management. In the second article, I’ll critique the capabilities and limitations of blockchain technologies. In the third and final article, I’ll discuss the requirements for a new idea – the Horcrux protocol – that will securely link your biometrics and online identity credentials via blockchain technologies.

Currently, we depend on governments to issue identity credentials in the form of specialized documents like passports, birth certificates, and driver’s licenses. These identity documents are physical representations of information kept by a central authority in protected digital storage, but they can be used independent of those centralized systems for identification. For example, you can open a bank account or travel on an airline by using only your driver’s license for identification. If lost or stolen, these documents can be used by identity thieves to wreak havoc on our lives. Replacing your documents can be an expensive, painful and arduous process. Many of us keep these documents in fire-proof safes, safe deposit boxes or similar protected containers to protect them from loss, theft or damage.

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