How Exactly Are Verifiable Credentials Making the World Better?
Technology, Cryptography, Decentralization and the Future of Web
Individuals are leaving institutions. We see new tools enabling trust in healthcare, education, finance, travel, HR, etc. We used to rely on paper-based government-issued credentials but now it’s being replaced with digital cryptographically secured identities, reputation systems and verifiable credentials.
How exactly are digital verifiable credentials making the lives of billions of people better? I have a couple of stories to share with you:
1. Meet Ajay. Ajay is an Uber driver in San Francisco. He wants to try various temporary jobs while he’s studying but joining Lyft, Postmates and other platforms requires going through a long and tedious background verification and car certification process over and over again. Instead, he can acquire digital verifiable credentials from a background check provider once and just reuse it however many times he wants with all those platforms being confident in the authenticity of the credentials.
2. Meet Ana. Ana is an online content producer and influencer. She makes more than $100,000 per year but gets paid through online marketplaces, occasionally — in cryptocurrency. She’s not employed, nor she owns the business. She wants to get a mortgage but she lacks official government-issued documents like taxation forms to prove her income. Verifiable credentials issued by the marketplace, crypto exchange or her clients can securely prove her financial situation to the bank.
3. Meet Erica. Erica wants to travel from Paris to Jakarta. She knows that she needs to bring her COVID test result in order to pass immigration but she’s not sure what types of tests are accepted, what language should those be in and which laboratory she needs to go to. She uses a digital travel app to suggest the closest lab and store verifiable credentials with her medical data. Now she only needs to take the phone with her to present those documents. In addition, she can make sure that the data is never shared with anyone without her explicit consent.
4. Meet Josh. Josh is a fresh graduate from Technische Universität Berlin and he’s looking for a data science job in startups. He applied for 10 different positions and all of those employers are asking him to complete very similar case studies. Those companies understandably want to make sure that he’s a good fit for their positions by verifying competencies, hard and soft skills. Josh acquires a number of verifiable credentials from his peers, his university, his internship company. In addition, he completes typical data science challenges and receives verifiable credential from the challenges platform with detailed definition of his score and competencies. Recruiters of each company save hours because they are presented with actionable data on the candidate and don’t need to do multiple checks.
5. Meet Pogchampus. We don’t know his real name but this is his nickname that he’s using to play and stream League of Legends, World of Warcraft and Fortnite. He’s a very competitive player with significant achievements in all of those video games but he’s reputation is tied and locked in by the developer of each individual game. There’s no way to combine all his gaming achievements into a single persistent profile until he starts using a digital reputation mechanism that is fully controlled by the user and enabled by the verifiable credentials.
6. Meet Lilya. She is a mother of two young kids and is moving to Germany with her family. Her kids need to continue their vaccination schedule but their medical records are not in German. Instead of doing manual translation she just downloads verifiable credentials of every vaccine that they’ve been administered. After moving to a new place she can forward those VCs to the local healthcare provider and it will automatically get translated and imported into their IT system.