A blockchain project says it is giving users full control over their identities as well as their personal and professional connections — and believes its technology has the potential to revolutionize countless industries.
Internet of People (IOP) describes current online identity standards as a mess. Although the web is perceived to be a place where anonymity thrives, the project claims it is “virtually impossible to perform any action online with true privacy.” To compound the problem, the process of verifying one’s identity can be complicated — with power resting in the hands of centralized providers.
The project intends to upend the status quo through an independent ecosystem of open protocols and decentralized tools that embrace the latest cryptographic technology, enabling any user to present verifiable claims without the need to go through a third party. As well as offering a superior solution to current internet users, IOP believes this could deliver proof of identity to billions of people who are currently underserved by financial systems, businesses and government agencies.
IOP also believes that this approach could have substantial benefits for businesses amid growing concerns about data storage and increasingly stringent regulations. According to the project, one of its aims involves enabling companies to connect directly with their target audience without harvesting unnecessary data, thereby reducing costs and eliminating the risks associated with security breaches and regulatory infractions.
Mending a broken system
According to IOP, the current systems used to verify claims online are vastly inferior to those relied upon in the offline world. While it is easy to prove that you are over 18 in a store by presenting an identity card — or a passport at an airport — the project claims that this verification process has yet to be effectively replicated online.
IOP’s technology enables users to create a collection of identifiers that are cryptographically secure and based on fundamentals already set out by the World Wide Web Consortium (otherwise known as W3C). The project says personal data never ends up touching its blockchain — instead, users build their own portfolio of claims that can then be selectively disclosed to the parties that need it. Information leaks are prevented by fully private peer-to-peer communication, user data is encrypted, and two-way authentication is enforced so both parties can be confident that they are communicating with the right person or institution.
Use cases for IOP are already in the works, including an educational network that links academic institutions and learners so they can exchange verified credentials and educational materials.
Digitally verifiable claims
Through IOP’s approach, there are three types of users: issuers, holders and inspectors/verifiers. Let’s imagine that a user needs to prove something in a job application — like that they have a law degree from Harvard University. The user can request that the “issuer,” a trusted party that could present documentation to show this is true, issues a claim on their behalf. This documentation can then be presented by the holder (the person who has the degree) to the inspector/verifier (the person or organization that has requested the information).
Another unique element of IOP is how users can have different personas: one for interacting with their loved ones, another for their professional work and even one for dating. These personas are cryptographically linked, and users can switch between them with ease — all without a third party discovering the underlying connection between them.
An initial exchange offering (IEO) for Hydra, the utility token that serves as a payment method within the IOP ecosystem, begins on crypto exchange Latoken on Oct. 1. The IEO will conclude on Nov. 10, when token distribution will begin. Trading will then commence on Nov. 20, paving the way for the technology to be rolled out in phases the following year.
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