Blockchain, Digital Identity

Napier University – Blockchain Cloud Identity pioneer

Napier University is collaborating with Blockpass to pioneer the future of trusted Blockchain Identities.

Professor Bill Buchanan is well renowned across Scotland for his visionary blockchain expertise, and he’s not alone, indeed Napier University is demonstrating how effectively they have a handle on the latest, cutting edge developments powering the tech sector.

Liam Bell is the Research Fellow leading the ‘Blockpass Identity Lab‘, a £600k collaboration with Hong Kong based Blockpass, intended to ‘explore ways in which blockchain technology can protect personal data from online scammers and hackers.’

Blockchain Cloud Identity

This is a massive, massive growth opportunity for Scotland. In terms of identifying the hot tech growth sectors, one of the most powerful techniques is to define the intersection between individual trends, in this case the blockchain, digital identity and the Cloud.

For example Blockstack offers this proposed definition of Blockchain Identity:

A blockchain identity (or blockchain ID) is a generic term used to refer to any identity on the blockchain. Users can have one blockchain identity or many and can register them just like one would register domain names or accounts on Facebook or Twitter.

BraveNewCoin writes about the ‘Blockchain Cloud’, exploring further integration between the blockchain and the computing infrastructure of the Internet. Cloud providers like Microsoft offer ‘BaaS’ – Blockchain as a Service.

Foundations for Digital Transformation

The best way to think about this type of technology is that it plays a keystone role for all aspects of the digital economy. It’s not a point solution to one specific scenario, for example Bitcoin leverages the blockchain to facilitate a secure digital currency, but it’s only one of a myriad of potential applications.

The critical role of Identity is easy to quantify – Government programs like Gov.UK Verify are the early steps to better join up government systems via Identity as the common mechanism, so that access to online government services is much smoother and quicker, but again that’s only one small step (on a journey towards Self-Sovereign Identity).

Microsoft also wants to leverage the blockchain to secure your identity, and VentureBeat writes about how empowering users with control over their own data is another killer blockchain scenario.

Digital Economy Infrastructure

Another key perspective is to consider the technology as a wholesale ‘upgrade’ to the Internet itself, such that these powerful features are built right into it, in the same way HTTP is the common protocol for sharing web information.

For example as Namecoin describes the DNS is the current backbone identity system, it translates domain names into IP addresses. It works very effectively but it’s really quite an old technology and thus is ideal for this type of upgrade. In this article they highlight many benefits including those for democracy:

Censorship-Resistance

With standard DNS, the digital phonebook can falsely claim “there’s no website here”; this is what SOPA would have mandated in the U.S. Dot-Bit cannot easily be censored, for the same reasons that no one can easily prevent you from spending bitcoins.

Blockpass

Blockpass offers user apps, on platforms like IOS and Android, that secures identity at that device level through fingerprint scanning et al, creating a verified ID that can then be used (and trusted) across this new Blockchain-based digital service ecosystem.

Read about the details in their white paper.

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