Foundation for Genuine Global Identities

by   Gal Shahaf, et al.

About 1Bn people around the globe are born and live without identity documents. In addition, displaced people, projected at 1Bn within a generation, often find themselves without worthy identity documentation even if they had any in their country of origin. Given that centralized, top-down identity-granting solutions are failing a large portion of the world population, a bottom-up, grassroots, decentralized solution that allows every human being to create and own a trustworthy genuine global identity is an urgent necessity. Such a bottom-up solution is worthy only if it is resilient to malicious antagonists that create fake and duplicate identities (so called sybils). Furthermore, for a solution to be truly grassroots, the people that rely on it for their global identity should also be its sovereign. Hence its governance has to be sybil-resilient as well. Here, we present a foundation for a decentralized, grassroots, bottom-up, self-sovereign process in which every human being may easily create and own a genuine global identity, realized as a public key. The solution relies on the formation of a "Web of Trust" among global identities, but does not rely on biometrics, nor does it require to store any personal information on public or even third-party storage, except for the public key itself. The approach is designed for natural realization using distributed ledger/blockchain technology. For the solution to be complete, additional components are needed, including a mechanism that encourages honest behavior and an egalitarian cryptocurrency to fuel the mechanism. These are a subject for future research.


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