NFTs as a way to verify your identity.
In this article, I go through how I believe NFTs can be implemented in real life use cases, and I focus on ID verification. Read below.
I’ve noticed that there are a lot of articles and tweets out there talking about the limitless possibilities that NFTs have and I preach this too, but, there are a scarce amount of resources that go into detail about some of the possibilities. So, I wanted to go deeper into a topic that I find really fascinating, real-life verification associated with NFTs while focusing on some examples and putting them in a hypothetical situation. It’s also important to note that the technology behind the current NFT ecosystem is still new and is something that needs to be built upon.
Identity verification is a procedure to ensure that there is a real person behind a specific process and to confirm they are the person they claim to be. This keeps a system in place and prevents criminals from claiming to be someone else. You can prove your identity with passports, a drivers license and many other legal documents depending on where you are located.
However, this system isn’t impenetrable, it’s possible to forge an identity. Now, this is where NFTs come into play. How do you stop this problem? Why do you need to replace them with NFTs? Well, especially in a digitally-native world, I believe that NFTs will be a crucial part of identity verification and using physical documents is an old concept. Digitally distinguish the provenance without needing both parties involved to even hold a document. I’ll speak more below on how this problem is avoided if you use NFTs to back up these documents and why they can “replace” our current system.
“An NFT (non-fungible token) is a way to prove ownership of an asset, both digital & physical — an asset could be anything ranging from art, virtual items, music, etc. It proves ownership of an asset by utilising the blockchain; a public, permanent and immutable ledger which contains all transactions that occur between parties. This allows anyone to view the current owner of an NFT as well as all previous owners. Think of a ledger as a book that cannot be erased and it holds every detail of a specific transaction on it.” — Beginners Guide: Crypto Art and NFTs!
A core concept of a blockchain is decentralisation. Blockchains do not need a centralised figure to control the network, the data on a blockchain is stored on computers and systems split all across the world, this stops hackers from trying to breach it. A trustless system.
The ideal procedure to check the identity of someone through an NFT would be to read the blockchain. Every singular NFT would hold the data for a specific form of verification — name, birth date, address, etc. Everyone has an “id” associated with them and they can sign that document with their id. A rough example right now is being the owner of a specific address and signing messages through TXs on the blockchain (see here) to prove you are the owner. And, it would be impossible for a “fake id” to be “added” onto a blockchain so you don’t have the problem of a fake identity being created.
To add onto this point, the data does not have to be on-chain on the Ethereum blockchain. The NFT would act as an “access key” to prove you own an “ID”.
NFTs were inevitably going to be created. Digital provenance on the best system, which shall still be built on. Take art, gaming and collectibles out of your head for a second when thinking about NFTs and replace them with the word provenance.
Now, this article is just a question to everyone reading. How do you see NFTs play a part in this? — What’s your ideal situation for NFTs to replace our current identity verification system? Do let me know and make sure to follow my Twitter as I will be exploring this even further as time goes on.