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An Identity Crisis

To reveal or not to reveal, that is the question.


In today’s world, the need to use personal data is increasing in frequency as this information is necessary to process transactions in our daily lives. For example, let's look at the future of autonomous cars. In my opinion, there is only one way for the adoption of autonomous driving and that is if ALL cars become autonomous or at least have the ability to communicate with each other. This would then allow for a homogeneous ecosystem of driving, a reduction in accidents, and dramatically improve traffic issues. In order for vehicles to communicate with each other, they would need to have an identity. Generic at first, this identity would need to expand exponentially as more and more regulations and functions would be rolled out requiring more data about the user in order to operate in the most efficient way.


Let’s take that idea and apply it to the financial markets. Increased regulatory policies, as they relate to basic financial market functions, are demanding to know more about us. For example, the function of MiFID 2’s “Passport” requires the ability to collect and maintain granular information about the person executing a trade such as their date of birth, geographical location, whether or not their intent is to trade as a speculator or as a significant financial entity, and so on…


This conflicts dramatically with the sensitivities to data sharing expressed in the latest events surrounding Facebook, but mainly around regulations such as GDPR and similar identity protection mechanisms being implemented around the world. How do we provide enough information about an identity (whether personal or machine identity) and maintain the ownership of it as the user or the approved custodian of the user's data? The answer is a combination of existing technology and DLT/Smart Contract technology.


The best analogy for the solution I am proposing is a shapeshifter. Yes, I am a sci-fi geek and if I could mimic the X-Men character Mystique’s abilities in a technological form, I could standardize the ability to communicate with my human form and provide the right data at the right time without fear of exposing the detailed version of its original form (me).


Aspiring shapeshifters unite!



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