Deloitte UK is working on a 'Smart Identity' blockchain prototype enabling users to create a set of federated digital credentials for a range of applications, from access management to customer verification.
The Deloitte blockchain team unveiled the proof-of-concept at a conference in New York, where the global consultancy also previewed its work five prominent blockchain companies - BlockCypher, Bloq, ConsenSys, Loyyal (formerly known as Ribbit.me) and the Stellar Development Foundation - to provide new technological capabilities to its global financial institution clientbase.
Deloitte is developing 20 blockchain-related prototypes that cover a multitude of uses such as digital identity, digital banking, cross-border payments, and loyalty and rewards, as well as in the investment management and insurance sectors.
The UK arm of the consultancy says the Smart Identity prototype will enable users to create and control all aspects of their digital identity within a highly structured and accessible environment. The firm is calling for a global collaborative effort to work towards standardised identity protocols.
Stephen Marshall, head of financial services technology at Deloitte UK, says: “The Smart Identity solution will take the first step in evolving digital identity from a disparate record-set into an empowered and verifiable digital entity. However, it is early stages and there are many obstacles that must be overcome before we see a standardised identity solution in place. "
He says the group is developing a number of initial applications for Smart Identity, including:
- Access management, using a single digital key to access any identity-restricted location, from website single sign-on, to physical buildings, smart vehicles and ticketed locations such as event venues or aeroplanes.
- Automated identification and verification of customers, including people, organisations, and robots, either at sign-up or on a real time transactional basis.
- Identification and tracking of assets of any form, from vehicles and property to pharmaceutical products and commodities such as oil or farming produce.
- Transactions, empowering devices or ‘Things’ to obtain and transact using recognisable and standardised identity, enabling them to manage assets and to securely interact with other devices, people, or organisations.
- Digitisation of traditional identity components such as driving licenses and passports, into a single, versatile digital record.
“Our analysis and experimentation into the capabilities and applications of blockchain technology has led us increasingly to the question of identity," says Marshall. "New distributed platforms are set to rewire our digital economy and in order to make the most of this opportunity, we must first solve the problem of digital identity."
Speaking at the same conference, Fredrik Voss, vice president of blockchain innovation at Nasdaq, called on regulatory bodies to weigh in on the requirements blockchain-backed financial systems must meet. "Regulators need to help us. There needs to be legal certainty," Voss told participants
Elsewhere in the world of blockchain, the Post-Trade Distributed Ledger (PTDL) Group, set up to explore the application distributed ledgers across the trade lifecycle, has swelled its membership to 37 institutions, representing major banks, clearing houses and exchanges.
A steering committee drawing its participants from CME Group, State Street, HSBC, UniCredit, Euroclear and London Stock Exchange Group has been formed, and three external advisors appointed - Ernst & Young, Norton Rose Fulbright, and Citigate Dewe Rogerson - to provide general consultancy, legal and regulatory input and public relations expertise respectively.
Sandra Ro, executive director, digitization lead, CME Group and organising committee member of PTDL Group said: “As with all pioneering developments, there is great excitement but also uncertainty. Through PTDL Group, we are connecting post trade practitioners, regulated exchanges, regulators and central banks on this issue to see how best it could benefit the post-trade industry. However, in order to do this effectively, we need external partners with specific specialisms, and we are delighted to be working with EY, Norton Rose Fulbright and Citigate Dewe Rogerson."