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EXPLAINED: The Future is Digital Identity


A person can be properly differentiated or uniquely recognized by using a collection of one or more traits, known as an identity (ID). While the underlying nature of any identity is complex, its functional goals are to build trust, enforce responsibility, validate an individual’s identity, and serve as a standard for social, business, and legal interactions. Similarly, Digital Identity considers birth-related information, descriptive information, personal identifiers, and biometric data to determine the authenticity and allow the use of digital services.

The changing KYC landscape

With the advent of the internet and technological advancements, the old practices of KYC to authenticate the identity of an entity or individual has changed quite drastically. The manual verification process requires a lot of time and resources from people and organizations, making it a daunting task to verify the identity. For instance, as of August 2022 in India, 8,074.95 crore Aadhaar authentications have been completed, an increase from 7,855.24 crore recorded at the end of July.

To address the shortcomings of the manual KYC process and speed-up accurate authentication, digital KYC solutions or e-KYC have evolved to streamline the whole verification process. It takes only a few minutes. The digital KYC helps to reduce data breaches and identity thefts, preventing sensitive information from fraudsters. Also, automated AI-based video KYC practice is evolving to complete real-time digital authentication.

The growth of biometrics in digital identification

In creating a digital identity, biometrics plays a vital role in establishing it. Biometric identification systems provide a profile of a person’s distinctive biometric characteristics through face recognition, fingerprints, heartbeats, speech patterns, walking patterns, and hand motions. India has witnessed one of the largest biometric-based identity creation drives, and as of June 21, 2021, 99% of India’s adult population have Aadhaar cards.

Biometric security systems provide a bunch of distinctive benefits. Hence, more companies across the globe are installing biometric systems for enhanced security and easy entry and exit tracking. Due to the numerous unique advantages of biometric security systems, it is becoming easier to adopt biometrics to create digital identities. Inculcating the use of biometrics has increased accountability, security, accessibility, interoperability, and flexibility in data verification.

Securing the digital identity

Fraud and identity theft threats are increasing in the digital domain, necessitating technological advancements to provide a safe digital ecosystem. Given its inherent qualities of fostering trust and openness, as well as user control, all essential components for managing digital identities, including blockchain solutions, are rapidly being explored. Blockchain technology is designed to keep data in an encrypted, unchangeable, and secure way safeguarded by cryptography, keeping the ID safe and traceable. In addition, password protection’s weakness is eliminated by blockchain-based solutions. Blockchain gives consumers control over their identities by moving away from centralized data management. It allows users to construct their identification data for social networking and financial transactions. It helps to preserve each identity across all of the network’s nodes and constantly updates and reconciles the data, even if it is dispersed over peer-to-peer networks. Additionally, because there is no single point of failure in the blockchain network, it is challenging for hackers to compromise the data set’s integrity.


Digital identity presents the prospect of culminating in various fragmented identities attributed to individuals or entities by governments, banks, social media, etc.  The future of our personal and professional life will undoubtedly depend heavily on digital identification as the technology and social landscape change. Secure identification services are made possible by emerging technologies like blockchain, biometrics, and artificial intelligence. There has also been an increase in the fintech players who are helping to provide seamless identity checks and have evolved service delivery for governments and for corporates to run quick identity authentication of its employees.


(The author is Mr. Vamsi Kotte, CEO, Syntizen Technologies and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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