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Disposable Identities? Why Digital Identity Matters to Blockchain Disintermediation and for Society

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Disintermediation Economics


Many smart contract applications—or more precisely blockchain-based digital ledger technologies (DLTs) proliferate. And yet, without accounting for the identity dimension and the different authentication regimes, there is little chance that these technologies will gain widespread use, and their disruptive innovation potential will not be realized. A growing number of digital interactions in which we engage online require more trust and more security; choosing the right identity technologies and data policy safeguards is an important policy choice. Digital wallets are part of our proposed solution: based on disposable identities tied to events and timelines. We explain why identity technologies matter. We describe the communication network architectures and functionalities. We show how EU Treaty legislation safeguards the important elements of this identity framework. We give examples of self-sovereign identity, and other solutions adopted by EU Member States. We conclude that successful deployment requires an EU legislative and regulatory framework fit for the digital society. The digital identity problem starts from the perspective of serving half a billion individual citizens, and inclusion requires public policy that strongly supports it.

Personal views hereby presented are the authors’ only, and should not in any way be construed as to represent an official position of the European Commission.

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Anania, L., Le Gars, G., van Kranenburg, R. (2021). Disposable Identities? Why Digital Identity Matters to Blockchain Disintermediation and for Society. In: Kaili, E., Psarrakis, D. (eds) Disintermediation Economics. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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