IBM, R3, Mastercard, and Accenture form Trust over IP Foundation
A group of private and non-profit firms including IBM, R3, Mastercard, and Accenture, have come together to create the Trust over IP (ToIP) Foundation, led by the Linux Foundation, a non-profit technology consortium.
This cross-industry coalition will work towards adopting a standard for a decentralised digital identity exchange over the internet.“The combination of open standards and protocols, pan-industry collaboration and our neutral governance structure will support this new category of digital identity and verifiable data exchange,” says Linux Foundation director, Jim Zemlin, in a statement.
To do this, the newly named ‘ToIP Foundation’ will use digital identity models which leverage interoperable digital wallets and credentials, as well as the new W3C Verifiable Credentials (VCs) standard that defines the syntax and semantics of VCs.
The eventual aim is to help all companies, consumers and governments “better manage risk, improve digital trust and protect all forms of identity online,” as noted in the statement.
Director general for the Emerging Payments Association (EPA), Tony Craddock, tells FinTech Futures it’s “blindingly obvious” that a uniform, ubiquitous means of identifying people “makes sense”.
“Where it has been successfully adopted, we’ve seen reduced friction, enhanced security, reduced fraud and improved access to the best products for everyone, without contravening privacy rights,” explains Craddock.
As many countries pilot and roll out tracing apps to keep tabs on the levels of coronavirus in their respective regions, the issue of a uniform standard for digital identity has once again been pushed to the top of many governments’ agendas.
“I bet the current [UK] government wished it had been bolder on digital identity earlier, in light of our current track and trace initiative,” says Craddock.
Whilst many countries already have government-issued electronic verification solutions (eIDs), such as Germany, Italy, Spain, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, the UK and the US are still yet to offer something akin to eIDs.
Craddock says it hasn’t happened in the UK yet because the data required to create these solutions is owned by different parties, such as banks, public institutions and even fintechs, but “nobody is prepared to share”.
“Many have tried to bring this to the top of the government agenda as it really needs to be funded centrally,” says Craddock, who points out that since the 2006 Identity Card Act failed “totally”, no government has been prepared “to grasp this nettle”.
But with a community approach led by heavy hitters such as IBM and Mastercard which have big global networks, the ToIP Foundation isn’t likely to fail as the efforts did in 2006.
The full list of steering members and participating members are as follows: Accenture, BrightHive, Cloudocracy, Continuum Loop, CULedger, DIDx, Dhiway, esatus, Evernym, Finicity, Futurewei Technologies, GLEIF, The Human Colossus Foundation, IBM Security, IdRamp, iRespond, kiva.org, Lumedic, Marist College, Mastercard, MITRE, Northern Block, the Province of British Columbia, R3, Secours.io, SICPA, TNO and University of Arkansas.