November 17, 2023

Kyle Martin



ID Insights from Digital Identity Experts, pt. 1

Welcome to the inaugural post of Truvity's expert interview series, where we delve into the rapidly evolving world of digital identity. In this quickly-growing industry, understanding and forecasting technological advancements are crucial.

To kick off our interview series, we've had the privilege of engaging with two esteemed figures in the digital identity arena: Venture builder James Monaghan and IDnext founder Robert Garskamp.

Together, these interviews offer a complimentary insights into the current state and future possibilities of digital identity technology. Whether you’re a tech enthusiast, a business owner, or simply curious about the future of digital identity, these insights from James and Robert are not to be missed.

James Monaghan

James Monaghan a seasoned venture builder, brings a wealth of experience and insight into how businesses can leverage digital identity for growth and security. His perspective on the intersection of technology and commerce offers a unique view of the potential impacts and future developments in this space. James’s experience in nurturing startups and guiding them through the digital identity landscape makes his insights invaluable, especially for emerging businesses.

Hi James, who are you, and what do you do?

I’ve spent my career bringing new technologies to market, and have been focused on digital identity for the last 11 years. Currently I’m advising a number of companies working with verifiable credentials, and incubating a couple of new ventures. When I’m not doing that, I also enjoy running marathons and making cocktails.

What is the biggest challenge in identity management and digital identity right now?

In general, identity is either seen as a necessary evil - a “grudge buy” if you will, or it is something which companies try to own, control and extract value from. Very few businesses see it as the critical enabler it can be for all of their customer, supplier and employee interactions, and this lack of understanding leads to poor user experience and data governance issues.

What emerging use cases do you see (in your industry) for more modern ways of doing digital identity? Like SSI (self-sovereign identity)

Portable, high-fidelity data is increasing trust and reducing friction and repetitive processes in all kinds of scenarios. Easier onboarding with reusable identity is saving time and money in sectors as diverse as healthcare, financial services and volunteering, and verifiable credentials are being applied to privacy-preserving age verification and paperless travel.

How do you see digital identity evolving in the coming 5 years?

With widespread adoption of verifiable credentials and the proliferation of identity wallets, we are going to encounter far fewer sign-up forms and online accounts to manage. Enlightened businesses will shift to asking for verified attestations about a user, rather than needing to know precisely who they are. And personal agents will automate much of the drudgery associated with transacting online, while at the same time ensuring that privacy is upheld and proper governance is followed.

What advice would you give to developers looking to implement self-sovereign identity technology?

Be crystal clear about the benefits which are relevant to your use case. Not every situation requires decentralisation, or composability, or cryptographic assurance, and it is a mistake to try to bring all of the potential benefits to bear in every scenario. Focus on the particular, differentiated capabilities which matter for your users, and you will likely stand a greater chance of success.

Robert Garskamp

For our next interview, Robert Garskamp, the founder of IDnext, provides a more technical and futuristic angle. As an innovator and thought leader, Robert has been at the forefront of digital identity technology. His work with IDnext highlights the potential transformations and challenges that lie ahead in managing digital identities. His expertise sheds light on the upcoming trends and the broader implications they may have on privacy, security, and user experience.

Hi Robert, who are you, and what do you do?

As an expert with over a decade of experience, I strive to share my knowledge in digital identity, security, privacy, mobility, risk management, and compliance. I collaborate with various organizations across different sectors, both public and private, offering advice and consultation on digital identity.

With the rapid pace of technological transformation, I believe it will influence and shape our society. We will be able to control our identities at the attribute level, operating within a framework that ensures both security and privacy.

I'm the also the founder of IDnext. An open and independent conference. It's more than just a project; it's a passion to support and facilitate innovative approaches in the world of digital identity. My aim with IDnext is to create awareness about the world of digital identity and provide a robust networking platform. It serves as a European centre of expertise for experts in IT, Business, and Marketing, fostering collaboration and thought leadership the space.

What is the biggest challenge in identity management and digital identity right now?

One of the biggest challenges remains the development of seamless journeys utilizing digital identity, such as fast and secure payments, for example. Organizations have begun to recognize the impact and importance of next-generation digital identity systems. However, implementation is the next step in utilizing identity verification as part of the process to access goods and services online.

What emerging use cases do you see (in your industry) for more modern ways of doing digital identity? Like SSI (self-sovereign identity)

We can’t ignore the growing importance of identity wallets – mobile apps that give users full control over the data they share with organizations. Identity wallets not only increase users' online security but also prevent fraud. I expect use cases for these wallets will appear in various sectors like, industry events, loyalty and reward programs, enhanced customer support, and personalized coupons.

How do you see digital identity evolving in the coming 5 years?

The digital identity market is growing and is expected to do so over the next five years, despite the current underutilization of digital IDs. The methods we use to prove our identities during digital transactions and interactions will become defining features in this domain. As the digital and physical worlds converge, solutions are moving us towards the promise of a single Digital ID that allows us to navigate our connected world simply, safely, and securely. Digital identity are predominantly relying on password-based systems and two-factor authentication mechanisms. However, the shift towards passwordless technologies is expected to accelerate. New structures and regulations will be needed and transactions will continue to evolve. This will force organizations to adapt. Another fascinating aspect is the integration of AI and IoT which is becoming reality and poses risks associated with such advancements.

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