What's a Verifiable Credential?

We use credentials every day in the physical world.  We have a driver’s license that proves we can drive a car, a passport that confirms our identity, a college degree that proves we completed a course of education, and a medical insurance card that proves we have specific health care coverage.

In all these examples, credential have been issued to us from a party we call “Issuers” (e.g., the DMV, the government, a university, or an insurance provider).  These credentials are part of our daily lives and are used to prove identity information to parties we call “Verifiers”” (e.g., the liquor store, employers, the doctor’s office, etc.). 
As more of our lives move online, translating physical credentials into the digital world is essential.  Thankfully, a new standard has been developed by the W3C called Verifiable Credentials (VCs) which allow us to translate these physical credentials to the digital world.  Dentity can help you unlock the superpowers of VCs.
VCs enable us to recreate credentials in the digital world in a way that is privacy protected, machine-verifiable, and cryptographically secure.  VCs are held by consumers, or “Holders,” in their Dentity Wallet, which is a highly secure and encrypted cloud wallet offered to consumers at no-cost.  VCs can act as digital proofs of the credentials in the physical world, and their powers offer new benefits to Issuers, Holders, and Verifiers, including:
  • Verifiable Credentials are private, and the Holder can choose what attributes of their identity they want to disclose.
  • The Holder is always in control of the relationship with Verifiers — they know what data is shared and can revoke that relationship at any time.
  • They are tamper-proof through the use of cryptography.
  • They can be verified anywhere, at any time, even if the issuer does not exist anymore.
  • They are portable and can be easily stored in a digital wallet.
  • They work in conjunction with Decentralized Identifiers or DIDs, which are a type of globally unique and persistent identifier that creates a secure connection for data exchange between parties.
Let’s use an example for illustrative purposes.  An Issuer can create a VC for their VIP customers.  That Issuer can then create a discount on their website specifically for that VIP community.  Only those who hold that credential in their wallet will be able to verify it digitally and pass through to the discounted offer.  Now, let’s say another company enters the Dentity Network as a “Verifier.”  They could begin to verify that same VIP customer credential on their website (if the Issuer allows it), which can act as a powerful customer acquisition tool for the Verifier.
In short, Verifiable Credentials are the new standard for sharing identity information online. VCs are a secure way to protect a consumer’s personal information, gives Issuers a new way to build loyalty and reward their customers, and allows Verifiers to tap into new customer segments, all using the Dentity Network.


For more resources about Verifiable Credentials visit the links below:

Verifiable Credentials

Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs)

Cloud Wallet