One of the use cases most commonly discussed today for Blockchain is identity verification or authentication. This could come in the form of storing bits of encrypted data on a Blockchain that would facilitate identifying individuals for any number of purposes from buying groceries to making online purchases, validating a state issued ID (like a passport or driver’s license), checking in at a hotel, passing security at an airport, or voting in an election.
The argument, as always with Blockchain, is that by having a distributed database of encrypted and validated entries, you are able to create trusted and secure transactions, avoid fraud, reduce errors, save money, and leave an indelible trace of activities.
Personally, I think that the Blockchain use case for identify verification is fantastic for voting, especially where we can quickly validate a citizen is authorized to vote while avoiding revealing how she voted.
But what about other types of transactions? One area where I am struggling with is whether consumers will be comfortable leaving immutable traces of their movements and activities on a Blockchain, even if their ID is revocable (meaning that the individual could change her passport, ID, or biometric). From a consumer-centric standpoint, one would think that a person would want to be able to remove, not just revoke, her biometric or public ID. Will consumers want the right to have their bad biometric selfies or other transactions “forgotten”?
Just because it can go into a Blockchain, doesn’t automatically mean it should.
What do you think?