The New Kid on the BlockChain

Addressing the need for strong identity validation in blockchain systems

Recently, DigiCert announced joining Linux Foundation and consequently Hyperledger. Additionally, we made an announcement of becoming a steward for Sovrin Foundation. Our efforts in both verticals is to protect identities on blockchain platforms in order to provide a safer environment for our customers and other users of the web while using blockchain platforms.

The matter of a valid identity on blockchain is an important topic that requires expertise in number of areas, first and foremost is familiarity with the identity validation process. At DigiCert we have crafted our validation framework to perform at the highest level of security and efficiency while keeping its integrity with global industry standards. Given that we have 20 years of expertise in identity validation as an organization, we are striving to share our knowledge and framework with the blockchain community.

Historically, eliminating financial intermediates has been one of the bases for Bitcoin’s development (an example of crypto currency based on public blockchain). That being said, Bitcoin has also been described as a method to transact anonymously. While this partially holds true and benefits some, it simultaneously causes number of problems. For example, in February of 2011, an online marketplace in the name of Silk Road was launched as a platform for selling illegal drugs. One of the main technologies utilized by Silk Road was Bitcoin, since it provided an ability of purchasing goods online while staying anonymous. Given this use case, interacting with valid identities on the internet even with the presence and protection of blockchain is important. It still holds true that interacting with valid identities does not require revealing the identity.

It has been the focus of academic researchers to facilitate different methods to preserve identities and process datasets without giving away access to the identity or the original dataset. One example is the advancement of Fully Homographic Encryption (FHE), which allows computation on encrypted datasets such as Electronic Medical Records (EMR) without the need to decrypt the original dataset (for a detailed yet easy to read paper visit Computing Arbitrary Functions of Encrypted Data). Similar to the approach taken by academic researchers, DigiCert’s R&D team is working towards a solution which allows identities to be validated yet stay anonymous on a permissioned or hybrid blockchain platform. Given DigiCert’s relationship with the Hyperledger, we are aiming to provide our first functional modular for the Hyperledger Fabric in the near future.

Additionally, with DigiCert’s scalable Managed PKI, we are working towards the development of a modular specifically crafted for Hyperledger Fabric. In addition to enabling the identity validation process, this modular also provides a high-performance certificate issuance engine.

We are excited about our new development of identity for blockchain, and we invite customers and partners to reach out via email to labs@DigiCert.com, if they believe they could contribute to our initiative.