By Chuy Cepeda
Embarking on the OS City journey has helped me better understand who I am, how I am, what the most valuable human relationships are, what true friendship, true love, true growth, and true belonging look like. It also taught me something about capital, leadership, and even a bit of astrology and poetry.
In each of these areas, I have faced challenges, solved problems, and connected with great people who shared their challenges and experiences in solving them. I realized that all problems always have the same root: trust.
If you don't trust yourself, your team, if your customers don't trust you, if your investors don't trust you, if you don't trust them, if the industry where you operate doesn't trust your work, if there is no trust in any of the aspects, progress will hardly be achieved.
The same thing happens in the world and its ability to progress socially, economically, environmentally and even politically.
While there is the possibility of having a digital economy valued at $20.8 trillion promising much better wealth distribution and higher incomes for everyone, we are also on the brink of losing trust in the tools that could create that more prosperous world.
The tools I am referring to reside in the key elements of web3 such as a new identity system, verifiable credentials, and wallets. These elements allow us to rethink the trust frameworks under which we exchange information and value in the digital world.
Credentials allow us a new format of fraud-free information, resistant to manipulation, and instantly verifiable.
Wallets allow us to efficiently and securely handle user-centric data, while preserving privacy.
Blockchain networks allow us to have a highly available and trusted source of data, without the risks of centralized systems.
Using these elements enables us to have a landscape where identity credentials or any other document are difficult to counterfeit and also very easy to verify.
In other words, we eliminate the high social and economic cost of information verification, loss of privacy, and the need for credential issuers to agree with verifiers on the same format, processes, and validation tools for trust to be established. Decentralizing means removing the need for a trusted intermediary.
Web3 proposes a new trust model for information exchange, one where issuers and verifiers of information do not need to agree. Instead, it is the individual who carries the information (credentials) and also a verification mechanism embedded in the same information (verifiable) thanks to blockchain technology.
This is a form of unprecedented data self-sovereignty and privacy preservation. This is the main argument behind organizations like the European Commission investing in technology to help us easily verify information, in the rise of web3.
Below is an example of what a Web3 Trust Framework looks like.
Example of the Trust Framework proposed by the EBSI
Trust Accreditation Organizations (TAOs) are organizations that can accredit a Verifiable Credential issuer. The accreditation can be verified because the registry of trusted issuers is stored on the EBSI blockchain.
Trusted Issuers is a role that an entity could play by creating a Verifiable Credential, associating it with a specific subject, and transmitting it to a holder. Issuers include governments, companies, organizations, among others.
EBSI is the blockchain infrastructure, a decentralized database that maintains a record of all transactions. Information is stored in blocks that are cryptographically linked together, forming a chain (blockchain), which makes the information almost impossible to manipulate.
Verifiable Credential Holders (Recipients) are at the center of a trust triangle, mediating between the issuer and the verifier. The issuer and the holder trust each other, the holder trusts the verifier, and the verifier trusts the issuer. Any role in the triangle can be performed by a person, an institution, or a device. The holder is usually an individual or an organization that owns the issued Verifiable Credential and has full control over its handling, use, and verification.
Trust Verifiers is a role performed by an entity when receiving one or more Verifiable Credentials, optionally within a Verifiable Presentation, for processing. For example, an employer will verify the authenticity of a verifiable diploma shared by the student (holder).
Onboarding to EBSI is the process that will allow a TAO to be accredited and register Trusted Issuers.
Issuing Verifiable Credentials is the process that a Trusted Issuer performs to issue a Verifiable Credential addressed to a Holder.
Writing to EBSI is the process that will give access to the EBSI DID Registry and allow the Trusted Issuer to register the DID and the DID Document on the EBSI blockchain.
Presenting Credentials is the process that the Holder performs to exchange one or more Verifiable Credentials with a Verifier.
Credential Verification is the process that the Verifier takes to verify the authenticity of the Verifiable Credentials shared by the Holder.
Information exchange (Trust Model)
Issuing Verifiable Credentials, the Verifiable Credential profile uses W3C standards to ensure interoperability and broad adoption. They can represent information found in physical credentials such as a passport or a license, as well as new things that don't have a physical equivalent, such as ownership of a bank account. They are tamper-resistant and instantly verifiable.
Presenting Verifiable Credentials, a verifiable presentation expresses data from one or more Verifiable Credentials, and is packaged in such a way that the authorship and authenticity of the data can be verified. The data in a presentation may have been issued by multiple issuers. The aggregation of this information typically expresses an aspect of a person, organization, or entity.
The turn is for Latin America and the key question is how do we start creating this trust framework without having our own version of the European Commission. Answering this question and weaving the ecosystem in the region will be key to seizing, or not, the biggest opportunity.
Jesús Cepeda, CEO at OS City