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The Ten Commandments of Digital Identity Wallets

What makes an ideal Digital Identity Wallet?


Moses holding the ultimate ‘’Digital Identity Wallet’’ upgrade


We all know the benefits of Digital Identity Wallets, but while I was looking at technical specifications the other day, I started wondering what makes an ideal Digital Identity Wallet – one that would work for me!


I made a short list of very general diverse needs in the bigger, non-technical picture:


1)                  Function

2)                  Trust

3)                  Use

4)                  Automation

5)                  Confidentiality

6)                  Cost

7)                  Accessibility

8)                  Universality

9)                  Transferability

10)              Resilience

  


Looking into the detail:


1) Function

The first commandment of an ideal Digital Identity Wallet is functionality: It should offer a user experience that is as intuitive and seamless as the Apple Wallet or Google Wallet. This means the wallet must be simple to install, with a setup process that requires minimal effort from the user and with no delays. The wallet should also integrate smoothly with other apps and services, ensuring that users can utilize their digital identities and credentials across various platforms with ease from the very beginning. Essentially, the wallet should serve as a reliable and efficient personal method for streamlining the process of data-exchange.

 

2) Trust

The second commandment of an ideal Digital Identity Wallet is trust: It should be built on a foundation of trust, where the service operator recognizes the paramount importance of each user. Just as credit card companies protect their clients, a Digital Identity Wallet must buffer users from errors and malicious activities, and shoulder a measure of liability. This means having confidence in all the interactions that take place through the wallet; identities of counterparties, truth of the attributes presented, and every aspect of its use. Moreover, the wallet should have transparent policies and responsive customer support to address any concerns promptly. Ultimately, the wallet should not only ensure the trust in digital identities and credentials but also earn the trust of users by consistently demonstrating that their well-being is the top priority.

 

3) Use

The third commandment of an ideal Digital Identity Wallet is versatility in use: The wallet must cater to the user’s current needs effortlessly, such as physically displaying various passes and credentials, and facilitating remote transactions with individuals, businesses, and government. It should be capable of handling a wide range of tasks with ease, from verifying identity for online services to presenting digital tickets for events. It should be able to initiate, and manage, basic interactions and data-exchange. Moreover, the wallet should be future-proof, designed to evolve and incorporate new functionalities as they emerge. This adaptability ensures that as the digital landscape evolves, the wallet remains a relevant and indispensable tool for the user, capable of meeting both present and unforeseen future requirements.

 

4) Automation

The fourth commandment of an ideal Digital Identity Wallet is ease of automation: It should come equipped with pre-designed templates and processes that facilitate the creation of transactions with minimal user input. Recognizing that not everyone possesses programming skills, the wallet must offer a user-friendly platform, (and possibly with assistance using a specialised AI) that allows users and small-to-medium-sized enterprises (there are 23 Million+ SMEs in the EU) to engage in digital transactions effortlessly. This level of automation should be accessible to all, ensuring that even those with limited technical expertise can benefit from wallet features. By simplifying the transaction process, the wallet handles the complexities of digital interactions in the background taking away the burden from the user.

 

5) Confidentiality

The fifth commandment of an ideal Digital Identity Wallet is confidentiality: It must preserve the user’s privacy, ensuring that all personal data is securely stored and shielded from access. The wallet should protect against any tracking and data breaches. This includes not only safeguarding the data within the wallet but also ensuring that the user’s activities, such as transactions and identity verifications, leave no traceable footprint. The service provider can only monitor or track the user’s actions with the user’s explicit consent (such as in the case of troubleshooting). This level of confidentiality is crucial so that users can operate with full confidence.

 

6) Cost

The sixth commandment of an ideal Digital Identity Wallet is affordability: It should be provided at no cost to the user at the point of use. This ensures that the wallet is accessible to everyone. The operating expense should usually be borne by the relying parties, but with the possibility of exceptions. Eventually, and in some circumstances, a small standing charge, again like with a credit card, might be deemed to be needed.

 

7) Universality

The seventh commandment for an ideal Digital Identity Wallet is universality: It should be designed to benefit everyone. The wallet should be globally accepted and usable, functioning cross-border and within almost every sectors. By ensuring that the wallet is versatile and interoperable, it becomes universally useful, providing secure and convenient functionality for all users, regardless of where they are or what they need to do.

 

8) Accessibility

The eighth commandment of an ideal Digital Identity Wallet is universal accessibility: It should be designed with inclusivity in mind, ensuring that it is usable by everyone, regardless of their technical proficiency or ability. Additionally, there should be provision of ’assist-at-home services’ for certain cases. By ensuring accessibility, the wallet becomes a tool that provides the entire population, full participation in the digital economy.

 

9) Transferability

The ninth commandment for an ideal Digital Identity Wallet is transferability: The wallet should offer a hassle-free experience when transitioning between devices, whether the change is permanent or temporary. Users should be able to migrate their Digital Identity Wallet and its contents smoothly, without encountering technical difficulties or lengthy procedures. The process should be as simple as signing into a new device and having immediate access to one’s digital wallet contents (not copying but moving the content from one device to another). This is crucial for maintaining continuity and convenience in the digital age, where device upgrades and switching smartphones are common.

  

10) Resilience

The tenth commandment for an ideal Digital Identity Wallet is robust resilience: It should be designed with a strong focus on recovery, ensuring that users can quickly regain access to their digital wallet if it is lost or stolen. The wallet should have a secure recovery process in place, with steps to re-establish ownership. Additionally, the wallet should have the option to maintain a secure and encrypted backup system, in locations of user choice, so that all the user's credentials and data can be easily restored to a new device. This resilience is crucial, as it provides peace of mind to the user.

 

Summary

The "Ten Commandments" for an ideal Digital Identity Wallet form fundamental guidelines that operators and developers should consider, over an above any regulations or strict technical specifications that results in wallets that are not only technologically advanced but also publicly acceptable and attractive. Recognising these commandments ensures that Digital Identity Wallets meet the diverse needs of society and remain a permanent component of digital society. They represent the standards necessary for fostering trust and confidence among users, essential for the integration of Digital Identity Wallets into daily life.

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