Unidem: The Future of Global Identification

You just won a trip to Varadero, Cuba!

Image for post
Image for post

Your next step is grabbing your passport. Wait… Do you even know where it is? After hours of searching and finally finding your passport, you’ve packed your bags and you’re on your way.

Once you’re at the airport, there are now other things you have to worry about. The legality of your paperwork, watching out for scams and more.

You finally get to Cuba, but there are still more things to worry about. What happens if you get into an accident? Where is all of your medical paperwork? What about if the government goes into lockdown? With your paperwork and legal documents all over the place, the worrying never ends.

All of these legal documents could be considered your legal “identity”. But if these documents literally make up who you are, why are they so scattered? Why are they so easy to lose?

[ ]Forget your ID

[ ]Lose your ID

[ ]It gets stolen

[ ]The government goes on lockdown

What if you didn’t have to worry about these situations because you could access your IDs wherever and whenever you needed to?

There are three main reasons why separate physical documentation isn’t working right now.

Identity Theft

With the current insecure system of having physical copies of driver's licenses and passports, all it takes is a forged copy in order for someone to impersonate you.

Image for post
Image for post

Hacking a centralized system in this day and age isn’t as hard as it should be, as even one of the top credit-reporting companies (Equifax) disclosed that they were hacked. The hackers stole customers' names, addresses, social security numbers, and birthdates, leaving without control of their own identity.

Identity theft is a bigger problem than we think. In fact, in the time it took you to read that sentence, there are two new victims of identity fraud. That’s right. Every TWO seconds, someone’s identity is stolen.

But why is it possible to steal this data in the first place? To answer that question, we need to look at the next problem… data security.

Data Security

As of right now, we store the most valuable information about ourselves on centralized government databases which have numerous single points of failure.

When we have these large centralized systems, they’re extremely susceptible to being hacked as hackers are drawn to large centralized systems containing personal information. (We’ll dive deeper into how they actually work later).

A study done in 2018 shows that 97% of breaches targeted personally identifiable information, with 2.8 billion consumer data records exposed at an estimated cost of $654 billion.

However, even if we did have perfect security from a centralized system, there’s still the issue of accessibility.


According to the United Nations, 1.1 billion people don’t have a way to claim ownership over their identity, meaning that a seventh of the world's population is unable to vote in elections, own property, open a bank account, or even find employment.

Complicated identification paperwork processes, expenses, lack of access, and lack of knowledge are major roadblocks for over a billion people to obtain traditional identification systems.

2 billion people don’t have a bank account, with 1/4 of them being in SE Asia. A study done by McKinsey confirmed that reaching that population would increase economic contribution from $17 billion to $52 billion by 2030.

Without having documentation, a person cannot enroll in school, apply for jobs, get a passport, or obtain access to the existing financial systems and governmental services.

This is how the world has operated for centuries… We constantly hear “but we’re improving”, but how do we actually fix this system?

The answer is a universal, secure, personalized and portable ID system. That’s where Unidem comes —leveraging the power of exponential technologies like blockchain and biometrics.

What is Unidem?

At Unidem, our mission is to provide people with secure control and autonomy over their identities through the use of blockchain and personalized biometric linked vaults. Our vision is a world where we have a unified population, where people have full autonomy over their identity.

Image for post
Image for post

To tackle this mission we want to solve two main areas:

  1. Inaccessibility
  2. Identity theft/ineffective data security

So how are we going to do that? Through the blockchain.

How Does Blockchain Work?

Blockchains are distributed ledgers, each block contains some data in it. The blocks have unique fingerprints called hashes, the blocks are connected to one another by these hashes.

Image for post
Image for post

The blocks are immutable meaning you can’t change or tamper with the information inside the block. Blockchains are decentralized meaning there is no central node in power, instead, there are a bunch of nodes all interconnected. Compared to a centralized network that only needs one point of failure for the network to become vulnerable. Decentralized networks take multiple points of failure to be compromised. In order to take down this type of network a 51% attack would need to occur, meaning more than 51% of the nodes on the network get taken over.

Blockchains aren’t controlled by a single party, rather they use consensus algorithms that numerous nodes operate under in a decentralized network.

  • The issuer of the transaction, signs the transaction using a digital signature which requires a public key and a private key. The digital signature is created by taking the
Image for post
Image for post
  • The transactions are placed in blocks, which are linked to previous blocks using hashes.
  • To add a new block to the chain the network competes to solve a complex mathematical puzzle that verifies the block. All the nodes are updated with the new block, keeping a constant record.

The public keys are stored on the chain along with transaction data, while private keys are kept private.

The public keys act use decentralized identifiers (DIDs), DIDs are stored on the blockchain with a DID document and a public key for the DID. The owner of the DID controls it through their private key.

Version 1 storage of preexisting ID’s

Users would be given a private key personalized by data from their chosen biometric. The user would upload their documents onto our platform, the platform breaks apart the image into pixilated values. Using a special hashing function similar to that of SHA-256 our platform encrypts the data.

After being verified the block is added to the chain. It is permanent and visible to everyone on the network. However, only the user who has the private key and their chosen biometric is able to decrypt the data and make sense of it.

When the user needs a document, our platform decrypts the data from the block. Runs it through our selected algorithm which reconstructs the image of the ID.

Version 2 registration of new ID’s

Version 1 does not require any external permission from third parties or institutions, as we’re only uploading preexisting IDs. However, as the adoption of blockchain increases, our mission is to remove the friction, cost and time associated with physically registering IDs. Phase two involving allowing institutions to registered or provide identification through the use of tokens or digital assets.

For example to obtaining a certificate from a university, the university would issue you a personalized token saying that you graduated from there with X degree. You can present the token when you need to prove your association with the university. Other users could verify you went to a university by looking up the issuer's public address, for example, the university.

If other institutions need to verify a detail about your identity say your age, but you don’t want to give away unnecessary information about yourself like your birthplace or address we can use zero-knowledge proofs. Zero-knowledge proofs allow us to reveal that one aspect of ourselves is true without revealing all our information.

In order to see if the credential comes from a valid source/ institution. our platform would create a zero-knowledge proof proving only one credential. the person could verify it by using the public key of the issuer.

To learn more about blockchain check out this article

The Platform

Leveraging this technology, Unidem will create a secure platform for users to be able to upload all of their identification and medical files, so that they can choose who has access and when they have access.

With all identification and medical files in one place, blockchain is a good option for storing this information.

Blockchains are extremely secure because if a hacker wanted to edit a block, it would change their hash, but since the next block in the chain would have the old hash, they would have to update that block. Doing so would change the hash of that block, so they would need to update the next block, so on and so forth.

Access, Implementation, and Pricing

We understand how valuable PII is and because of that, once an account it made, a user would create their own security question(private key). The account would be accessed through a biometric scan, a private key, and the user's public key, allowing it to be extremely secure.

The biometric scan used would be determined by what is offered on the user’s cellphone.

Unidem’s free package would include the ability to upload your passport, and two other documents of your choice, but to upload medical files and more documentation, you would have to upgrade your plan.

Reading data from the blockchain is free, eg pulling up a document from your vault. However, interacting with the blockchain has a small fee due to the computational costs of verifying data. eg uploading a document or sending a person information about one of your credentials. This cost is fractional and the money is split amongst nodes that participate in the final verification. Unidem charges for our converting the numerical data of your ID into an image.

Our second phase plan involves working with various governments to validate the legitimacy of the documentation on our platform.

Unidem’s goal is creating a unified world, where nobody is “invisible”, where everyone has a voice and the ability to participate in the world. Having an identity is the first step towards that, and Unidem will promote this by solving:

  1. Inaccessibility/complications to becoming legally identified
  2. Identity Theft/fraud

To learn more, check out our website: Unidem.tech

Written by

Working to provide the world with secure control and autonomy over their identities through blockchain and personalized biometric linked vaults

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store