Introducing the ERC-725 Alliance

The ERC-725 Alliance proposes a standard for blockchain-based identity. What is ERC-725 and why is it valuable?

Fragmented identity

Identity today involves a multitude of separate entities (e.g. banks, credit services, Facebook, employers) each of which collect information about an individual over the course of their lifetime. In short, the differing approaches to storing and sharing identity data make up a fragmented system which has gaps and overlapping efforts and which also suffers from a lack of data control and protection.

The Ethereum Identity Standard

erc725alliance.org

The identity standard aims to enhance and unify the strategies for storing and sharing identity on the Ethereum blockchain. An emerging consensus has three primary aims:

Storage and provenance — to enhance the persistence and accuracy of identity claims on the blockchain.

Verification and sharing — to promote the surgical and automatic processing of identity to reduce oversharing and duplication of sensitive data.

Self-sovereign identity — to give the individual full control over the way their identity is presented and used, in accordance with the ideals of self-sovereign identity.

The strategies for achieving this standard in practice are varied but a common conception is that the identity issuer (e.g. bank, government office, employer) will provide the individual with a cryptographic signature that attests the individual’s claim to a particular email, phone number, address, reputation or biometric data. That claim will persist on a pubic blockchain and can then be shared and verified automatically and trusted insofar as the consumer trusts the issuer and the identity standard. To guarantee the privacy of the data contained within the claim it can be encrypted in such a way that grants access and sharing to only the subject of the claim.

ERC-725 and the ERC-725 Alliance

The ERC-725 Alliance comprises a group of active developers who are dedicated to developing the identity standard on Ethereum and delivering use cases including KYC platforms, decentralised marketplaces, decentralised hiring platforms, decentralised stock exchanges, security tokenisation standards, universal dApp login and others.

“ERC-725” refers to a specific smart contract design that acts as the individual’s core identity manager on the blockchain. The fundamental logic of the ERC-725 gives the individual the ability to associate themselves with signing and encryption keys, but the ERC-725 also includes logic for executing and approving Ethereum transactions and is designed flexibly to be used in combination with a claims contract (e.g. ERC-735, ERC-780) to expand the types of identity data recorded on the blockchain.

ERC-725 Timeline

Foundational reading