Next Generation uPort Identity App released

TLDR: We have released a new uPort Identity App with a completely rewritten Identity Architecture and new features such as: Instant Identity Creation, Better Blockchain Privacy, and support for Emerging Identity Standards. Available in App Store and Play Store today.

After 6 months of hard work, our team is thrilled to roll out the most advanced and most Private Identity Architecture ever built on a Public Blockchain.

Our new architecture has been radically simplified. While still based on Ethereum, it now only requires Blockchain interactions in a few limited cases.

This provides several major benefits to users:

  • Instant Identity Creation
  • Phone number verification is no longer required
  • All identities are anchored on Ethereum’s Mainnet
  • Automated creation of Ethereum Mainnet accounts per App
  • Improved privacy (e.g. no Blockchain record of your identity creation)

Since we released the first version of our App to developers more than 2 years ago, we have incrementally improved the underlying Ethereum smart contracts. This marks a major departure away from our original architecture.

Our new architecture is based on our proposed Ethereum Standard ERC1056. Instead of registering one or multiple smart contracts on the blockchain, all you must do now is create an Ethereum key pair.

Since no transaction is needed, it is strictly speaking anchored on the blockchain rather than created on the blockchain.

The process is so rapid and seamless that millions of identities could be created in a single day, even without Ethereum supporting Proof of Stake or Sharding. This means we can finally support very large-scale applications, such as national identity projects.

Identity Should be Built on Standards

People’s online Identities should be owned by themselves and not held hostage by individual technology companies. Therefore, we firmly believe that these Identities should be built on open standards.

Identities in uPort are represented by Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) that are always created by the users themselves. This is a proposed standard from the W3C Verifiable Claims Working Group.

Our implementation of Decentralized Identifiers is based on ERC1056 Lightweight Ethereum Identity, which we have proposed as a common Ethereum standard for Ethereum Wallets to implement.

Our Verifiable Claims model is already based on the IETF standard JSON Web Tokens (JWT).

As active members of W3C Verifiable Claims Working Group, we are planning on implementing the proposed Verifiable Claims Data Model and Representations as soon as the standard and implementation libraries are more stable.

uPort Helps You Remain Private While Interacting with Public Blockchains

The real power of Blockchains comes from them being 100% transparent and traceable. Every single transaction is public and traceable to its owner’s address.

At uPort, we knew that if we could not solve separating out blockchain interactions from a user’s Identity, we would create serious long term privacy issues for our users.

Not only do we strongly discourage new Blockchain users to store identity related data on the Blockchain, but it’s also very much against the spirit of the EU’s new GDPR privacy regulation.

Our approach is based on the following 3 principles:

  1. No Personally Identifying Information (PII) should ever live on the blockchain
  2. All PII is tied to a user’s primary identifier (DID) which should also have minimal or no interaction with the Blockchain
  3. A fresh account should be created for each new dApp the user interacts with to avoid unintentional correlation of information publicly

Note that if a user funds each of these accounts with ETH from the same funding account, then they are still correlatable with each other, but not directly to the owning user identity.

We take this problem very seriously and are constantly working on improving it. We will be sure to keep you updated on the on-going process.

Support for the uPort Developer Platform 1.0

All existing Developers using uPort should by now have updated to our new transitional libraries.

Developers will already now be able to take advantage of the simpler onboarding process and increased privacy for your users.

This is just the beginning though. We will be releasing our uPort Developer Platform 1.0 very shortly, which will require this new app.