Trust Registries in the Real World

by | Sep 8, 2022 | Digital Identity, Digital Wallet, Standards, Trust Registries

In a world where we rely increasingly on digital information, we need to know that the credentials we share are accurate. Trust Registries (or Trust Hubs) will help us verify the authenticity of the information we share by storing digital certificates that can verify the identity of individuals and organizations. These certificates can authenticate online transactions, access sensitive information, or sign documents electronically. 

Trust Registries will help to reduce fraud and ensure that only accurate information is shared. They will also help build back confidence in the digital economy and enable new types of interactions that are impossible with traditional paper-based systems.

As we continue highlighting the importance of Trust Registries over the coming months, the following real-world example from the State of Digital Wallet SeriesFurther Research & Effort” gives us a great picture of how critical Trust Registries are within digital identity ecosystems. 

A Home Renovation.

Let’s imagine a home renovation project with three main groups to think about:

  • Homeowner
  • Contractor
  • City Inspector

Trust Registries allow us to know that the various shared credentials (e.g. proof of insurance) are accurate. A Homeowner can ask their Digital Wallet to verify an insurance Credential that the Contractor is honest. Their Digital Wallet needs to prove a few things:

  • The Contractor was the entity to which the Insurer (the Issuer) gave the Credential. Done inside the Contractor’s Digital Wallet – it uses cryptography to prove that they still control the insurance Credential.
  • That the Insurer cryptographically signed the Credential – letting the Homeowner know that the information hasn’t been tampered with.
  • That the Insurer is a bona fide insurance company, there will need to be a Trust Hub that lists insurers for a particular area for this to happen.

Digital Wallets can do all of the above in just a few seconds while doing other checks. Each party involved has pieces of information that they need to verify. 

  • Homeowner wants to know that they have the proper permits and licences for the job and that their Contractor and employees are fully licensed, insured, and up to scratch. 
  • The Contractor wants to know that the Homeowner has the proper permits, licence, inspections and insurance. 
  • The City Inspector wants to know that the Homeowner and Contractor have the required licenses, training, and other paperwork.

The paper-based verification process takes so long that few homeowners ever do the checks they should. With digital wallets and the ecosystems behind them, verifications can get done in seconds—while we greet each other in person.

A critical tool for re-establishing trust

Trust Registries will be a critical tool for re-establishing trust online. They will help users identify trustworthy websites and online services and help businesses build trust with their customers. 

Ecosystems are evolving – quickly, and it’s time to start thinking about how we will manage trust and reputation and how Trust Registries help to anchor the confidence we need in our systems.

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