Nibras Stiebar-Bang believes blockchain may help the European Union’s digital identification initiatives.
The European Union’s move towards a unified digital identification system aims to enhance regional convenience and security. However, Concordium CTO and CPO Nibras Stiebar-Bang cautions that such efforts must balance improved access with stringent privacy safeguards.
In an interview with crypto.news, Stiebar-Bang acknowledged the intent behind standardized digital IDs to ease identity verification for citizens accessing services across EU member states.
“It will bring added convenience to both citizens and institutions requiring ID verification,” he said.
However, the blockchain expert warned that such convenience cannot undermine personal data protection. “Privacy and data protection” must remain priorities, Stiebar-Bang emphasized, noting apprehensions around increased “digital surveillance” and centralized data storage that could prove alluring hacking targets.
Mitigating privacy pitfalls
According to Stiebar-Bang, the success of digital ID systems depends heavily on individual country implementations and the blockchain solutions they choose to underpin identity management.
He highlighted the importance of decentralized platforms with robust identity layers incorporating zero-knowledge proof technology. Such cryptography enables identity verification without exposing personal details, granting users control over what information they share.
EU policymakers must also drive understanding of these privacy-preserving capacities through public outreach, Stiebar-Bang advised. Citing citizens’ prevailing surveillance concerns, he said conveying how zk-proofs and decentralized systems function will be vital for public trust.
The need for collaboration
While the EU intends blockchain to bolster the security and privacy of digital IDs, Stiebar-Bang cautioned that successfully delivering on this promise requires close industry collaboration.
“Leaders in the blockchain industry must be involved in these conversations and pilot initiatives,” he said. Beyond consulting implementations, he advised fostering research partnerships with universities to incorporate diverse expertise.
Tapping guidance from established players like the EU can overcome pitfalls to realize digital IDs’ societal promise. But an inclusive, transparent approach remains essential.
“If implemented properly,” Stiebar-Bang added, self-sovereign digital identity can grant citizens unprecedented control over their personal information – a “significant milestone” in itself.