INTERVIEW: The DID Alliance’s Ramesh Kesanupalli talks to us about GADI, the exciting new initiative for Digital Identity…

By October 26, 2020Blog

Last month we were delighted to host a webinar introduction to the Global Architecture for Digital Identity (GADI) in partnership with the DID Alliance*.  Ramesh Kesanupalli, co-founder of the DID Alliance, founder of the FIDO Alliance and CEO, Digital Trust shares his insight on this very exciting initiative and why we need a new method to add trust and accountability into Digital Identity.

After your success with the FIDO Alliance, what made you turn your attention to identity?

Ramesh Kesanupalli: “There were a couple of reasons: firstly, digital identity is one of the hot topics that is emerging in the industry – after adding up all the attacks that have happened to major entities, and considering the misinformation and untraceable information that is rampant on the internet – Identity is a problem that needs to be fixed.  After the successful standardisation of FIDO and its inclusion in all major operating systems and browsers, it’s only natural to look into identity binding as the next step.  At the same time, the CEO of RaonSecure, Soon Hyung Lee, who has been developing the OmniOne Identity DLT, asked me to take a look at what they were doing which got me started looking into this space.”

Tell us about the basic premise of GADI

Ramesh: “The basic premise of GADI is to define a trustable identity framework that will work at a global scale and bring different identity systems to establish trust and accountability. While security and privacy are the fundamental rights of everyone, for a functioning business or society, trust and accountability are basic necessities.”

What is a digital address and how is it used?

Ramesh: “A Digital Address is a human-readable access point, which is bound to a unique trust anchor for the user that is generated by a trusted issuer in the GADI ecosystem when the user is being on-boarded into the GADI ecosystem.  Once the initial trust anchor of the user is created, and a Digital Address is created for the user with a Digital Address Provider, the issuers can issue the user credentials using the verifiable credential formats, and publish the DIDs (Decentralised Identifiers) of those credentials to the Digital Address that the user is associated with.  The user can then go to any other issuer who would issue credentials to the user and provide their Digital Address so that the other issuer can start issuing their credentials to that user.  The user will then be able to provide verifiable credential presentations to a service provider to prove identity claims as needed based on the service provider’s context.”

Can GADI work with existing identity ecosystems?

Ramesh: “Yes.  Existing identity systems can turn themselves into a Digital Address Provider by embracing the GADI methods of on-boarding users and issuers.  The creation of the initial trust anchor is the key first step which involves identity verification of the user against a government-issued identity document by a high-trust entity.   This could be a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Passport Agency, Employer, Financial Institution or Medical Centre.   Digital Address providers will have to go through a certification process and must follow the governance and policies of the GADI ecosystem.”

Finally, how can people find out more and get involved?

Ramesh: “We welcome organisations, both public and private to come and join the DID Alliance to contribute to the specification, governance, and direction of the ecosystem.  There are different work streams that need help, support and participation.  We have a Technical Working Group, Governance Working Group, Messaging Working Group, Certification Working Group and so on.

“People can get involved at the board membership level, sponsor membership level or associate membership level.  Please visit the DID Alliance web site for more information and to reach out to us.”

*The DID Alliance is an open industry association created to drive the development of a standardised, interoperable framework for decentralised identity services to ensure the authenticity of an established trust in digital identities.