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Opening a Bank Account — A Use Case for Verifiable Credentials

How can you open a bank account using verifiable credentials? What are the benefits that come with it? Let's explore.
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Affinidi
Nov 15, 2021

Opening a bank account is something that we have all done at some point in our lives. Though over the years, the process has become a lot simpler, still it entails a ton of documents to prove your identity.

At the bare minimum, you’d need,

  • A piece of government-issued identification to prove your identity
  • Your Social Security Number or a Taxpayer Identification Number

Carrying these documents is a hassle because they can get lost or damaged in transit. Plus, it is highly risky in the event of theft because your Personally Identifiable Information can fall into the wrong hands.

A more secure and easier way to share your information for opening a bank account could be through verifiable credentials.

How to Use VCs to Open a Bank Account?

Here is a sample workflow on how verifiable credentials can be used to open a bank account.

There are three entities to these transactions, and they are:

  • Issuer — A startup company that collates all the government-issued documents and stores them in the form of a verifiable credential. A good example would be DigiLocker from the Government of India that provides access to authentic digital documents to citizen’s digital document wallets.
  • Holder — The individual/company/entity looking to open a bank account. In this sample use case, let’s assume this entity is an 18-year old girl opening a bank account for the first time.
  • Verifier — The bank where the holder wants to open an account

As a first step, the holder logs into the issuer’s portal and submits a request for verifiable credentials. After checking the holder’s identity and request, the issuer sends a QR code to the holder, and in turn, the holder scans the code and saves the information in her digital wallet.

When the verifier requests the documents, the holder creates a verifiable presentation of her SSN/TIN and any other government ID and sends it. Finally, the verifier examines the schema to determine the authenticity and validity of these documents. Specifically, the verifier checks the following.

  • Is the credential in a format that’s acceptable for the verifier?
  • Does it contain the data that the verifier needs such as information that identifies the holder, the credibility of the issuer, and more?
  • Is the data still valid?
  • Are the credentials issued by a trusted issuer?
  • Do the credentials or its signature provide the cryptographic proof that the holder is the subject of this verifiable presentation?

If the verifiable presentation sent by the holder meets these criteria, the verifier approves the application for account opening, and the holder can start transacting through it.

This sample workflow gives you a glimpse into the world of self-sovereign identity, where an entity has complete control over his or her credentials and can choose to share these secure and tamper-proof identities with the appropriate entities.

Does this enthuse you to create SSI applications that can change the face of our society?

Affinidi provides building blocks for an open and interoperable Self-Sovereign Identity ecosystem. Check out our developer portal for more information.

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