Between 2021 and 2025, it is forecasted that the blockchain identity market will grow by 3.58B with a compound annual growth rate of nearly 71%. The bright future predicted for blockchain identity is influenced by several driving factors, notably the need for decentralized, efficient, and secure identity solutions.
The global shift towards adopting blockchain-based systems is well underway. 87 countries, representing 90% of global GDP, are currently experimenting with integrating central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and the governments of India and South Korea have now implemented on-chain identity systems for various state-run programs.
In order to tap into the benefits provided by blockchain-based solutions, it's necessary to first understand how they function. A key feature of the web3 ecosystem are on-chain professional decentralized identifiers (DIDs). These are unique, blockchain-based identifiers that link an individual’s professional identity to a decentralized, secure ledger. They enable individuals to control and manage their professional identity and associated data, which can include credentials, work history, and education, while maintaining privacy and security. On-chain professional DIDs offer a self-sovereign, tamper-resistant, and portable solution for verifying and sharing professional information.
Use Case 1: Streamlined Hiring and Credential Verification
Traditional hiring practices are notoriously antiquated and slow. Once a candidate's application has been received, credentials must be individually and manually verified, and references contacted one by one. This can lead to significant delays and a heavy burden on HR departments.
On-chain professional DIDs allow for the simplification of the recruitment process through the bypassing of these lengthy steps. Since credentials are made verifiable digitally and are stored on a decentralized ledger, often a blockchain, where they are tamper-proof and immutable, recruiters can use standardized protocols to verify credentials. Rather than relying on manual checks or contacting institutions, the authenticity of digital signatures on credentials can be verified close-to instantly.
Due to their blockchain-based nature, once signed by an issuer, credentials are immutable. As a result, the use of DIDs leads to fewer instances of fraudulent claims, further streamlining the hiring process.
Use Case 2: Empowering Job Seeker Privacy
In the era of extensive online data sharing and an equally massive onslaught of data breaches, DIDs allow users to protect their information through enhanced privacy. In the first half of 2022 alone, there were approximately 817 reported data breaches. Exposing one’s personal information to these nefarious threats should not be a necessary compromise when applying for a job.
In the recruitment process, when using a professional DID for credential verification, applicants have the ability to control the information that they choose to share. They can provide access to certain credentials without needing to reveal their entire identity, thus lowering the risk of overexposure and in turn protecting sensitive personal information.
While this has many use cases in the traditional job market, is it especially important for web3-native organizations, who value the right to keep one’s identity private. DAOs, for example, have adopted a hiring structure that does not necessitate the sharing of any personal information, not even a contributor's legal name. On-chain professional DIDs make this possible because they allow an applicant to share education, work history, and credentials all while maintaining a pseudonym.
Use Case 3: Lifelong Learning and Credential Updates
The value of an employee is largely based on their willingness to learn, adapt, and evolve with new technologies and ever-changing business practices. This can be done through trainings, programs, degrees, and participation in events and projects. While previously much of this professional development was difficult to prove and could be easily falsified, on-chain professional DIDs facilitate the streamlined updating and sharing of information.
This can be of particular importance in the context of qualifications received from educational platforms. Online bootcamps have emerged as the primary pathway for many individuals to acquire the experience necessary for careers in the tech industry. Added on to an applicant's other traditional educational history, such as a bachelor or masters degree, new skills through these programs can be constantly acquired and updated.
Educational institutions can issue verifiable credentials in a standardized digital format, such as digital diplomas or certificates, which are associated with the student’s DID. Rather than the delayed process of manually issuing a diploma to a physical address, credentials can be immediately added to an on-chain professional DID in order to be updated in real time.
Use Case 4: Facilitating International Professionalism
The surge in remote work has led to increased opportunities for global hiring, with geographical location no longer presenting a barrier to accessing top talent. As more companies expand their hiring practices overseas, new systems for credential verification are needed. Between the difficulty of sending documents quickly and securely by mail, language barriers, and variations in global educational and professional systems, borderless hiring is prohibitively challenging when trying to work within traditional systems.
Providing a scalable solution to these challenges, professional DIDs bring a level of standardization to the international hiring process that allows for the mitigation of language barriers and enhances efficiency. A key element of DIDs is their interoperability. They are designed to be used across various platforms and applications without losing their functionality. In the landscape of international hiring and credential verification, this allows for companies, regardless of location, to easily access up-to-date and immutable information about potential employees. The ease and scalability that come as a result of this international access create a more agile, collaborative, and globally connected workforce.
Use Case 5: Building Decentralized Professional Networks
Due to their inherently borderless nature, on-chain DIDs allow global professionals to connect and collaborate, from the building of projects to developing decentralized professional networks. The immutability of DIDs adds an important layer of trust to the working relationship; rather than relying on claims that can be easily falsified, when entering into a collaboration or professional relationship, all credentials and proof of attendance can be checked and verified in seconds.
As the remote, decentralized workforce gains momentum, so do hiring platforms that are built for their unique demands. While these can take on a variety of forms, they are often talent-owned, with participation encouraged through tokenized incentives. In order to efficiently, reliably, and securely manage decentralized networks, users connect with their on-chain, professional DIDs. This cuts out the need for centralized intermediaries, thus lowering fees and inspiring greater trust in users.
Unlike job marketplaces such as Linkedin where users can easily list false educational and professional credentials, professional DIDs make this level of casual inaccuracy impossible. Decentralized professional networks are thus significantly more trustworthy and reliable than their web2 counterparts.
Use Case 6: Securing Professional Communications
As data breaches continue to rise, developing a culture of security and risk management is critical. Whether within the context of an organization or between individuals, employing secure channels of communication is a necessary first step in avoiding the exposure of sensitive information. One of the pillars of blockchain-based communication is its enhanced levels of privacy and security. End-to-end encryption prevents third-parties from accessing data and adds a layer of security to interactions between parties.
Sharing information with DIDs involves the use of cryptographic key pairs- a public key stored on a blockchain and a private key stored securely by an individual. When two parties with DIDs communicate, they are able to establish a secure channel of communication using their public and private keys. At the moment information is sent, it is encrypted using the recipient's public key and only the recipient, with their corresponding private key, can decrypt and access the original information.
The confidentiality enabled by this method of communication is much more secure than channels of information sharing such as email. The potential for hacking is greatly minimized, and in the case of interceptions, data remains secure because only the intended recipient possesses the necessary decryption key. For industries in which confidentiality is essential, leveraging the security and privacy of on-chain professional DIDs is an ideal way to prevent the exposure of sensitive data.
Use Case 7: Composable Digital Identity in dApps
A feature that sets on-chain DIDs apart from other forms of identity is the fluidity with which they can travel web3. Their composable nature allows for them to function across a range of platforms and dApps, from participation in DAO governance to blockchain gaming to DeFi. Professional DIDs provide plug-and-play identity features that enable effortless integration and adaptability across platforms.
When evaluating existing on-chain professional DIDs, the RiseID- a self-sovereign, on-chain, professional identity minted by all Rise users- stands out due to its exceptional levels of composability, limitlessness, and security. Existing as a self-sovereign professional identity, the RiseID is owned by either an individual or company, not Rise. Each RiseID owner can choose what information to upload to their digital identity, including KYC, educational history, bootcamp certificate, pay history, and beyond. This information can then travel across web3 with its user, whether that means authorizing transactions for your DAO on Safe or taking your crypto payout straight to a DEX. The RiseID can connect to a host of wallets including Coinbase Wallet, MyEtherWallet, Metamask, Ledger, and Taurus.
On-Chain Professional DIDs and the Future of Work
As blockchain technology and web3 integrations become central elements of the digital age, the use of professional on-chain DIDs is predicted to experience a surge in usage amongst the contemporary workforce.
For companies, establishing systems that are compatible with hiring practices that leverage the efficiency and security of blockchain identity is crucial for embracing the future of global recruitment. Onboarding with a comprehensive solution that maximizes security and privacy alongside composability and global compatibility is a crucial step in effectively embracing modern work practices.