[FP]-LIMS and the importance of a digital identity during difficult times

Lab & Software Insights
6 min readJul 9, 2020

Self-sovereign identity (SSI): What makes you feel safe, makes you also trustable

Introduction

In this article, you will read about [FP]-LIMS, a lab software designed by the German firm Fink & Partner, and its connection with a “digital identity”.

First of all, do not forget to check out our website to get to know us and our [FP]-LIMS better, before getting deeper into the theme.

[FP]-LIMS has a secure certificate that allows us to store a hash of your data on a blockchain, which is only used to store decentralized identifiers:

  • What is its strength? You can freely choose the information and how to share and use it.
  • What are the profits? This increases reliability, trust, worthiness, and resistance to censorship.

However, we need to analyze some basic concepts before that are essential to understand this process and how digital identities work in interaction with the secure certificate of [FP]-LIMS.

Personas and digital identities

What is identity, and what is its relationship with the technological world? Identity is a purely human concept, which in psychology concerns qualifies, beliefs, and personality. These factors have repercussions on culture, history, and religion as well. Identities are so special because they identify people and make them unique.

Now, how can we combine this feature of human nature with a technology framework? Well, it definitely has to be very flexible to reflect the enormous human diversity!

In the twenty-first century, identities are not just referring to a flesh and blood person. Due to the development of society and technology, we have been taking in exam other ways to express our identities, such as through the digital world. First, let us make clear some more things about identities, which are crucial to the correlation with “digital identity” and [FP]-LIMS.

According to the scientific studies of the mind and behavior, persona is a basic concept to understand how identities work. A persona is a subset of identity, depending just on one nuance. A person can have many personas, according to social context, work, friends, interests, hobbies, etc. Like the pieces of a puzzle, multiple personas build a unique identity.

As a result of the twenty-first-century society we grew up in and live in, we could count accounts as personas too. To authenticate our-self, we use usernames and passwords. However, most of these administrative identity systems are owned by the organization they are provided by. Some examples could be the user-centric approach of Google or Apple sign-in, which will just redirect you in their system again. Which is the problem here? The user is not in control of his digital identity with the risk of identity fraud or being hacked.

2020 and digital identities

2020, the year of changes. The beginning of the new decade of this twenty-first century showed us how much we need proofs of credibility and safety. The dramatic spread of COVID-19 suddenly stopped every human contact for at least two months. Digital identities are signs of safety, trust, and brand awareness during a time when everything is falling apart. Due to the fact we drastically had to reduce — and will have even more in the future — the personal contact, we need a demonstration of safety, and digital identities will be the ultimate solution.

Which are the emerging standards and future solutions? SSI and DID

Fundamental concepts of the rising standards are SSI (self-sovereign identity) and DID (decentralized identifiers).

Before analyzing those two key-concepts for the understanding of digital identities, we have to take a step back and have a more in-depth look at the word identity. As we mentioned before, “identity” means “being unique,” which depends on gender, age, weight, nationality, and verify credentials such as citizenship, passport, university degree, ID card, membership cards, driving license, store receipts, boarding passes, etc. For example, your wallet is a container of credentials.

What is the purpose of credentials? If properly designed, credentials are “safe places”, where verifiable data are allowed in workflows without involving either centralized hubs or live communication between the connectors. This is what [FP]-LIMS does thanks to its secure certificate.

You are undoubtedly asking yourself, which is the correlation between credentials and digital identity. However, we have to explain first another key concept for its best understanding: the trust triangle.

Trust triangle: the issuer-holder-verifier relationship

The trust triangle works based on the relationship between the issuer, holder, and verifier. The issuer decides which credentials are to issue and how to validate it to make them trustable and credible. The holder decides which credentials they need to make things reliable about themselves. Finally, verifiers decide who to trust or not thanks to the proofs they have.

Self-sovereign identities (SSI) in the Internet world own their digital and analog identities, and able to control the data that is shared and used. This makes the Internet identifying regime more flexible, secure, private, less burdensome, and cost-saving. The SSI community puts our data on a blockchain, which is used to store decentralized identifiers (DID). DID are real-world identities such as a use case or domain, like a passport or a phone number, which are legal and have practical implications. DID are verifiable for themselves and do not depend on any centralized registers or certificate authorities. In other words, they are identifiers for self-sovereign digital identities.

However, digital identities are still a problem since identity is still physical. None of us owns a digital one since the Internet was conceived to connect machines and not human beings. Therefore, due to COVID-19, many companies need to become more secure and trustable, and that is why they need the SSI protocol. ID2020, DIF, Sovrin, TRUST OVER IP, FIndy, lissi, Hyperledger, and their systems could be the future solution to the problem of digital identity.

What is [FP]-LIMS’s strategy?

As we already mentioned, thanks to its secure certificate, [FP]-LIMS has many benefits, such as reliable and trustable certificates and the possibility to save your hash in the blockchain forever. How does that work though? We have developed ourselves an interface (through the standard tools Hyperledger Indy and Aries) that allows you to store your data into the blockchain as a hash, the SSI one. You can also define the fields that have to be signed such as customer, address, process characteristics, delivery, etc.

Thus, the unique hash is also immediately incorporated into the blockchain at the lowest price possible. To prove the authenticity and integrity of your certificate, you can compare your data with the ones on the blockchain — through a simple QR Code!

Conclusion

In summary, security makes you trustable, especially by your clients. This is what makes digital identities essential nowadays: a digital identity makes you reliable and increases your credibility. That is why we of Fink & Partner put so much effort into the secure certificate solution based on the blockchain technology.

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