How to Create Your First Decentralized Identity Using uPort

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Do you use a decentralized identity management app? A decentralized identity returns control of your identity into your hands, using blockchain to keep it secure. But you need to create your identity using a decentralized identity app first.

That’s where uPort steps in. Here’s how you use uPort to create and manage your first decentralized identity, all from the safety of your smartphone.

What Is uPort?

uPort is an open-source decentralized identity management system. The idea is that each person can create a personal digital identity. The digital identity is inextricably linked to the person using cryptography, kept safe using blockchain technology, and will reduce identity and other forms of online fraud.

People should have control over their data. At the current time, your data isn’t sovereign. Not all of it, anyway. Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin believes that services like uPort will fundamentally change our interactions with personal data and those services that seem to hoover it up for private profit.

“I wouldn’t want to share that kind of personal info with Facebook just so I could get photos of my friend at a party last night. So with these new constructs, it’s going to change the nature of how those entities construct and operate their business models. We’re going to continue to spray less valuable info across the web to gain access to Facebook-like, Twitter-like and Google-like services as time goes on. The really valuable stuff is going to be under our control and we’re going to be able to monetize it.”

That’s one prime reason to consider a digital identity. But without integration into those services, it doesn’t mean much.

A prime example of uPort is in use in the city of Zug, Switzerland. Zugers (yes, that is the demonym of a Zug resident) can register their identity using uPort. After registering, residents can use uPort to unlock access to government services.

How to Use uPort

The uPort app is available for Android and iOS. Before continuing with the tutorial, download uPort on your device.

Download: uPort for Android | iOS (Both Free)

Once your download completes, open your uPort app and select Get Started. Add your name and a photo if you want. As it is a digital identity service, a photo is useful, but not entirely necessary for the tutorial, as the tutorial will follow the uPort example. Of course, the uPort demo is just that. But it does illustrate how you can use uPort to access, store, and share credentials.

1. uPortlandia

So, uPortlandia is the uPort demo credential. It provides a working example of how uPort works.

First up, select Visit uPortlandia. The “City of Portlandia” digital identity page will open in your browser. Scroll down and select Get City ID. You’ll jump back into the uPort app where you can enter credentials for your City of Portlandia City ID. Don’t worry about entering your real credentials, it just a demo.

Once you enter your credentials and share them, you receive a City ID.

2. University of uPortlandia

Next up, you can use your uPort decentralized identity to claim your University of uPortlandia diploma. Select Get Diploma to get a “verified digital copy of your diploma.” Selecting Login with uPort will begin the credential sharing process. First, uPort will ask you to unlock your device. The unlock also confirms that you want to share the credentials with the University of uPortlandia.

On confirmation, your diploma will become available for sharing via uPort. Your uPort credentials page now shows two credentials: your city ID and your diploma. You can share the credentials separately. However, some services will request multiple credentials.

3. Dream Job LLC

It is time to use uPort to share your personal credentials and University of uPortlandia diploma credentials to secure that dream job!

Select Get Employment Verification, then Login with uPort. Unlock your device, select Receive your Employment Verification, then accept the credentials of your dream job.

4. People Care Insurance LLC

The final uPort demo credential share is for insurance. When you visit a doctor’s office or pharmacy, take out car or home insurance, or any similar service, you can use uPort to share your credentials rapidly. In this case, uPort’s demo insurance company requests your personal credentials and the credentials for your uPortlandia dream job.

Select Get Insurance Coverage, then Login with uPort. Unlock your device, select Receive your Insurance Coverage, then accept People Care Insurance LLC’s credentials.

uPort Decentralized Identity Returns Ownership to the Individual

uPort is leading the way in decentralized identity management. While the open-source decentralized app is helping shape our interactions our identity credentials, they are not the only project working toward decentralized identity management on the blockchain.

The Sovrin Foundation is a core developer of Project Indy, part of the Hyperledger Project. Project Indy is set of identity tools and frameworks that work across ledgers. Microsoft is launching Ion, a decentralized identity network built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain network. Civic’s secure decentralized identity platform offers verification, financial and social credentials, and much more.

Also, the proposed ERC-725 standard describes smart contracts controlled with multiple identities and other smart contracts. ERC-725 will allow self-sovereign identity management through a specific Ethereum blockchain token. The identity smart contracts can refer to “humans, groups, objects, and machines,” allowing all to make use of the Ethereum blockchain. The author of ERC 725, Fabian Vogelsteller, also works on Ethereum ERC-20 and the Ethereum web3.js projects.

There’s no doubt about it; decentralized identities are one of the biggest technological advances coming from blockchain development.

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