The emergence of self-sovereign identity (SSI) technologies has the potential to revolutionize the digital landscape of the financial world, presenting unparalleled opportunities for innovation and growth. As SSI gains momentum, it can transform how we interact with digital financial services, streamline transactions, and enable seamless interactions between users and services. By embracing these cutting-edge technologies, we have the unique chance to actively shape the future of the global financial ecosystem, fostering a more secure, inclusive, and efficient digital environment for individuals and businesses alike.
To seize these opportunities, OP Lab and the EU-funded Powered by Blockchain project organized a seminar day and an online hackathon in collaboration. The aim was to explore the disruptive potential of SSI technologies and institutional decentralized finance.
Kicking Off the Hackathon Challenge
The event’s main theme was Digital Identity as an Enabler for Open Decentralized Finance. The emergence of SSI technologies has opened new opportunities by enabling verifiable credentials for identity and data verification. The hackathon and seminar day aimed to educate participants on leveraging these technologies to transform the world of finance. The live event, bringing together tech professionals, students, and companies, was recently held in Oulu, Finland, and streamed online for a broader audience to participate.
Read the full Digital Identity Hack description here.
Challenge Objectives and Key Topics
The objective of the hackathon challenge was to develop financial products and services that are transparent, open, and accessible to anyone on the internet. The organizers believed that SSI technologies could offer significant tools for achieving this goal.
Key topics covered during the challenge presentation included combining verifiable credentials with blockchain technology, checking identity and other data attributes in transactions, controlling transactions automatically through smart contracts based on verifiable data, and creating confidential private transactions while verifying identity data.
Participants were also presented with example approaches to the challenge, such as how to verify financial compliance like Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML), how to check company employee credentials to proceed with company transactions, and how to verify investor accreditation.
Inspirational Case Studies
During the event, several intriguing proof-of-concept case examples were highlighted, providing valuable insights into the promising potential of this innovative and uncharted domain.
Onyx by J.P. Morgan explored the use of verifiable credentials and blockchain technology in foreign exchange transactions through Project Guardian. This concept demonstrated that by utilizing tokenized forms of cash and proper authorization, it’s possible to create decentralized financial services with the necessary safeguards in place.
An intriguing case from Finland, Project Jupiter, explored trading non-listed company shares with SSI and blockchain technology. The network simplifies the stock ledger, issuance, and trading processes while ensuring seamless information flow between stakeholders. This innovation reduces administrative burdens and enables new financial products and aftermarket services.
Submission Evaluation and Objectives
The hackathon submissions were expected to be technical solutions rather than just concepts, with must-haves including a five-minute video presentation with a technical demo and shared code. Evaluation criteria were based on technical implementation, innovativeness, scalability, and commercial potential.
The awards ceremony took place two weeks after the kick-off in a separate online event, where participants had the opportunity to pitch their solutions and winners of the challenge were announced. The hackathon was challenging, as it required participants to implement new technologies and produce innovative solutions for specific business challenges.
A major focus of the hackathon was the implementation of SSI with the Findy Agency to create a new generation of online solutions. Findy Agency empowers individuals with control over their digital identities, allowing them to share their information securely and selectively.
Learn more about Findy Agency here.
The team submissions demonstrated a great variety of interesting future solutions. One team of innovators tackled the financial sector’s pressing issue of global online identity verification for salary payments. By developing a global digital employee verification solution, they streamlined the process and reinforced compliance, thus easing the challenges faced by institutions in confirming identities across borders.
Another topic addressed in the team submissions was the urgent need for innovative solutions to combat climate change. One standout concept involved a circular economy for environmental certificates, making it possible to invest in or directly sell forest resources. This model promotes sustainable forest management and encourages participation in green initiatives.
One of the submissions also displayed a practical solution for job applications using digital credentials, streamlining the process by providing verified information on work experience and education. This approach holds promise for simplifying the hiring process and increasing trust between job seekers and employers.
All in all, the hackathon demonstrated the incredible potential of self-sovereign identity and verifiable credentials in addressing critical issues faced by society today. As these tools continue to be refined and implemented, we can expect to see a more trusted and efficient digital landscape in the years to come.
Pioneering the Future of Technology
Self-sovereign identity and verifiable credentials are powerful tools that can create the much-needed trust in the online space. These tools allow individuals to own and manage their personal data and control how it is shared, making it more secure and reliable. With the rise of digital transformation, these tools are becoming increasingly important in ensuring the security and privacy of individuals and businesses online.
As the future of decentralized finance continues to unfold, this event offered a glimpse into the innovative ideas and technologies that may shape the industry in the coming years.
Project and event information
OP Lab arranged the seminar day in Oulu, Finland, and the two-week online hackathon during February in collaboration with Powered by Blockchain project. Powered by Blockchain-project is a collaboration project between University of Vaasa, University of Oulu, University of Lapland and Kajaani University of Applied Sciences. The project is funded by European Social Fund.
Find more information about the project here.