Welcome to IOP
We’re building a global trust network with the everyday tools you’ll need to control your destiny. From your personal identity data to private communication and online services, the Internet of People is reimagining a freer, fairer world.
Challenges to overcome
The education sector comes into daily contact with the concept of identity, e.g. when verifying claims such as age-based eligibility to enroll in a course or high school grade performance.
Yet the processes involved in confirming identity, sharing data and verifying claims are expensive, limit access to education, and erode privacy.
The offline process of verifying identity or credentials usually involves a physical document that is then checked by a person rather than an automated system. Not all student passports or qualification documents are alike, however. Without a set of standardised credentials needed for automation, human beings must use experience, context, and judgment. The process becomes both costly, time consuming and vulnerable to errors or abuse.
Technology hasn’t helped
Remote verification of claims becomes even harder as recipients cannot always be certain with whom they’re communicating, or that the documents being transmitted are real. Existing solutions to both offline and remote claim verification have so far failed to bring down costs or reduce processing times, and are often complicated by system incompatibility.
Insecure and inefficient
The process of accepting, issuing or verifying personal data also presents large organisations such as universities with an array of security and privacy challenges. The secure storage and transmission of data, and its associated compliance obligations, have become expensive, while the storage of data in centralised silos creates a tempting target for cybercriminals.
Institutions are also receiving and storing more data than is necessary. Although universities often require only abstract data such as high school grades, attendance data and gender, accepted documents often include supplementary information whose sharing is unavoidable.
Another problem unique to the education world is the auditing and credibility of credentials. Qualifications achieved on e-learning platforms are still viewed as substandard, due in part to the difficulty in tracking them, and the perceived ease with which they could be forged.
It’s clear that institutions, learners and future employers need a decentralised source of trust allied with secure communication, that protects user privacy and removes costly intermediaries. With the advent of blockchain technology, an effective solution is around the corner.
Our Solution: Seamless, standardised and decentralised
The IOP platform is a decentralised trust ecosystem which allows individuals to own and control their own online identity.
The essential building blocks of the IOP technology stack include a public, open source blockchain, the Mercury secure peer-to-peer communication protocol and Morpheus, which powers our version of Decentralised Identifiers (DIDs).
How we use DIDs for personal data
DIDs are a form of URL which point to documents containing information such as public keys or other information which can be used to verify a piece of data. As they contain no specific personal information, DIDs are pseudonymous identifiers that cannot be pieced together to trace a user’s real-life identity.
Users can create a limitless number of identifiers which together make up their digital identity. By compartmenting their virtual life in this way, users are able to selectively grant access and revoke access to specific data to verify a claim without compromising their privacy.
In the case of a student, they may create and share DIDs related to their age, address, course attendance, previous qualifications, and test scores. They can then grant access to prove their eligibility for course enrollment without ever needlessly sharing additional data, while universities need not rely on central authorities to confirm information.
Why secure communication is essential
Claims are sent and verified via Mercury which employs two-way authentication of DIDs to assure both parties they are communicating with the correct person. Data need never leaves the user’s device, reducing the university’s data storage and cybersecurity obligations.
As well as decentralised identity, IOP’s education vision includes the provision of standardized, verifiable educational credentials backed by the blockchain for use by students, graduates, universities and employers.
A freer, fairer world
IOP’s simple, low cost and user-friendly tools will enable universities, institutions and enterprises to connect directly with their users without the cost, inconvenience and security and regulatory liabilities associated with harvesting and storing unnecessary data.
As well as providing a fast, trustless method of verifying identity and sharing compartmented abstract information, our technology will allow universities and students to track and prove attendance, grades and degrees as well as less tangible factors such as quality of education and student satisfaction using mutually provided verifiable claims. Future employers can easily verify grades and credentials without receiving more data than they really need.
The Athena global education network
Through the Athena project, IOP’s platform can also be used for the management of access to online materials and the administration of online testing, while Morpheus and Mercury will allow researchers and teachers to collaborate securely on a global scale using on-chain smart contracts.
Finally, by giving everyone access to their own online identity, IOP is working to improve access and educational opportunities for millions of people who have so far been disenfranchised by the existing framework of centralised corporate and public sector gatekeepers.
IOP is already working with the Autonomous University of Nayarit (UAN) in Mexico to provide the first generation of decentralised IDs for its students. We’re also talking to other institutions across the world to help them to make their digital identity solutions more effective and secure.
Are you interested in using our digital ID solutions for your institution or do you want to work together in a different area?
Then send us your info with the contact form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible!