How we identify ourselves is changing.

Globalization and digitization are designed to make the world smaller.

But, this is reliant on owning technology. A smartphone, a computer, an Internet connection.

Transactions are turning digital in an unmistakable shift: mobile banking,Apple Pay, Paypal, Venmo, mobile wallets, and now cryptocurrencies. The world is definitely becoming smaller and more connected, but not the whole world. What about the people who are not fortunate enough to own their own device or Internet connection? How do we make sure those people are also connected to the world, and considered equals on a global level? Reliable biometric verification tools and the proliferation of mobile technology will make fingerprints and facial scans the replacements for legacy paper documents. Institutions and governments will move away from centralized databases of records towards decentralized, self-sovereign identity systems that rely on digital verification.A device-free multi-currency cloud wallet, digital identity, and value transfer system will revolutionize access to services and economic rights. It gives people the power to develop economic projects and increase the potential GDP of emerging markets.

Various projects and organizations have already begun the process of creating a digital identity, registering biometrics, and storing documentation online. Estonia has implemented a successful and sophisticated digital society.

But, the reality is they have been unable to provide a digital identity that can be used by anyone on Earth, because digital identities and biometric accesses always require an entry point. In the majority of cases, this tool of entry is a smartphone. Current peer to peer systems require access to an email address or a phone number at least.

Herein lies the problem. Whilst there are 1.1 billion people without an identity, there are over 5 billion without access to smartphone technology. Over two-thirds of the population is hindered from meaningful participation with, and nearly 15% of the population completely left out of, the global digital economy.

‘’ Most developing nations within Africa and the Middle East have very low smartphone consumer penetration, in tangent with sometimes unstable governance that makes establishing a technology-centric economy especially difficult.^1 ‘’

So, Everest approached the challenge of a device-free digital economy with the mission to make it truly global.

Device-free access

The first step to creating a device-free digital economy is to make it inclusive, regardless of ownership or access to technology. To solve this issue, Everest built the Identity Network foundation. This is a non-profit foundation that allows users to register and store their data, secured and verified by blockchain technology. Even those without a smartphone can be registered by Everest agents and provided with a digital identity, EverID, and cloud wallet, EverWallet, linked to their individual biometry hosted in an IPFS storage locker that is completely user controlled.

Through the Everest API, users are then able to interact with their EverID on devices that they don’t own, like fingerprint-sensor enabled ATMs and facial-recognition enabled medical tablets. They are also able to use their identity in apps not provided by Everest, for services like biometric unlocking, simple user onboarding, Know Your Customer checks, and medical form auto-fill procedures.

User-owned data

The next challenge was to create a system that doesn’t rely on a centralized database of user data but gives users ownership of their own information, assets, and funds.

The decentralized structure of the Identity Network foundation means this data is not stored by a single controlling third party or multiple centralized stores of identity data. There are no separate user agreements, each with dense ownership and usage policies. Each user will have control over their own data and wallet, stored on supernodes that are secured with the user’s Public/Private keypair, biometrics, as well as their password/PIN.

To ensure the continued security, the Identity Network will be managed by a board of independent caretakers. These caretakers hail from NGOs or IGOs whose efforts adhere to the principles espoused in the Sustainable Development Goals. The rights of Everest users will never be compromised and their information will never be exploited for profit.

Everest represents an opportunity for every single person to participate in the global digital economy. It will allow access to social, economic, and human rights for 5 billion people without a smartphone. As institutions digitize their procedures to access value, universal digital identity will empower more people, rather than form another barrier to participation. Governments will be able to issue credentials such as birth certificates and driving licenses to people’s digital profile, rather than a device or via traditional infrastructure. Users will be able to pay for services with biometric verification and use facial recognition to share their medical records with doctors.

Everest breaks down walls between people and economic systems. We make it possible for anybody to become part of the global economy and access the rights and value that have been out of reach, simply due to problems verifying their identity or lack of access to global connectivity. Everest is creating an opportunity for 5 billion people to improve their quality of life.

1: https://decentralize.today/blockchain-identity-for-developing-countries-80ce6077ddc0