Dispatch from Innotribe@Sibos 2019

Innotribe is always a dynamic and thought-provoking opportunity for voices from outside the finance industry to collaborate at Sibos. At this years Sibos-2019-London, I led a panel discussion of fintech and identity experts to exchange experiences and discuss opportunities as we develop and implement community-driven, open standards for digital identity and global open banking initiatives.

There was consensus that existing identity standards need to be utilized to ensure the identity portable and accessible across many trust frameworks. But we still have to work out how we share data among all the actors including relying parties and intermediaries. And we have to ask how we accept data shared with us? What does trust mean for others? How do we interpret their trust score? How can self-certification help drive trust?

In addition to the fintech solutions and open standards discussions, there is a natural extension of that conversation addressing the consumer and the consumer experience. I also co-presented with Eric Sachs from the Microsoft Identity Team providing a retrospective of the consumer payments space and the consumer login space evolution for managing digital identity.

As social login evolves to support higher-assurance interactions, there is much to learn from the fintech experience. For example, fintech solutions are designed and implemented to deliver high-assurance financial services while social login through social media relies on low-assurance mechanisms. That being said, the identity community has used mobile devices and solution to improve both the usability and security of consumer login.

In the current environment, we find the fintech space has had success with ongoing innovation to offer more choices to users for how to pay for things while improving security and usability and leveraging global standards. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the current consumer login landscape. There are few choices with most solutions still relying on mostly passwords and fewer examples of those improving security and usability.

The FIDO key standard continues to be at the forefront of discussions around consumer solutions as FIDO (Fast ID Online) is used with portable security keys. While FIDO keys actually end up raising the security bar so high that it is not clear how to help consumers recover their account if they lose the keys. There is still a lot of work to be done with respect to keys and consumer solutions.

An innovation and topic that was highlighted at Sibos is the idea of creating identity custodians. An identity custodian could potentially be a positive force for both identity providers and consumers alike. One of the visions is that browsers and operating systems will allow consumers to install these identity custodians just as they install password managers. This would provide the consumer more control of their digital identity and associated attributes. It would allow solution providers to then develop solutions focused on the consumer while leveraging robust, standard based identity solutions already implemented by identity providers.

Important takeaways from our presentation are that “consumer choice” continues to drive digital identity innovation and an opportunity for increasing collaboration between financial services and mobile network operators providing identity services.

Progress is being made, but it is slow. There is positive light in the crossroads of enhanced consumer solutions and identity solutions that are on the horizon underpinned by established, standards-based identity services. And there is a sense of encouragement in the community about the potential convergence of innovative fintech solutions and MNO-based identity services that will continue to drive an increasing mobile world. Interesting times ahead.


Don Thibeau
OpenID Foundation Executive Director