The Identity Crisis 
Identity is defined in Merriam’s dictionary as “Who someone is”. As the world and technology evolves one can’t help but notice the changes to the notion of who someone is and how this affects their relation to the world. We’ll focus on the problems that affect humans in regards to their identities, dividing the conversation into developed and developing economies. 
The Problems
Developing Economies
Notwithstanding the millions of humans on Earth that literally have no identity, the members of the developing world are victimized and hindered without official forms of identification. Cost and inefficient infrastructure make simple transactions like opening a bank account, obtaining credit, renting shelter, or purchasing transportation impossible.
Human trafficking is fueled by the lack of identification whereby humans are unable to prove their age or origin, creating oppressive environments.

Developed Economies
We live in a world where our identity is not commonly possessed by the rightful owner. Mark, Sergey and Larry have earned an exceptional livelihood selling the attributes of digital identities of members of the developed world. In mainstream products like Facebook, you are the product. You are being sold to marketing companies as a product based upon your interests, locations, and demographics.
Moreover, specific attributes of identity have become vulnerable to attack. Countless stories of cyber-theft occurs where social security and financial data are the eventual goal of hackers worldwide.

The Solutions
Developing Economies
In the developed world the solution to having our identities owned and monetized by third parties is to introduce self-sovereign identity . This is a concept where the individual has ultimate control over their identity and is the final arbiter of who can access and use their data and personal information. This is a new concept in that previous thought around digital identity has always hinged on "identity providers", which are the entities that own and control our identity. Some discussions on "decentralized identity" have defined "decentralized" as having the option of choosing your identity provider. Self-sovereign identity goes further by having the individual be in control.

Note, with self-sovereign identity the individual still has the option of letting a trusted identity provider manage their identity, so we get the best of both worlds.

What makes self-sovereign identity possible today is the convergence of several technologies: Blockchain technology like Ethereum allows for shared, trusted computation that can fulfill the role played by identity providers today. Distributed data storage systems like Inter Planetary File System (IPFS) have the ability to store data in a more efficient way than a blockchain but still benefit from the security of the blockchain. Finally, modern encryption technologies allow for combining privacy with the public nature of the blockchain.

Developed Economies
In the developing world, digital self-sovereign identity can be a big help to refugees and other disenfranchised people. Digital identities registered and controlled through a blockchain require no central company or organization to maintain, and can survive political and social turmoil so that refugees can retain access to their digital identities even under such difficult conditions.

Furthermore, by using bleeding-edge technologies like Enigma & Hawk it would even be possible to maintain a biometrics database that can be linked to the identities in privacy-preserving ways. Even without these future technologies policy architectures like those introduced by Vinay Gupta can provide a policy separation between biometrics databases and digital identifiers to implement privacy protection for biometrics.

Our Implementations
We at ConsenSys have already started building the next generation of digital identity systems, built using the Ethereum blockchain and IPFS. Our uPort digital identity platform is currently in an MVP stage and is already used in several of our projects.

Examples include our uPort platform as a basis for digital identity based on AML/KYC (Anti-Money Laundering/Know Your Customer) protocols for our derivatives prototype, the Ethereum Total Return Swap (eTRS), the Regis Registry builder, the EtherLoan P2P-lending platform, the Inflekt Events management platform and a Threaded-discussions platform.

We are currently working on the designs and implementation of our Selective Disclosure features, where the user can encrypt the attributes associated to their identity and selectively choose which other identities they wish to share those attributes with. This is crucial in digital identity systems for governments and banks where the data attributes can be very personal and sensitive. 

By Dr. Christian Lundkvist and Andrew Keys with help from the ConsenSys team  
Dr. Lundkvist’s identity presentation from DEVCON1
Microsoft and ConsenSys release Ethereum Total Return Swap - Invite banks around the world to visit Microsoft Center of Excellence to learn blockchain
Last week, Microsoft and Consensus Systems (ConsenSys) unveiled Ethereum Total Return Swap (eTRS) to the developer and architect decision makers of Microsoft’s financial banking clients, such as Morgan Stanley, Reuters, Citibank, JPMC, Bank of America, among others attending the Connect conference. eTRS serves as a proof of concept for Microsoft’s banking clients to learn about blockchain technology and highlight the blockchain benefits of workflow improvement, risk reduction and settlement cost savings.

Specifically, the eTRS affords two counterparties whom do not know each other to enter into a MSFT/Gold total return swap. At the onset of the transaction, both counterparties’ identity and reputation are accessed via their blockchain wallets to address AML/KYC attestations as well as collateral requirements. The swap terms are entered into a smart contract and published on the blockchain in conjunction with a storing of the associated ISDA agreement on IPFS. Upon electronic signing of the agreement both counterparties receive the T+0 execution and settlement confirmation via our Balanc3 triple entry accounting application. Each counterparty’s internal accounting system receives the proper debit/credit journals for the trade and collateral posted as well as an immutable entry on the blockchain. Throughout the swap term, risk is reduced by real time automated collateral rebalancing from price and reputation changes. Balanc3 is incorporated at each rebalancing until expiration thereby providing the potential for real time regulatory and audit transparency.

Microsoft and ConsenSys will be inviting banks to come to the Microsoft Center of Excellence in Manhattan to meet and discuss this concept and develop use cases on Ethereum to support their operations and expand their capabilities.
Read about eTRS In the news:  
Blockchain Underpinnings
JSON-RPC is a data exchange protocol that allows a client (for example: a blockchain explorer) to communicate to a server (your local blockchain node) by issuing commands and listening to responses. As you may guess by the hyphen, JSON-RPC refers to two separate concepts which, when combined together, result in a very widely used protocol.

JSON stands for ‘JavaScript Object Notation.’ JSON is an efficient way of representing data in a human readable format. JSON was popularized in the early 2000s as an alternative to Extensible Markup Language (known as XML) which had been the defacto web standard since the late 1990s. Indeed since its introduction, the notation has largely replaced XML.

RPC or ‘Remote Procedure Call.’ RPC is a concept in computer science that enables one computer to call a procedure of another computer.

The origins of RPC date all the way back to the 1970s when researchers such as Richard Shantz and Bruce Jay Nelson were trying to understand how distributed applications could effectively communicate on the predecessors to today’s internet.
Read the full article
This Week in Blockchain
KPBC dives into Ethereum protocol 
In a blog post earlier this week, KPBC Edge (the division investing in seed stage companies) wrote positively and comprehensively about their foray into developing on Ethereum. KPBC is known for their investments in Google, Twitter, Amazon and Square amongst others.
Why it Matters:  Venture capital has spent in excess of $1B investing in basic blockchain infrastructure such as wallets and exchanges for the Bitcoin protocol. KPBC getting their hands dirty with Ethereum code is an inflection point whereby we are witnessing Tier-A venture capital firms begin to understand the power within Ethereum.
Learn more
Kynetix Announces Blockchain Commodities Consortium
Commodities trading expert Kynetix announced this week their intent to form a consortium that will research and build a blockchain based commodities platform. They will launch the consortium in London today, November 25th.
Why it Matters: A commodities focused consortium reveals the opportunity for blockchain technology to improve industry specific inefficiencies in physical delivery, inventory, warranting, and title transfer.
Learn more
The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) publishes report on Digital Currencies
BIS, an international company limited by shares owned by central banks that serves as “a bank for central banks” released a report on digital currency and blockchain technology. The report posed different opportunities and threats for Central Banks based on the implications of the technology. The report goes as far as hypothesizing the eradication of central banking if there were to be widespread adoption, "The emergence of distributed ledger technology could present a hypothetical challenge to central banks, not through replacing a central bank with some other kind of central body but mainly because it reduces the functions of a central body and, in an extreme case, may obviate the need for a central body entirely for certain functions.”
Why it Matters: BIS is widely respected amongst fiscal policy decision-makers throughout the world. This report will certainly open eyes to blockchain technology.  
Learn more
Quantitative Stats
1 ETH is valued at $0.86 USD, and 0.0026 BTC as of 1PM EST on Nov. 25th
as per , the largest volume trading venue for ETH.
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