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What are Verifiable Credentials and Decentralised Identifiers?

SoftwareOne blog editorial team
Blog Editorial Team
A woman sitting in an airport holding a tablet.

You talk to someone on the Internet. The person seems legit, their profile has a photo, the chat is coherent. Yet the question is – how do you know that this person is who they say they are?In the business context – how do you know that the person reaching out is representing the party it claims to? And you? How people know that they interact with you, and not someone who is claiming to be you? The challenge of "verification" is real.

  • How are verifiable credentials slowly seeping into our online lives?
  • What more can VCs do, beside streamlining hiring processes?

Recent $8 Twitter verification debacle and "Blue Check" drama highlighted that having a reliable way to prove who you are online does, in fact, have some importance. That's why I wanted to revisit the topic of verifiable credentials, which are about to reach wider audiences. The need is only amplified by the rise of LLMs and other "AI" algorithms. When you can generate a picture, chat in a someone's tone of voice and also generate a video and voice of that person "on the fly", how you can make sure that you're speaking with whom you think you are? Online verification will be a big topic for years to come! Yet, everything starts with small steps.In an ongoing pilot, Microsoft is rolling out its Verified ID service in connection with LinkedIn. It allows employees to verify their affiliation with a company using their work email… or with better technology, using Verifiable Credentials.Email verification is simple and known. You confirm that you can receive an e-mail sent to a given address. Verifiable Credentials are a bit more interesting beast. From the outside, there is no difference – you are "Verified" –but the difference is there.

What are verifiable credentials?

In case you missed it, or need a reminder, let's do a quick recap.Verifiable credentials are a digital way to prove a person's qualifications or skills in a secure and trustworthy way. The whole tech stack is built to be able to issue and verify facts about people.In addition, these facts can be verified in a trustless environment where parties are not talking directly one to another. Blockchain technology can be used to hold the information about the fact of issuing VC but it isn't necessary – that depends on the implementation.In the simplest terms, they're digital information about you that you can issue, manage and store yourself, and use to prove facts about yourself to other parties.

Why mention verifiable credentials now?

LinkedIn and Microsoft Entra are working on a new feature, based on Verified ID, that allows LinkedIn members to share their workplace credentials with potential employers. The goal is to streamline the hiring process and reduce fraud.Sounds nice, but what does it do in practice? In essence, you can see that the company has confirmed that a given person is employed there, and proved it by issuing Verifiable Credentials, verified by LinkedIn and reflected on that person's profile. Currently, 22 companies around the world are involved in a trial version of this feature – and we're one of these companies. Our team is working closely with Microsoft to ensure that this new functionality is fully tested and ready for general availability, which is expected in a few weeks.This is a significant step towards making verifiable credentials mainstream. With major players like Microsoft investing in it and making it easily and widely accessible at no charge, adoption of this solution will become much easier in the near future. And, as more companies adopt verifiable credentials, we can expect to see significant improvements in the way we work, making the hiring process more transparent and efficient. It's good news for companies looking for new employees, as the risk of misrepresentation and people posing as someone else will be much lower. At the same time, people will have more control over their careers, being able to advance their paths based on proven skills and achievements.

What's next for VCs?

The potential uses for verifiable credentials extend beyond just hiring, too. For example, they could be used in omnichannel communication, verifying identities across the digital landscape.There are also talks about using them for EU-based Digital Product Passports, to increase transparency across the supply chain, from origin, to transport, to use. The possibilities are endless, and as technology develops, so do the opportunities.If this sounds like something that you'd like to know more about or be a part of, let us know. We can help you get onboarded to the program as soon as it becomes available, so you can be among the early adopters and use this new technology in practice.

  1. Microsoft's Verified ID service, in partnership with LinkedIn, aims to streamline the hiring process and reduce fraud by allowing users to share workplace credentials with potential employers, marking a significant step toward mainstream adoption of verifiable credentials.
  2. Verifiable credentials have loads of potential uses beyond hiring, such as in omnichannel communication. Verifiable credentials may also be used for EU-based Digital Product Passports, promoting transparency across the entire supply chain.


SoftwareOne blog editorial team

Blog Editorial Team

We analyse the latest IT trends and industry-relevant innovations to keep you up-to-date with the latest technology.