Currently, there are 7.5 billion people on Earth, of which, 1.1 billion cannot securely prove their identity. Those most affected by the lack of ID, according to the World Bank, are residents of low-income countries, particularly women and the poorest 40%. Moreover, every year, 140 million babies are born, of which 40 million go unregistered.

Why does this matter?

Those individuals who don’t register their legal identity are excluded from social benefits (ie: health and education) and lose out on their civil rights to vote and travel. They’re also unable to participate in the economy because they can’t sign up for bank accounts, loans, or mobile phone subscriptions.

Given the significant impact that unique identification has on critical areas of human development such as poverty reduction, health, education, and governance, international policymakers have taken action. As a result, The United Nations (UN) and World Bank ID4D initiatives set a goal of providing all the world’s citizens with a legal identity, including free birth registration, by 2030.

National identity schemes are launching all over, as nations around the world are making a major push for digital ID, which governments view as both efficient and affordable. In the past couple of years, we’ve observed how the convergence of legal identity and the adoption of mobile phone usage has yielded in the rise of mobile credentials, a trend that has only been accelerated by the mass move toward touchless transactions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts predict that as we transition into the new decade, the consumer identity and access management market is expected to grow from USD 7.6 billion in 2020 to USD 15.3 billion by 2025. This is reinforced by the fact that we are more connected than ever, with 60% of the world’s population having access to the Internet and 50% of the world’s internet traffic originating from mobile, according to Statista.

That said, however, the surge of cybersecurity threats in recent times calls for stronger security measures, indicating that password-less login and multi-factor authentication (MFA) are expected to take center stage in 2021. That means we’ll likely be seeing more organizations using:

  • Email-based login: Consumers log in through a unique code sent to their email ID.
  • SMS-based login: Consumers log in through a unique code sent to their phone number.
  • Biometrics-based login: Consumers log in through biometric technologies like fingerprint, face, or iris scans.
  • Social login: Consumers log in through their existing social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, or Google.

With MFA, even if one layer of security is compromised, hackers still need to break in through another layer to access your system.

Privacy concerns over digital identity regulation were exacerbated in 2018 with the Cambridge Analytica revelation, which highlighted the need for a robust digital identity framework. As regulatory environments continue to evolve, a close collaboration between financial institutions, public authorities, and digital communications operators will be required to further support effective solutions and the implementation of best practices.