It was Friday night in New Orleans, and I was ready to kick off the weekend in true local style with a drink. I ordered my favorite wine on a food delivery app, but before the sale could be finalized, the wine store needed to verify my age. Seamlessly, they connected to my digital LA Wallet, and without sharing any extra details, my wallet confirmed I was 21+. Within 30 minutes, I was sipping my wine, in awe of the blend of tradition and cutting-edge technology - technology that I'm fortunate to work on, and also enjoy the convenience of.
Louisiana leads the way with its fully operational mobile driver's license (mDL) system. In the Big Easy, where I live, we go with the flow - meaning you never know what your day may entail. In such a culture, I've really enjoyed the convience of having things like my driver's license and COVID vaccination cards readily available on a mobile app for whenever I may need them.
Recognized legally as an equalivalent to physical identification, LA Wallet is my go-to for age-restricted purchases/entry, voting, and (heaven forbid) police encounters. Because of this, the mDL ensures legal compliance and security while leveraging the convenience and accessibility of mobile technology. They accomplish this by using Verifiable Credentials.
In the simplest terms, Verifiable Credentials are digital versions of traditional documents like driver's licenses, passports, or university degrees. But they're more than just digital copies; they're secured with encryption, making them tamper-evident and instantly verifiable.
When the store connected to my LA Wallet, it wasn't just pulling up a digital version of my driver's license. Instead, the app used a Verifiable Credential – a piece of digital data that proves certain information about me without revealing everything. In this case, it confirmed that I am over the age of 21. The beauty of this system is in its respect for privacy; it didn't disclose my exact age, or any other personal detail that would be available had I shared my full driver's license.
Once my age was verified, the vendor allowed the purchase, and the delivery proceeded as planned. The entire process was seamless, fast, and respectful of my privacy. This is particularly interesting in my scenario where there's likely legal responsibilities for the delivery company as well as the wine vendor to verify my age. My mDL is a trusted source that can provide this proof to all of the involved parties without sharing all of my details.
This experience is a prime example of how Verifiable Credentials can simplify and secure everyday transactions. As we move more into the digital realm, the need for secure, private, and efficient verification methods becomes increasingly crucial. Verifiable Credentials meet these needs by offering a way to share necessary information without over-sharing.
The use of Verifiable Credentials is set to expand in various sectors, from healthcare to finance. As technology continues to evolve, it's exciting to see how innovations like Verifiable Credentials are making our digital lives more convenient and secure. It's not just about the technology; it's about how it enhances our daily experiences, one verification at a time.