The Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG) is a global consortium of at least 14 major telecoms carriers. Today SoftBank and TBCASoft announced the launch of the “Identification & Authentication” Working Group led by the two companies.
TBCASoft is a consortium co-founder and technology partner which created a new Carrier Identification System (CCIS) framework. The technology uses Zero-Knowledge Proofs and distributed ledger technology (DLT) to enable consumers to share and verify identities without revealing personal information.
Earlier this week South Korea’s SK Telecom and Deutsche Telekom announced they were working together on blockchain digital identity.
Takeshi Fukuizumi, VP of SoftBank said, “We envision that individuals should create encrypted digital identities, instead of using and storing multiple usernames and passwords on databases here and there with various qualities of privacy protection. We have been working with TBCASoft on solving identification and authentication problems, and have an answer with CCIS. We believe that telecom operators under the CBSG Consortium will play very important roles in the global identity business.”
“CCIS is a global platform that protects individuals’ identities from fraudulent activities with telecom carrier-grade reliability,” said Ling Wu, CEO of TBCASoft and Co-Chairman of CBSG.
Although CCIS will help to address the issues of consumers needing multiple accounts, the solution doesn’t appear to involve ‘self-sovereign identity’ where the consumer holds and controls the data themselves. The announcement stated that “CCIS provides a blockchain-based solution operated by independent CBSG carrier members under a CCIS Cross-Carrier Consensus with carrier-grade reliability.”
Six months ago the group announced a successful proof of concept for an international mobile payment service. Identity and payments are intimately entwined.
The CBSG was formed in September 2017 by US-based blockchain company TBCASoft, SoftBank Corp, Sprint, and Taiwan’s Far EasTone. A year ago LG Uplus Corp, Etisalat Group, KT Corporation, and Telefónica signed up. And in the middle of last year, the group expanded to include Asia’s Axiata Group Berhad, Philippine-based PLDT, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International, Turkey’s Turkcell, Vietnam’s Viettel, and Kuwait-headquartered Zain Group.
CBSG isn’t the only telecoms consortium. There’s the SK Telecom/Deutsche Telekom identity initiative already mentioned. Another four telecoms companies are working together with Clear blockchain technologies for bandwidth-on-demand. They are CBCcom (China), PCCW Global (Hong Kong), Sparkle (Italy) and Tata Communications (India).
Clear and PCCW are also at the center of a consortium that includes Colt, BT, Telefónica, HGC Global and Telstra focused on cross-carrier blockchain settlements.