Use of Digital Identity in Peer-to-Peer Economy – Concluded 

Britain is considered one of the most fertile places for the growth of new businesses. One of such areas is Sharing / Collaborative economy, or also known as Peer to Peer economy, which has seen quite a large growth in the recent years. It varies from people sharing car journeys together to sharing spare bedrooms or even entire apartments. This economy has been largely facilitated by digital technologies, however, even with these technologies many startups / companies may find it difficult to enter the market / expand due to regulations that were originally set up with large businesses in mind. Compliance with the regulations is a cost for startups, small and new businesses, that creates barriers to entry or potential fast growth.

One of such potential barriers businesses in Peer to Peer economy have to get through is verifying identity of their users, and some of the attributes associated with that identity, depending on the nature of the business. Individuals who participate in Peer to Peer economy want to make sure that those they are dealing with are real people, but they don’t need to know all their personal information (name, date of birth, address, etc). They need assurance that the other party is trustworthy, will not pose a security risk and will follow through with agreed cost sharing arrangements. They also need some details to address practicalities, such as where to meet and what the other party looks like. However, people do not want to publish details about their location and movements in their ‘real’ name on a publicly accessible website. This would provide too much information to criminals or fraudsters.

This project considers the following hypothesis: ‘Users will be happy to use their GOV.UK Verify identity on a car sharing website and will be also encouraged to share journeys with people who have been verified through this process, without receiving or sharing unnecessary information.’ as well as ‘Use of a federated digital identity, such as GOV.UK Verify, will reduce burden (cost) on businesses for identity verification.’

Project Participants:
DVLA, BIS, Liftshare, Carbon Heroes, GoCarShare, NESTA, GDS


Learn about the results of this project in the White Paper