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The launch of GAIN – Global Assured Identity Network

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

Last week (September 14-15), during the European Identity and Cloud hybrid Conference in Münich, and a day prior to the International Digital Identity Day (IID), a work-group of more than 150 identity experts launched a new global initiative called GAIN.

Global Assured Identity Network (GAIN) is now in a blueprint phase for a proof of concept, yet many financial services players (especially banks!) showed interest in the initiative.

GAIN’s mission is to bring verified identities to the Web, using each bank’s knowledge of its customers to validate their online identities, with interoperability provided by the underlying OpenID standard. Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations oblige banks to ensure that they have validated their customers’ identities. They also have robust systems for authenticating customer logins. The goal is to put these together with an open standard that allows them to offer digital trust services as an API.‘, Diginomica writes in an extensive article on the launch.

GAIN is an overlay network over the internet that consists of accountable participants only. All the participants are identity proofed to fulfil the regulation when opening accounts at their hosting organisations primarily consisting of the banks and other regulated entities. These high assurance attributes are used as the basis of identity information that are passed from the identity information provider to the relying party per the instructions of the End-User.‘, writes Nat Sakimura, a well-know identity and privacy standardisation architect, who also operates as the Chairman of the Board of OpenID foundation, and was one of the co-presenters in Münich EIC2021.

GAIN is build as an network of business entities that follow proven identity standards and can be held accountable for their cyber-actions, all in the benefit of end customers targeting safer transactions and interactions.

All in all, GAIN is thought as a standard of digital identity excellency, where every actor in the network offers a certain guarantee for improving security and privacy over the internet. Especially during this period of digital-interconnectivity that we face nowadays. The effect is global: merchants and individuals could now access all the participants in the network globally just by registering and contracting a trusted and regulated provider. Even though the risk of bad actors can not be completely removed, it is going to be simnifically diminished. The declared purpose of the GAIN initiative is to reGAIN trust for any user in the cyberworld.

The GAIN authors argue that banks need to think globally about this because, while domestic solutions might alleviate crisis, the banks and others will find commercial viability from global interoperability. This level of scale is what will enable them to compete with Big Tech across a range of use cases and remain integral to financial transactions.‘, argues David G.W. Birch, he himself a co-author of the White Paper, in his insightful article for Forbes – ‘Digital Identity Should Be A Big Business For Banks’

GAIN may very well be considered a new milestone for the Open Data concept, as the evolution of digital identity became prominent in the current electronic payments ecosystem. You can find out more about this initiative to re-GAIN trust here.

We are proud that one of the 150+ co-authors to the GAIN White Paper is Andrei Dumitru, digital identity expert at IT Smart Systems.

I do think GAIN will fuel and help the growth of digital business by restoring the trust and accountability of the actors that participate in the ecosystem. I am excited to contribute and look forward to see the first user journeys enabled by GAIN.‘, states Andrei Dumitru.
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