The number of people using government-issued digital identity credentials will grow by over 150 per cent from an expected 1.7 billion in 2019 to over 5 billion in 2024.

The figures are contained in a new report from Juniper Research.

Emerging economies in Asia and Africa are some of the biggest markets, as countries leapfrog analogue identities to benefit from the efficiencies digital registration and management bring.

The new research, Digital Identity: Technology Evolution, Regulatory Analysis & Forecasts 2019-2024, shows that those countries unencumbered by legacy systems are following Estonia’s lead of rapid digital identity development.

For example, almost 12 million people in Malawi are expected to have digital identities in 2022, with Nigeria and other countries supplying digital identity to over 420 million people on the continent on both cards and apps.

Governments typically provided such cards, which many people in more developed countries have previously rejected. Juniper anticipates that markets across Europe and North America will be led by the financial services sector and digital driving licences, rather than formal government identification.

Juniper Research believes mobile single sign-ons will be a large part of several digital identity platforms, with over 1 billion users by 2023; generating over $5 billion in revenues that year.

Blockchain and the self-sovereign identity movement are part of this future, but will be a small piece of the puzzle, despite average yearly growth of 35 per cent; less than 10 per cent of dedicated identity apps are expected to be blockchain-based by 2023.

“We expect strong growth in blockchain-based digital identity solutions over the next five years,” said research author James Moar.

“However, with simpler apps being quick to develop and almost indistinguishable from a user perspective, companies and operators will need to be the ones to drive the use of self-sovereign identity forward.”

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