Tykn leads the development of the 121's Digital Identity Backend

121 is an Initiative of 510 Data Team of The Netherlands Red Cross and began in 2018. It is a system built on the knowledge and skill of a consortium of humanitarian, technical and academic partners across numerous locations.

121 believes a digital identity creation will speed up Cash Based Aid in the future, by allowing people affected to access aid digitally and safely. 121 co-designs with People Affected by disasters, Aid Workers and People Donating, and uses robust and available technology to create the solutions you need.

Pilots: St. Maarten (2018), Ukraine (2019), Malawi (2019/2020) and Ethiopia (2019/2020).

Who is 121 for?

Malawi Pilot Consortium Members


121 started system design in 2017, and has planned numerous pilots across the globe with academic, corporate and Humanitarian Organisations who believe in what 121 will achieve. If you have any questions or would like to partner or fund 121, please contact us here.

Contributing to an Open-Source and Modular System

121 will be a free software, granting users “the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software”.

The aim is to provide all humanitarian organisations a way to use the software and change it to their will, without charging money and without having to ask us for permission first. To achieve this, we will distribute the software with an open-source license, which we are in process of determining. The open-source technology is used in the tech stack only, excluding the need to purchase software licenses.

CBA and humanitarian programmes dealing with identity are diverse, thus the need to create a ‘flexible toolbox’ of modules anyone can use as needed rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ system, limited to one use case. For example, the identity part of the software is separate from the payment part.

Tykn's Component Description

Tykn Digital Identity Backend System matches inclusion criteria to verified identity attributes in a privacy-preserving manner. This has not been done before anywhere let alone in Humanitarian aid.
510 developed the inclusion algorithm that allows the Humanitarian Organisation (HO) to calculate which Persons Affected (PA) are most in need of aid based on their personal information & context in a fast and fair way.

Tykn transforms the verified personal information into proofs that feed in to the algorithm, which returns an inclusion score. This score gets send back to the HO, without any of the personal details.

The only data sets that are saved are the inclusion scores and a random number that identifies the associated PA in a privacy preserving manner.

Tykn’s Digital Identity Backend System eliminates the usage of centralized databases. Why is this good? Because centralized databases are constantly subject to hacks, leaks or breaches. Tykn’s Digital Identity Backend System allows a Humanitarian organization to issue and verify digital identities of People Affected (PAs) without the need to store their personal data. How does it work? By removing the need to reveal any personal data during the identity verification process to be included to receive aid.

When an identity proof is presented, the verifying parties do not need to check the validity of the actual data in the provided proof but can rather use the Sovrin blockchain to check the validity of the attestation and attesting party (such as a Trusted Humanitarian Organisation) from which they can determine whether to validate the proof.

When an identity owner presents a proof of their date-of-birth, rather than actually checking the truth of the date of birth itself, the verifying party will validate the humanitarian organizations’ signature who issued and attested to this credential, to then decide whether they trust their assessment about the accuracy of the data. The validation of a proof is based on the verifier’s judgement of the reliability of the attestor. Leveraging the Sovrin blockchain guarantees the authenticity of the data and attestations, without actually revealing or storing any personal data on the organisations’ side.

The Tykn Digital Identity Backend System puts the Person Affected (user) in control. This means they control the data as well as which parties they wish to disclose their data to. The user can self-register on their personal phone (or similar device) and create a Digital identity management and access wallet in which they can store their personal details.

They are then able to request identity verification from the Humanitarian Organisation to receive verified identity credentials which can be stored in their personal identity wallet on their phone. The Person Affected is then able to apply for an aid program digitally, if they so wished.

Tykn’s Digital Identity Backend System allows them to prove their inclusion for this program. That means the user can create a Needs Assessment proof using the verified credentials in their wallet. The Person Affected is the only one holding the private key of their identity wallet, keeping them in control.

Tykn’s Digital Identity Backend System is built on: Sovrin technology. Why is this good? Because Sovrin’s ledger enables everyone in the network to have the same source of truth about which credentials are valid, which are revoked and who attested to the validity of the data inside the credential, without revealing the actual data.

Sovrin technology, a distributed, global public utility that establishes a self-sovereign identity network. It utilizes the W3C’s Decentralised Identifiers (DIDs) standard and consequently offers an interoperable identity management system back-bone.

The Sovrin blockchain aims to establish trust between all parties in the network and allows for identity issuance and verification in a privacy preserving manner. Sovrin is GDPR compliant as a user is the only one that holds his own personal data. No Personal Identifying Information is put on the blockchain. This is crucial as a distributed ledger has a high degree of immutability, meaning that anything that is put on the ledger can never be altered nor deleted by a single authority. Putting personal data on the ledger not only puts the privacy of the users in danger (as it will constantly be subject to hacking and data breaches), and violates current privacy regulation (e.g. GDPR; right to be forgotten), it is also not efficient because an identity is dynamic (attributes can change over time e.g. house address or number of children). That is why only pointers, which are the Issuer ID alongside the key from the authority who issued the credential, are stored on the Sovrin ledger.

Do you want to implement SSI?

We've spent the past 4 years building Self-Sovereign Identity tools for organisations such as The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The United Nations Development Programme. Those proven and battle tested tools are now available for all. So that you can quickly launch an SSI-based product with the only SSI Product Suite custom built for you.