USB drive, reimagined

Identification Applications Potential Using Hashing in USB Drives

Trivandrum airport

Here I discuss the potential uses of USB drives embedded with hashing functions in order to identify people in a more efficient and accurate way.

The need of identification

In the past, the only thing that separated James from Bob was the family they hailed from. As more Bobs and James came into existence, there needed to be a way to distinguish all the different variations of Bobs and James, and so last names came along.

Populations continued to grow, and soon there were duplicate first and last names, and in a SQL database where a column gets a duplicate value where it can only accept unique values, it would crash entirely.

The issue with current identification systems

As a result, the social security number was introduced, a 9 digit identification number which is always unique to a unique person, as it can never generate one which has already been created. This too however, has a maximum amount of unique combinations, and when the 999,999,999th US citizen is born, some numbers would either have to get recycled for someone else, which causes legal and political loopholes.

How hashing can solve this issue

But let’s say we use an algorithm to generate a unique value for a unique person. We do not have to rely on primitive integers which are too limited for an ever growing and ever smarter population, but rather on a hashing algorithm called Secure Hashing Algorithm.

Secure Hashing Algorithm, or SHA, comes in many different flavors, with different hashing rates and outputs. It was developed by the NSA in 2001, and for what reasons we will never know. What we do know is that bitcoin relies on the SHA256 specification to generate a unique identifiable value for each transaction done on the blockchain, which turned out to be quite reliable and secure.

Using the SHA256 algorithm, we can generate a total of:


unique values with a combination of characters and characters, or 2 to the 256th power. I’m not an IBM quantum computer, but I’m very certain that this value is higher than 1 billion, and very certain that the human race will have colonized the entire Milky Way Galaxy before we even reach half of the SHA256 limit.

But how can this algorithm help us today? Well perhaps the human population isn’t in the quintillions, but we do have over 8 billion people, which means that the social security number is not enough. If we were to implement a SHA256 algorithm and generate a unique hash for every person on earth, it would solve 3 things very important in identification integrity, which is:

  • Everyone has a unique hash which can not be recycled, no identification confusion.
  • Could be implemented globally, meaning it is compatible in all countries, which could mean borders and trade inefficiencies becoming obsolete.
  • Extremely difficult to forge, you can remember 123-456-789 but good luck remembering 74B550EB6B03B33E7A5B1A147E85FCBDFEB3B29099AF09D2AC448B909B801202.

The derivative uses from ID hashes

This unique self identifying hash could be stored on your person, much like a drivers license carried everywhere with you, in an i-SECUR drive for example, and from there it can serve a wide variety of current and future needs, such as:

  • Be used as a banking address, rather than a 16 digit number, expiration date and CVV, just plug the USB drive in an ATM and withdraw or deposit cash or crypto.
  • Be used as a passport, just connect USB drive into an airport terminal and confirm your flight. Estonia has experimented with a digital residency card, called e-Residency where one can acquire digital citizenship.
  • Be used as your drivers license and ignition key, as cars in the future might completely do away with physical keys and instead use a digital key, such as public key, and your USB drive could have the private key to match with your cars public key, and of course the drive could be used to identify yourself and your car insurance if you happen to get pulled over.

Some will say that putting all your important information into one device sounds quite dangerous, but considering that most people carry their phones, keys and wallets everywhere they go, which contains 99% of their valuable data, then I urge them to wonder if this is such a big change. I would even argue that centralizing your data, not through a cloud service, but in personal drive, is more efficient and reliable as you do not have to run a checklist of things that you need on you whenever you go somewhere, just the i-SECUR drive.

How the i-SECUR can make your life easier and safer

Current identification technologies such as the magnetic strips on your drivers license or credit card can store barely any information, just your name and your number, but an i-SECUR USB drive for example, with a flash memory bank and microcontroller, can not only store billions of names and numbers, but it can also last for decades due to its non volatile memory architecture.

Of course, if you do happen to lose it, well, you will have to get another one in a trusted government facility, and go through all the troubles of confirming your identity, but that should serve more as an important lesson in managing your property than a problem with the system.

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