At the beginning of december, italian digital identity, SPID, has surpassed the 1Bn yearly authentications mark; I suspect it to be a european record (or more).
In Italy there used to be a smartcard based digital identity (CIE/CNS/CPS/CRS) even prior to the introduction of SPID, a smartphone based Digital Identity, that I first proposed in 2013 and that effectively started after the pilot phase in 2016. The adoption grew significantly both in users and in service provider adoption.
The case in Trentino (a small autonomous province of Italy) is very important because there was an ubiquitous deployment of smartcard based digital identity, at Estonia levels as early as the 2010’s, due to an initiative of the province’s administration, which distributed readers to the citizenry. (Trentino has 18% less people than Estonia).
How did SPID fare compared to the preexisting smartcard digital identity ?
Well, SPID adoption (blue) in Trentino has been staggering.
As it can be seen from the graph, most of the growth in SPID adoption occurred in 2020, between June and October (at that time there were no lockdowns or covid pass obligations to drive the increase).
Instead, one can appreciate some degree of substitution effect between smartcard based digital identities: CPS/CNS (yellow) seems to be taken overby CIE (red)
This apparently suggests that persons using smartcards are changing media, but overall smartcard penetration remains essentially stable. (Perhaps this is professional use? Pharmacies? Hospitals?).
Considering these numbers, I would strongly advocate for smartphone-based digital identities, eventually taking into consideration using biometrics as an option for a second/third factor authentication for a higher level of assurance