Have you ever heard of self-sovereign identity? It’s a concept that describes how identity is formed in real life, but it’s a concept that could also become part of your online life thanks to the blockchain.
…….what if you could do that in one place at one time? Sure, Computerworld, Amazon, or whomever would still want to keep an account, and still need your updated address. But that account would be linked to an identity you provide. More importantly, it would be one you control.
Self-sovereign identiy explained
This concept is called self-sovereign identity. Self-sovereign identity starts with the notion that we all are the makers of our own identity, online and off. Because they do not rely on any centralized authority, self-sovereign identity systems are decentralized, mirroring the way identity works in real life.
Offline, our interactions flexibly support the use of attributes and credentials from numerous third parties, all presented by the very person they’re about, typically by taking those credentials out of a wallet or purse and presenting them to someone else to verify. For example, take a driver’s license. States issue it as a credential that you’re authorized to drive. But, it’s useful for a lot more. When you show up at a bar and the bartender wants proof you’re over 21, you show them your driver’s license.
Think about this for a minute and you’ll realized that this is a minor miracle, at least compared to how online identity works. The bar has no legal contract, business relationship, or technical integration with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). They didn’t get anyone’s permission. They just started asking people for their license. The person they’re trying to verify gives them the credential. This works because the bar trusts the DMV to know your birthday. And the important information is packaged in a way that makes it easy to authenticate and difficult to forge.
The offline world makes use of decentralized credentials that are granted to and conveyed by the person they’re about. Identirati call these kind of third-party credentials claims – claims that can be verified as authentic even when they’re conveyed by the subject of the claim. These “verifiable claims” are the heart of self-sovereign identity.
Here’s a little more on Self Sovereign Identity:
Self-sovereign identity is a new term, coined sometime during 2015-2016 (according to Google term search) in the brains of the internet identity pioneers. One of the earliest blog posts on the subject is by a long time internet cryptography and identity pioneer, Christopher Allen. In his blog post “The Path to Self-Sovereign Identity” he describes self-sovereign identity as the latest advancement of identity since the advent of internet. Three previous stages being centralized identity (think certificate authorities), federated identity (single-sign on systems, like social media logins) and user-centric identity (original goal of OpenID, never fully realized).
Read More at Tieto
You can also read this report from Sovrin called “The Inevitable Rise of Self-Sovereign Identity”