Are Self-Sovereign Identities on blockchain technology the future?

FutureLearn Limited

Self-Sovereign Identity (SSID) uses blockchain technology to create a tamper-proof identity record that allows you to manage and control your own identity and credentials data, without the need for third-party verification. It can be used to prove who you are to websites, services, and applications and is one of the most important uses of blockchain technology as Web3.0 develops. This could have a major impact on the way we currently operate, and could even lead to a future in which we don’t need banks or other institutions to manage our finances.

As Self-Sovereign Identity becomes more popular and increasingly important as the internet continues to grow and become more connected, it’s important to question the long-term viability and key benefits.

What is self-sovereign identity?

Let’s face it, most of us are frustrated with the paper bureaucracy involved in proving who we are, and indeed, sometimes that we are a human being.

Self-Sovereign Identity offers a simple solution to these problems by putting us in control of our identity information, which means that only people we want can access our personal information.

The self-sovereign identity model is based on a digital signature, which is used to certify an individual’s identity information. This digital signature is then verified using the user’s public key and stored using distributed ledger technology (blockchain) to ensure the security of the system.

By eliminating centralized identity systems, this technology allows users to securely, privately and safely verify their identity across multiple platforms, and, unlike traditional IDs, gives the user complete control over their own identity information.

More importantly, it has the potential to instil trust and freedom in our digital world.

While Self-Sovereign Identity systems are gaining traction, many obstacles remain. It’s important to keep in mind that self-sovereign identity is not intended to replace existing identity management systems; it will co-exist with them in the future. This is why interoperability is an important consideration in Self-Sovereign Identity implementation.

Integral parts of self-sovereign identity

Verifiable credentials

A Verifiable Credential is a set of encrypted data that enables verification from any location. It also enable users, individual or business, to verify their identity without revealing their name and is a secure way to sign in to online services. It is also possible to access Verifiable Credentials through Web Wallets, which are digital wallets that are accessible anywhere.

Based on a common format they can be issued by a single issuer or by multiple issuers, and also offer both user and receiver the option of choosing which information to include on the credentials.

They:

  • Can be shared in partial forms, which allows for minimal disclosure of the information. For instance, a student might be required to present several attributes from different issuers when applying for a master’s degree, such as an academic diploma, a birth certificate, and a government-issued personal ID.
  • Can be used as a form of identification, such as a driving licence, and can be used to verify the identity of a person, verify the validity of the credential, and access personal data.
  • Can be used to enhance business processes where documentation exchange is important.
  • Are essential for the security and trust of identity data in both government and private sector applications, e.g., the British Columbian government is utilizing the technology, and the German government has a program in place to support the development of this technology.

Verifiable Credentials are one of the most important recent innovations in the field of digital identity and allow users to exercise greater Self-Sovereignty over their personal data.

Decentralized identity

While decentralized identity has its challenges, it has tremendous promise for the future of digital identity.

In a decentralized identity system, instead of users storing their identity on a third-party service, they control their identity from their smartphone. This technology can make it easier to exchange data with trusted third parties.

A decentralized identity system:

  • Makes it easier to exchange data with trusted third parties
  • Protects a user’s digital identity from tampering by individuals
  • Eliminates the need for users to re-identify themselves for every action

It’s possible for users to access their identity with a crypto wallet stored in a decentralized database. The blockchain technology also provides security by proving that a user’s selective representation points to the right identity.

Another advantage of a decentralized identity system is that it gives users full control over their privacy and the extent to which their information can be shared. This feature can help users monetize their personal data, while reducing the risk of massive data breaches and abuse.

However, decentralized identity solutions are much more than just a way to create a decentralized identity.

Self-Sovereign Identities can be used to inject trust and transparency into digital learning and work ecosystems. An individual can add any number of verifiable credentials to their Self-Sovereign Identity wallet, which can then be shared with other entities that participate in the Self-Sovereign Identity system. These credentials can be used to establish trust with any other entity using a decentralized identity system.

Benefits of Self-Sovereign Identity

Lifetime portable identity

Cyberattacks are an increasing hazard in our increasingly online lives. The main purpose of the attacks is to undermine society by stealing our personal information. The ramifications of cyberattack can be catastrophic for individuals, businesses, and governments.

To prevent the loss of this sensitive data, a secure backup mechanism is required. One that can provide a high degree of security. However, such a solution requires that it be available everywhere and that digital credentials are ubiquitous and available on a variety of platforms.

Self-Sovereign Identity has a number of advantages. One of these is that verified credentials would be available to any entity that uses a self-sovereign identity system. This makes the system ideal for organizations that need to verify their customers, because they can share their verified credentials without worrying about fraud or data security.

Another advantage is that Self-Sovereign Identity aims to provide the most secure identity possible for consumers. It reduces risk for everyone involved, and is fully compliant with privacy regulations. Self-Sovereign Identity also allows for seamless integration across multiple platforms.

Security

Security is a key feature of Self-Sovereign Identity.

In the past, passwords and third-party applications have protected users from online fraud, and more recently, technologies like biometrics and dual-factor authentication have been introduced.

In contrast, Self-Sovereign Identity improves the security of online transactions by using blockchain technology to create an independent digital identity.

It makes it easier for businesses and governments to verify a person’s identity even if the issuing authority is no longer in existence. In particular, it is very useful for refugees and asylum seekers, whose identity information may have been lost, and for the more than 1 billion people do not possess recognised identity documents. Without these documents, they cannot get healthcare or access other basic services.

In the health care industry, ensuring the identity of a patient is essential. There are a variety of systems involved in the process of providing complete medical care, and these systems do not always communicate with each other. By using Self-Sovereign Identity, healthcare providers can ensure that a patient receives the best care they need and that their sensitive information is kept secure.

Privacy

Self-Sovereign Identity enables individuals to protect their privacy and personal data by shfting identity and credential management from the client-server model to a peer-to-peer system. It relies on blockchain technology and public-key cryptography to create a secure peer-to-peer channel between identity owners and identity verifiers. In this way, users control who can access their credentials and when they can share them

As more services move online, consumers are increasingly demanding privacy controls. This system is helping to create a new type of individual orchestrator and help companies avoid the fragmentation that plagues existing identity models by creating secure, tamper-proof credentials where consumers are able to verify themselves anywhere and in any situation.

In addition to preventing identity theft, Self-Sovereign Identity systems are highly resistant to hacking. A person or organization can issue claims and choose which ones to trust based on the verifier’s judgment. This makes Self-Sovereign Identity systems extremely flexible. Another advantage is that they don’t need a central directory to ensure security.

Reduced costs

With a Self-Sovereign Identity, users are able to revoke their credentials without leaving their identity wallet. This reduces data management costs and increases the efficiency of identification processes, while putting people’s privacy first. The use of such systems has a number of benefits for businesses, including reducing costs associated with maintaining a database of personal data.

Conclusion

The threat of identity theft is very real for businesses, and companies must take the proper steps to protect their users’ personal data.

Self-Sovereign Identity is a digital movement that recognizes that the individual should control and own their own identity.

According to experts, Self-Sovereign Identity is only a matter of time. Once all the issues are addressed and critical infrastructure put in place, it is anticipated that people will start using it in large numbers. At that point, many companies will also have to re-evaluate how they handle personal data and security risks associated with it.

To sum up, a digital identity wallet will empower individuals to interact in the digital world with the same level of freedom they enjoy in the offline world.

Kook Content

Kook is a copywriting and content creation agency. They work with SME businesses and large start-ups managing projects, creating copy and social content, and occasionally providing voice overs!


CFI


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