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Decentralized identity

Decentralized identity definition

Decentralized identity is a digital identity model where individuals have control over their own identity data and don't need to rely on a centralized authority to manage it. For example, this model can use blockchain technology to create and manage digital identities securely, transparently, and tamper-proof.

Decentralized identities can provide many benefits, such as enhanced privacy and security, ownership over your data, and identity theft prevention. But it's a technologically complex process that also has some security risks. In fact, complexity and scalability issues may significantly hinder this model's adoption potential, not to mention upcoming regulatory challenges.

Decentralized identities are similar to self-sovereign identity (SSI), and the terms are even sometimes used interchangeably. However, while SSI is a broad set of principles, decentralized identity describes a specific technical approach.

See also: self-sovereign identity, digital identity

Decentralized identity examples

  • Blockchain-based ID wallets. Digital wallets store and manage a user's identity credentials on a blockchain.
  • Self-sovereign identity (SSI) platforms. Platforms like Sovrin and uPort allow users to create and control their digital identities.
  • Decentralized social media platforms. Social networks where users control their identity and data, like Mastodon.
  • Decentralized domain name services (DNS). Systems like Ethereum Name Service (ENS) which provide decentralized domain names.