Self-sovereign identity definition
Self-sovereign identity refers to a digital identity model where individuals have sole ownership, control, and management over their personal data, without the need for intermediaries or centralized authorities. In this model, users can securely and selectively disclose pieces of their identity to various parties in transactions.
The history of self-sovereign identity
While user-centric identities were talked about since the rise of Google and Facebook that store user data centrally, blockchain technology inspired ideas of a decentralized user identity system through decentralized ledgers.
In 2015, FIDO alliance proposed an identity model based on private, encrypted, and peer-to-peer connections, while in 2016 Christopher Allen proposed the 10 principles of self-sovereign identity. In the late 2020s, the European Union started exploring these ideas through various initiatives.
Self-sovereign identity benefits
- Decentralization. A key SSI principle is decentralization that reduce risks of data breaches.
- Ownership. The user becomes the owner of their data, having the ability to change or remove it.
- Selective disclosure. Instead of having access to every piece of data about the person, companies can only see whatever the person is sharing with them, helping keep user data safe.
- Secure. Due to various encryption techniques, the user’s identity is secure and cannot be tampered with, preventing cyber threats such as identity theft.
- Interoperability. User’s data can be accessed across different platforms and systems.