Self-sovereign identity puts your data under your control
SSI is built on privacy preservation to support interoperable ecosystems for enhanced efficiency, trust, and the protection of user rights.
It all starts with three main participants.
A self-sovereign identity ecosystem is built around three primary participants, more commonly known as a trust triangle.
This is the owner of the identity and the holder of the personal data, or credentials, who share their information with others, such as a student or employee.
These are trusted parties that provide credentials to the holders of identities through secure, digitally signed means, such as a college or a training school.
These are the parties requiring to validate the authenticity of identity holder credentials that have been shared, such as employers, authorities, or universities.
What exactly is self-sovereign identity?
SSI puts the identity holder back in control of their data. Unlike current systems, where an email service provider may act as your identity provider, storing all your data in their databases and sharing with3rd parties, a self-sovereign identity is held by you, on your device, be it a mobile phone, computer, or smart card. You create your own unique identifier (referred to as a decentralised identifier – or DID). You then connect your DID to trusted providers, such as governments, local authorities, banks, etc. who are then able to provide you with cryptographically signed credentials, that you store within your identity wallet.
You then retain full control over who your identity is connected to and who you share your data with, and when – if you don’t want to be connected any more, simply remove the connection permission in your wallet.
Let's take a student, Sienna, as an example. Sienna is the identity holder, they complete a course with their college, who as the issuer, issues them a credential for their course completion. The student can now share this credential with a potential employer, who can verify its authenticity, trusting the issuer that has issued it through cryptographic verification.
The value gained.
There is much value to be gained from such exchanges in the self-sovereign identity world. Not just privacy and control for the holder, but also for the issuers, and verifiers.
Sienna gains control and privacy over who gains access to their data and when, and has full portability of their credentials.
Issuer is privacy compliant in dealing with student information, creating a more efficient credential issuance system.
Verifier can easily, instantly verify the authenticity of credentials without any additional resources, time, or third-party assistance.