Crossing the Chasm

Bringing self-sovereign identity to life.

Here at Evernym we consider ourselves to be in a very privileged position: we get to tell the world about Self-sovereign identity (SSI). In fact, we’ve already spoken to hundreds, perhaps thousands of people from all over the world, in nearly every market imaginable. Frankly, it’s infectiously fun to be part of the SSI revolution. This new technology will create exceptional amounts of opportunity across the globe and may finally right the wrongs of much of today’s digital identity woes. There is almost no industry it doesn’t touch.

The questions that we’re most often asked are ‘when?’, followed by ‘how?’.

When will this technology take off in a meaningful way?

When should I start experimenting?

When should I invest in development?

How should I experiment?

How should I get involved?

How will this affect my business?

From our vantage point, the answers seem rather obvious — and the ‘when’ is a lot sooner than you might think. Certainly soon enough that investment and exploration should be top priorities. In terms of the ‘how’, we’ve conveniently got the tools and expertise to help.

That said, with any new technology, there is a well-trodden path towards market adoption and ubiquity that one must follow. SSI is no different. We need to get out of R&D labs and into production, ‘crossing the chasm’ so to speak. Innovation teams are wonderful, they’ve self-selected to be interested, they’ve studied the technical white papers, and they’re a huge asset in building credibility within an organization. But we only really start to create impact when we take our learnings out of the Lab and into the real world.

To drive uptake and to achieve adoption, we need to simplify the message around SSI. The value proposition needs to be crisper, and we need to lower the barrier to understanding. Essentially we need to be able to explain to a wider audience the when, the how, and additionally, the why.

Naturally, and because we love a challenge, we’re also contending with the world’s realization that blockchain is not quite a panacea for everything.

One answer, of course, is proof. Not proof that the world needs SSI, that argument is made convincingly by Equifax, Facebook, and whichever data-silo-house-of-cards is next to fall. Nor should we hope to find some magical proof that blockchain technology can or should solve all problems for all people today.

We need real, demonstrable proof that in leveraging blockchain technology, true SSI can be achieved, and that far from being an end unto itself, the human and business benefits more than justify the investment — and we need to do so in way that can be easily understood by a broad audience.

Enough talk, enough theory, it’s time to walk the walk

With this in mind, we’ve been busy building software that works seamlessly with Sovrin, and which really brings SSI to life in a meaningful way. Let’s skip past the techno-babble and take a look at the implications for the user. How much faster, simpler, better, does it make their experience? And, the elephant in the room, why would any organization care?

To this end, we’ve partnered with some of the most innovative organizations in their respective industries, who all share our passion for privacy and user-centric customer experience, to deliver the ‘Job-Creds’ SSI project. It brings together our partner IBM, alongside ATB Financial, the Sovrin Foundation, Workday, and Evernym, and for the first time gives us a glimpse of what an SSI world will look like. Best of all, it demonstrates a vastly improved user experience, while cutting costs for every organization involved, through streamlined processes.

The project was designed to prove the viability of SSI as a solution to actual business problems in a realistic way. Beyond the video, this project is growing organically, and there’ll be some more exciting names joining soon.

Job-Creds is one of several projects we’re actively working on to prove SSI is ready for the prime time. We’ll shortly be releasing further news and results from that project, as well as officially introducing our ‘Accelerator’ program, a curated SSI community, so stay tuned!

Update December 2018 — Follow the next installment of our getting to market strategy here: