What’s New In Self-Sovereign Identity? (January 2020)

The Evernym Self-Sovereign Identity Roundup, January 2020

Happy 2020! 

We’re back with our first newsletter of the year, where we’re highlighting how self-sovereign identity (SSI) fits into GDPR and CCPA, exciting new SSI pilots, the role of blockchain in combating deepfakes and location tracking, and a look at what SSI means for both universities and retailers.

We’re also excited to announce a new webinar coming your way on Thursday, January 23 all about what SSI means for universities and their students, alum, faculty, and staff. With 200+ already signed up, this is one webinar you won’t want to miss. To save your spot, RSVP here.

RSVP for our upcoming webinar on SSI for higher education

The Self-Sovereign Identity Roundup:

Our top 10 picks for January 2020


1. The Three Pillars of Self-Sovereign Identity

As awareness of self-sovereign identity grows at an accelerating pace, so too have the misconceptions grown—notions that SSI means putting personal information on a blockchain or that we can all go around verifying our own credentials.

To address some of this misinformation, we wanted to return to the basics and reduce SSI down to its three core pillars: Secure connections, digital data ‘watermarking,’ and a trusted, tamperproof public key directory. 

A venn diagram of the three pillars of self-sovereign identity

The combination of these three components defines the new identity paradigm of SSI. Together, these components provide a new way of securely moving data from A to B, without anyone in the middle snooping on it, and in a way that the recipient can verify the data’s source, integrity, and validity. 

Read more on the Evernym Blog


2. Innovation meets compliance: Data privacy regulation and distributed ledger technology

The emergence of data privacy as a consumer right over the past decade accelerated through a series of scandals and data breaches and reached a crescendo with the introduction of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. Better known as GDPR, Europe established a “gold standard“ for what data privacy should mean for citizens in a connected world. Simultaneously, the Sovrin Foundation showed how a global network for digital identity based around a blockchain could provide this gold standard in practice.

Now, in a new paper, Innovation Meets Compliance: Data Privacy Regulation and Distributed Ledger Technology, the Sovrin Foundation makes the case that self-sovereign identity is the most flexible system for handling data privacy as regulations are adopted in different jurisdictions and evolve to meet changing local needs over the next decade.

Read the whitepaper from the Sovrin Foundation


3. Amid privacy and security failures, digital IDs advance

Self-sovereign identity takes center stage in this Computerworld article discussing how a growing frustration over privacy and security failures is driving interest for a new, user-centric model of identity.

This article highlights how SSI solves many of the shortcomings and security risks we’re seeing today and how early pilots (including those of Evernym customer CULedger) show a promising future for this new technology.

Read more on Computerworld


4. What does self-sovereign identity mean for higher education?

In recent months, we’ve seen more interest in SSI from higher education than from any other sector, and it’s not hard to see why: SSI offers universities a way to not only set their students up for success in their professional lives but in their digital lives as well.

To explore the opportunities facing higher education, we wanted to highlight a few of the use cases we’re currently working on with our customers, along with some practical tips for how universities can prepare for a self-sovereign future.

Read more on the Evernym Blog or hear the authors discuss the post on our Jan 23 webinar


5. What we’ve learned from California’s Consumer Privacy Act so far

In June 2018, California passed a major consumer privacy law called the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). It was the first comprehensive consumer privacy law passed in the United States and gives consumers several important new rights, including the right to know more about a company’s privacy practices, a right to see, delete, and download the personal information stored about them, restrictions on a company’s right to sell their personal information, restrictions on discrimination against consumers for exercising their privacy rights, and the right to sue companies for certain types of data breaches.

While we’re still in the early days—with the law going into effect on January 1—we’re already seeing some important ramifications and a host of “CCPA-like” regulation passing in other U.S. states, including Nevada and New York.

Read more on The Hill


6. An interview with Daniel Hardman, Evernym’s Chief Architect

Few have had a greater influence on the development of self-sovereign identity than Daniel Hardman. His work touches on just about every aspect of the technology, from designing the core architecture as Evernym’s Chief Architect and the Sovrin Foundation’s Technical Governance Board Secretary, to facilitating an open-source community as one of Hyperledger’s Technical Ambassadors, to advancing open standards as a primary contributor to the W3C’s Decentralized Identifiers Working Group.

Tykn recently interviewed Daniel to get his thoughts on the technical underpinnings of SSI, including the risks and challenges facing mass adoption and the decision to write the Indy-SDK in Rust.

Read the interview on the Tykn Blog


7. Credit unions pilot blockchain-based digital ID system

Evernym customer CULedger celebrated a major milestone back in December when it announced the completion of its first three live pilots with major credit unions.

The credit unions (Unify Financial,  Desert Financial, and TruWest) used CULedger’s system (along with Evernym’s Connect.Me consumer wallet app) within their call centers to securely authenticate incoming callers.

CULedger says that the technology helped reduce the time to verify members from more than 50 seconds to under ten. In the longer term, the company hopes to see a reduction in fraud losses, lower member friction, and increased loyalty.

Read more on Finextra


8. Twelve million phones, one dataset, zero privacy

How would you react if someone knew your every footstep, where you went each and every day and when you went there? Unfortunately, it’s not a hypothetical situation.

With the rise of location tracking (which we unknowingly agreed to in the terms of service of even many of the most respected mobile apps), our location is continually tracked and, in many cases, sold to the highest bidder. The data is sold on the basis that it is anonymized and secure, but this New York Times interactive analysis shows just how easy it is to correlate this ‘anonymous data’ back to an individual based on where they’re observed at certain times throughout the day—and sheds some light on what it means for personal privacy and security.

Read more on the New York Times


9. Deepfakes sit on the frontier of digital identity – but operators are more than a match for them

Deepfakes – apparent digital recordings that use AI to generate false representations of people saying things they never said – have been around for more than a year now, but are now starting to permeate the public consciousness in earnest.

This article explores the implications of deepfakes on fraud and the role of blockchain-based identity models, like SSI, in creating a digital audit trail.

Read more on GSMA


10. Nine ways SSI will benefit retailers

As our customer NCR demoed earlier this week with a POS integration for issuing trusted, digital receipts at NRF 2020 (one of retail’s biggest annual conferences), self-sovereign identity is a game-changer for retail.

SSI offers retailers a new paradigm for customer connections, enabling personalized and secure communications with seamless and instant data sharing. For retailers, this means one-tap online checkout experiences, personalized and consent-based customer journeys, and significant improvements across the entire supply chain.

To explore just how much self-sovereign identity can transform today’s retail environment, we highlight nine examples of retail-based use cases our customers are exploring today.

Read more on the Evernym Blog


Meet the Evernym team at an upcoming event

  • Vancouver, CA: Identity North (Jan 22-23) – Evernym’s Drummond Reed will be there discussing SSI standards and the evolving SSI ecosystem
  • Amsterdam / The Hague, NL: Workshop: Migration Towards SSI (Jan 27) – Drummond Reed will share his thoughts on how organizations can get started with SSI in a workshop hosted by the Dutch Blockchain Coalition and TNO
  • London, UK: Good Intelligence Identity Summit (Jan 30) – Andrew Tobin will be there presenting on SSI / BYOI
  • Barcelona, ES: Mobile World Congress (Feb 24-27) – Andrew Tobin will be presenting two sessions on identity
  • Phoenix, US: Hyperledger Global Forum (March 3-6) – As major contributors to the Hyperledger Indy, Ursa, and Aries projects, Evernym will be there in force
  • London, UK: Blockchain Week (Mar 4-11) – Jamie Smith will be presenting
  • Amsterdam, NL: Money20/20 Europe (June 16-18) – Andrew Tobin will speak on what SSI means for banks and other financial service companies


And that’s a wrap! 

If you’d like more frequent insights, be sure to follow us on Twitter and check out our Early Access Plan for tailored learning tracks and the resources, tools, and support needed to build business cases and rapid POCs.