The SSI Roundup: August 2019

While August may have flown by, it was a major month for self-sovereign identity (SSI). To recap some of the new developments and conversations, we’ve rounded up our ten favorite stories from the month along with a list of upcoming SSI events and conferences coming in September and October.

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1. Will we still need countries in the future?

What happens to the role of state once currency and identity become increasingly decentralized? If citizens become less dependent on state-issued money and state-issued identity? examines these questions, with quotes from our own VP Product, James Monaghan, who ultimately concludes that the purpose of self-sovereign identity is not to create a wedge between citizens and state, but to empower and benefit them both.

2. OWI State of Identity: Sovrin

One World Identity recently interviewed Phil Windley, the Chair of the Sovrin Foundation, for an episode of its “State of Identity” podcast. The informative interview covers the latest updates on the Sovrin network, the history and challenges of setting up the world’s first self-sovereign identity network, and Phil’s thoughts on Facebook Libra’s decentralized identity goals.

3. Five ways decentralized identity can cut costs and grow revenues

From changing the way we think about personal data to removing the notion of passwords altogether, decentralized identity ushers in a new era of private, secure communication between consumers, businesses, and governments.

Beyond the impact decentralized identity will have on bringing a layer of trust to the internet and putting personal information back into the hands of its owners, the benefits are good for the bottom line as well. On the Evernym Blog, we analyzed five ways SSI can directly benefit profit.

4. South Korea makes a push for self-sovereign identity

A consortium of South Korean banks, telcos, and tech companies have announced progress on a new blockchain-based ID system to “enable individuals to identify themselves and control their personal information.” The solution is expected to launch in 2020, with a handful of pilot use cases—including enabling universities and banks to issue new student ID cards with debit card functionality in as little as three days (instead of the 3+ weeks the process currently takes).

5. Rhythm and melody: How hubs and agents rock together

Those who study decentralized or self-sovereign identity technologies quickly run into two important models. The Decentralized Identity Foundation promotes the notion of hubs—services that help an identity owner manage data and interact through it. Hyperledger Indy and the Sovrin Foundation talk about agents—pieces of software that hold delegated keys, exchange digital credentials, and otherwise do an identity owner’s bidding. While these may sound like competing technologies, the truth is quite different: Like a drummer and a guitarist, hubs and agents contribute in vital and complementary ways to the music of identity. Read the full story on Hyperledger.

6. How self-sovereign identity can solve healthcare’s $496B problem

In the U.S. alone, inefficiencies in billing-and-insurance-related costs add up to over $496 billion each year. Yet, experts at HBR and the National Academy of Medicine agree that most of this cost could be saved with more efficient technology such as self-sovereign identity. This Evernym article examines the root of these inefficiencies and the impacts SSI can have on reducing administrative costs.

7. Capital One data breach leaves 100 million vulnerable

The latest in what has become an all-too-frequent wave of data breaches has left 100 million Capital One customers vulnerable. The breach is expected to cost the company $100-150M USD, according to a Finextra report.

The breach is a stark reminder of the risks of storing personally identifiable information like social security numbers—a problem decentralized identifiers may make a thing of the past. (And as a fun fact, representatives from over 250 banks and financial service companies worldwide signed up for our ‘Self-Sovereign Identity For Finance’ webinar within a month of the Capital One news breaking.)

8. Draining data moats: When consumers take control of their own data

What will happen when regulatory change causes historical data hoarders to be disintermediated and consumers take control of their data? This Forbes article from the Columbia Business School examines the events leading up to this scenario, the technology making self-sovereign identity possible, and the benefits SSI offers both consumers and organizations.

9. Tony Blair calls on governments to embrace decentralized identity

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change issued a report called Transforming Government for the 21st Century that challenges governments around the world to adopt “decentralized electronic identity systems.” In the report, the Institute challenges governments to define their priorities and explore ways in which digital identity solutions can be used to improve their ability to deliver public services.

10. DLT-based identification in the humanitarian sector

While the humanitarian sector is broadly seen as a laggard in new technology adoption, it has not been immune to the hype of blockchain or distributed ledger-based solutions. New service providers are promising to solve a wide range of persistent challenges in the sector and there are a number of pilot projects that have already launched.

In this new whitepaper, the Sovrin Foundation explores two of these pilots: The first, run by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), used blockchain technology for cash transfer programming in Kenya. The second was a cash transfer program for the Za’atari and Azraq refugee camps in Jordan piloted by the World Food Programme.



Meet Evernym at an upcoming event

We’re also bringing our SSI workshop series to Edinburgh, Munich, Calgary, and Chicago. We’re still locking in the dates, but if you’re in any of the cities and interested in a crash course in decentralized identity, shoot us a note.

And that’s a wrap!

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