The SSI Roundup: October 2019

The SSI Roundup, October 2019 Edition


Between the Internet Identity Workshop (‘IIW’), Sibos, ID2020, and MyData, we’ve had a busy conference month – here is the next installment of our monthly newsletter to give you the latest SSI stories and developments. 

It’s also been a great month for Evernym and our customers; since our last newsletter, we announced an $8M financing round, the approval of a W3C Decentralized Identifiers Working Group co-chaired by our own Brent Zundel, and a project with Deloitte, Onfido, and four UK FinTechs. We’re also thrilled to see our customers reaching some exciting milestones, with CULedger announcing their first two production pilots, Truu announcing a new pilot with the NHS and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, and HearRo selected for the first cohort of the SSI Incubator.


Join us for our next webinar: What is self-sovereign identity?

The Self-Sovereign Identity Roundup:

Our Top 10 Picks For October


1. Takeaways from Internet Identity Workshop #29

With 29 conferences now under its belt, the biannual Internet Identity Workshop (IIW) is the longest-running conference in the Internet identity space and arguably the most instrumental in shaping the future of digital identity. 

And #29 was one for the books, with highlights including:

  • Record attendance, with 320 folks flying in from all over the world (up 20% from the previous record)
  • SSI took center stage, and was the leading topic of conversation across three days
  • A shift to production, with over a dozen unique SSI-related demos
  • A heightened focus on interoperability and the convergence of both technology and terminology

Our own chief trust officer, Drummond Reed, who has been to all 29 events, gave an update on his take here: SSI Meetup.


2. Catalan government announces self-sovereign identity project

In September, the government of Catalonia announced its plans for issuing self-sovereign identities for its citizens. Key goals of the project (named IdentiCAT) include giving citizens control over their data and meeting EU guidelines to allow the digital IDs to be accepted in EU countries.

Commenting on the project, Catalonia’s president Quim Torra added that this new project “will allow Catalonia to become the first country in which the citizen is the owner, manager, and exclusive custodian of their identity and their data.”

We’re seeing increasing numbers of governments looking at SSI-based solutions and always welcome being informed of new RFPs or projects you think we should be involved in. 

Read more on Ledger Insights.


3. The W3C approves a new Decentralized Identifiers Working Group

In early September, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) approved a charter (proposed by Evernym and others) for a new Working Group tasked with standardizing the use and syntax of decentralized identifiers, or DIDs. The new group is co-chaired by our very own Brent Zundel and lists Evernym’s Lovesh Harchandani, Daniel Hardman, and Drummond Reed among its founding members.

The purpose of the two-year charter is to propose an official W3C recommendation, which if passed, will make DIDs the first identifier approved by the W3C since the URL. It will also pave the way for true interoperability and mainstream adoption.

Read more on the Evernym Blog.


4. Thoughts on ID2020 and rising to the challenge of #GoodID

On September 19th, hundreds of delegates from across the digital identity ecosystem—including government leaders, technologists, and civil society advocates—gathered in New York for the ID2020 Summit to define and advance “Good ID” for the 1.1 billion people worldwide without a digital identity.

Following the event, Women in Identity’s Emma Lindley wrote a candid piece discussing what it means to rise to the challenge of Good ID and the need for more diversity in the Identity sector, concluding: Digital identity solutions built for everyone should be built by everyone. 

Read more on Women in Identity and follow Em here


5. We’re living in an era of digital feudalism. Here’s how to take your data and identity back

In a new Quartz article, bestselling author of Blockchain Revolution, Don Tapscott, weighed in on the “digital feudalism” caused by tech giants and other firms profiting off personal data. Tapscott identifies self-sovereign identity as a way to break free of “digital landlords” and create a more open, inclusive, and private economy.

“What each of us needs is a self-sovereign and inalienable digital identity, one that is neither bestowed nor revocable by any central administrator and is enforceable in any context, in person and online, anywhere in the world.”

Read more on Quartz.


6. Six ways self-sovereign identity is transforming financial services

On a recent Evernym webinar, we were joined by three customers for a fireside chat on how SSI is transforming finance. The panelists discussed a wide range of benefits and use cases, from KYC and regulatory compliance to customer experience and competitive differentiation. We also heard about exciting developments in recent pilots at CULedger and ATB Financial, where SSI is being used today to radically reduce the time it takes to authenticate and onboard customers.

Read more or watch the recording on the Evernym Blog.


7. Andrew Yang’s plan to make your data yours has crypto written all over it

In his newly revealed “Data as a Property Right” policy, U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang argues that some companies are making money off of customer data without properly protecting it or informing users about how it’s used. His policy proposes seven rights around personal data, including the right to port your data to a different platform and the right to know what data is being collected about you.

If this sounds like self-sovereign identity, you wouldn’t be alone in making the connection. A recent Decrypt article points out the link between Yang’s vision and the fundamental goals of blockchain—and interviews the Sovrin Foundation’s Phil Windley on how SSI is laying new ground rules for data ownership.

Read more about the breach on Decrypt.


8. Digital credentials for higher education and employment verification

The practice of selling fake university diplomas has become a billion-dollar industry, watering down the value of prestigious degrees and leading to life-threatening hiring mistakes in high-risk industries like healthcare. To enable better verification of academic and employment credentials, organizations like Truu and the NHS are turning to self-sovereign identity as a way to issue and present credentials in a tamperproof, verifiable, and cryptographically secured format.

We’re already working with several Universities, and you can expect to see more from us in this area soon.

Read more on the Evernym Blog.


9. Self-sovereign banking putting you back in control of your money

While cryptocurrencies may hog the spotlight, decentralized digital identifiers have the potential to enable a much greater transformation of today’s financial services. This Forbes article explores how “self-sovereign banking” can tap into the benefits of crypto to help banks take a customer-first approach, protect consumer interests, and facilitate an open marketplace for finance

In other words, central banks can view crypto as a growth opportunity, not a threat.

Read more on Forbes.


10. Self-sovereign identity systems: How businesses win from letting go of customers’ data

If there’s one theme of this month’s Top 10, it’s that customer data belongs to the individual. We saw this with Catalonia’s new digital citizen IDs, Don Tapscott’s call for an end to “digital feudalism,” and Andrew Yang’s proposed policy on “data as a property right.”

Our last article shows how it’s not just consumers who will benefit from regaining control of their data: Businesses will benefit as well. This article explores how customer data is increasingly becoming a liability, with the costs of data breaches and compliances continuing to skyrocket, and the way in which self-sovereign identity can alleviate that liability. 

Read more on Hackernoon.


Meet the Evernym team at an upcoming event


  • Berlin: Diffusion 2019 (Oct 19-20) – we’re volunteering as judges and technical coaches at Outlier Ventures’ hackathon, where attendees can work with Evernym’s products and tools to create their own self-sovereign identity systems.
  • San Jose: Samsung Developer Conference (Oct 29-30) – Evernym’s Drummond Reed will be there presenting on SSI
  • Geneva: ITU Financial Inclusion Conference (Dec 4-5) – Evernym’s Andrew Tobin will be presenting four sessions
  • London: Goode Intelligence Identity Summit (Jan 30) – Evernym’s Andrew Tobin will be there presenting on SSI / BYOI

Outlier Ventures' Diffusion 2019


And that’s a wrap! 

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