By now we’re all familiar with how blockchain technology can and will scale with a variety of platforms. Whether it be sending money, tracking goods on supply chains, implementing cross network communications and transactions, sending private messages, or selling digital kitties — it’s safe to say while there’s a healthy amount of truly innovate tech within the crypto sphere, there’s also a high amount of saturation.
Distinguishing a new project from an innovative or truly ground breaking project isn’t something that you can easily tell the difference in. There’s a variety of projects valued over hundreds of millions of dollars that still have no working product — but have created enough intrigue and packaged an idea to deem themselves a worthy of investors and believers.
The current problem
with identity in the world we live in is the variety of documents each of us need in order to validate and prove our identity. We live in a day and age where we can conduct business in a completely remote fashion but are unable to swiftly change something as simple as our address without logging into a variety of web portals and sending a few emails and phone calls. Where is our virtual equivalent to our drivers license or birth certificate when we need to verify our identity? Why do I frequent 10 websites and have 10 usernames for them all? Doesn’t it seem like we’re dragging our feet in the realm of credentials and personal identity in a day and age where cloud computing and artificial intelligence are becoming mainstream?
Every now and then we witness the birth of a project that embodies not just something real, but something so game changing that it could inevitably affect how identification and privacy are integrated within our society.
Let’s talk about Sovrin. The ideology of Sovrin is to create a decentralized, private, and self-sovereign approach at managing and controlling our private information and identities. This isn’t a far fetched idea, this is a very real solution with very real potential and use cases. Although the token launch is months away, IBM has already been announced as a “founding steward” of the Sovrin Network. Physical credentials are what everyone is familiar with, a hard copy of an ID, and the process of validating the legitimacy of the documents lies on a human to make a judgement.
Sovrin aims to solve both the standardization of the identity format in addition to the verification of them. Their whitepaper talks about this standardized process:
“Standardized network packets enabled the Internet. Standardized hypertext pages enabled the Web. Likewise, standardized digital credentials can enable a worldwide ecosystem of credential issuers, owners, and verifiers all exchanging interoperable verifiable claims as shown in this diagram”
Digitizing credentials is a step in the direction not only for privacy either, there are four major markets that Sovrin aims to change which are: **identity and access management, cybersecurity, RegTech, and data integration**. Very seldom do we witness blockchain projects that scale globally in addition to potentially alter an entire sector (identity) in the process.
The current method in verifying digital signatures is through public key cryptography (PKI) which if you browse the internet, you are familiar with. Your browser verifies the security of the web page you’re on based on checking the certificates. While this system of checking the public keys through an encrypted HTTPS connection works — they are cumbersome, costly, and centralized
The solution Sovrin will bring is based on using decentralized identifier, or a DID solution. A DID allows the identity verification to be under the owners control, has a unique private key and is not rented from a service provider. A DID and DID document will be stored on the blockchain and the key owners decides who all can see or have access to their document(s). Their whitepaper explains the system like this:
“DIDs enable true self-sovereign identity — lifetime portable digital identity for any person, organization, or thing that can never be taken away.”
Just how you can not simply own the internet yet pay for a provider to access it, the ideology Sovrin has on identity is to eliminate the “provider” aspect and to implement a *self-sovereign identity* solution via blockchain that must operate like the internet. Sovrin will create a platform that everyone can use together, while simultaneously everyone owns their pieces individual information on the platform, and can grant access when suitable (i.e. granting permissions on documents for healthcare or travel reasons).
This idea is not farfetched or blocked by any technological hurdles — this is the real deal. Something as grand as the internet, or the blockchain can not be dismissed as it enables humans and our societies to thrive and progress at a faster rate, on all fronts. Identity and private information are due for a technological upgrade, and they will be getting one whether you’re on board or not.
If you interested in reading more about their project — head over to their website and check out the white paper as well.
Thanks for reading —