T:WTF 015 – Why Self Sovereign Identity Is The Real Game Changer

All the people that Pelle Braendgaard talks shit about are now contacting him! This gave us a good laugh but there is a very good reason why. Its called Self Sovereign identity.

Pelle is a Dane, living in Nicaragua, where he is heading up the Consensys office. He is busy working on building uPort a decentralized identity platform at ConsenSys

uPort is an Open Identity System for the Decentralized Web. And this is a very big deal.

Andrew Keys talks about 3 foundational aspects of his podcast. Self Sovereign Identity is the first of those 3 aspects. If you have not heard it – go here: Why The Blockchain Will Disrupt Everything.


So Why Is Self Sovereign Identity So Important?

The word Sovereign means that you have an identity that you are in charge of. You are you and no one else can be you. We have all heard the horror stories about identity fraud!

U-Port is a new kind of identity system where they are trying to go back and like look at what identity and how you turn it into Self Sovereign Identity. This is something that should be under your control.

In traditional Identity systems, this has been under a 3rd part control. As an example, the government will issue you with an ID card.

Yet this is not the big issue about identity. The big issue is about the claims made against an Identity. It is very easy for me to make claims about you, and, you for me. This has a huge impact on how we live, work and play, every day! Self Sovereign Identity starts to solve this problem.

The Banks Dark Net

Another area that Pelle spoke to us about is the Dark Net of Banks.

Banks run international networks like Swift, MasterCard, Visa and so on. They work by having an identity system on top of it and acts as an access control layer.

No-one really knows what actually happens inside there, which is why Pelle calls it the real darknet. It is not transparent, and control sits with these identity silos.

Pelle goes into great detail around this issue and what these silos are and how they operate in the podcasts.

A Decentralised Self Sovereign Identity

Pelle is working with the decentralized identity Foundation. They are busy finalising the standard for a decentralised ID. A kind of DNS for your DNA! Or in blockchain terms – a hash of your DNA! As you listen to Pelle, you will see this is early days for Self Sovereign Identity.

Applications That Are Solvable With U-Port

The potential solutions that come from Self Sovereign Identity are massive. The belief is that apps are going to be more and more important for doing real transactions. This is one of the first problems U-Port is working on.

The identity system will work with Ethereum. They will enable Etherium apps to use the identity infrastructure. Yet, all the actual storage of identity data is off-chain.

U-Port will get the information that will be the signature of statements that you make. Or that other people make about you.

This opens up your personal reputation management based on what you do. As Brett says, your reputation is your brand’s identity.

At the moment you get a very one-sided framework through the current silos. Take a bank as an example. They are picking what they track and they will be missing most of the relevant info that could is traceable.

The Financial Markets

Taking the idea of the bank as a silo. What happens if we open up the idea of Self Sovereign Identity into the financial markets.

You can change everything. your ability to get a loan or financial service gets redefined. Imagine tracking the full spectrum of an identity that’s linked to reputation.

The world of Privacy and The Monetisation of You!

Facebook takes your data and monetises it. It’s a real and massive issue. Stop and think about it.

Facebook is making billions of dollars off their community. Yet they giving nothing back to anyone!

Imagine if I could choose to allow a platform, like Facebook, access to my data. I can start monetising my own wants, needs, and preferences. Given that in many countries people live off a $1 a day, this has a huge impact.

The Self Sovereign Identity Rabbit Hole

In this podcast, we chatted about the different application. The more you look at this, the bigger you realise the need for Self Sovereign Identity is. The application is broad: Real-time voting; land management; the daily management of our taxes etc.

Go listen – it’s quite disruptive thinking!

More About Pelle Braendgaard

Pelle Braendgaard is the Engineering Lead at uPort with more than 20 years experience working with internet technologies in Europe, the US and Latin America. He has worked with a diverse group of services from being Alta Vista’s first web master to investment banking in Deutsche Bank, consumer banking in BRF Kredit to developing secure communication platforms for doctors at Doximity. As an entrepreneur he has worked in early crypto currency startups CorpFlow in the Caribbean and Verax Pay in Latin America. Previously working on bringing Bitcoin to consumers and merchants in Africa with Kipochi.

Pelle’s presentation at the blockchain conference he looked at uPort as a decentralised digital identity system. With it people control and own their own identities, interact with blockchain applications and share only what they want.

The platform is designed in an open way, that allows communities around the world to use it to model and define what an identity means to them.

The Blockchain Africa Conference

Blockchain Africa Conference

Blockchain Africa Conference

The WTF #ThinkDigital Podcast spent two days interviewing many of the groundbreaking speakers at the Blockchain Africa Conference (#BAC18). The big topic was inter-operability and how the blockchain is maturing.



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