The profound impact the technology will have goes well beyond just public sector IT systems, it represents the most significant evolution of the Internet since DNS, enabling a similar global addressing system but for people and their data. In the same way DNS is implemented through a system of registrars and administered via ICANN, so a similar system will be grown to scale and manage a global network of decentralized identities.
The growing adoption of SSI will form , a global addressing system akin to what DNS facilitates for web domains but for user data, with the required governance administered by the Sovrin network.
In essence it represents a wholesale ‘upgrade’ to the Internet itself, such that these powerful features are built right into it, in the same way HTTP is the common protocol for sharing web information. For example as Namecoin describes the DNS is the current backbone identity system, it translates domain names into IP addresses. It works very effectively but it’s really quite an old technology and thus is ideal for this type of upgrade. Brave New Coin writes about how it will enable what the whole Internet has been calling for, entirely user-centric data portability. Users want the same frictionless experience and control of how their data is used with each and every organization they interact with, from governments through social media sites. Blockstack offers this proposed definition of Blockchain Identity: A blockchain identity (or blockchain ID) is a generic term used to refer to any identity on the blockchain. Users can have one blockchain identity or many and can register them just like one would register domain names or accounts on Facebook or Twitter. In his blog Paul Payam Almasi describes the key relationship to and the role the Blockchain will play, noting a key industry insight:
“As cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance and Coinbase begin to onboard more and more users, they will have the incredible luxury of linking someone’s off chain identity with their blockchain identity. This creates a perfect onramp towards a self sovereign identity model.”
In their guide SearchSecurity highlights:
“In all models of identity management, a digital identity requires identifiers, which ensure the user is who they say they are. However, with self-sovereign identity, identifiers do not need an intermediary. This means that a user’s self-sovereign identity can be registered to a claim, such as a block on a blockchain.”