Why SSI is the Next Trend in Crypto
After the NFTs, it will be the time for SSI
Before we tell you why SSI is the next trend in crypto, let’s talk about what SSI is. It stands for Self-Sovereign Identity, a term used by Christopher Allen in the article The Path to Self-Sovereign Identity back in 2016 and in Self-Sovereign Identity, 5 Years On, in which he explains in detail the development done in this matter.
In this article, Mr. Allen explains the concept very well and we encourage you to read it, but for the sake of brevity, SSI gives you the ability to keep the privacy, safety, and ownership of your online data, and why not, your physical data too.
This will mean a significant improvement, as the situation today is pretty critical. All our data is owned by companies and governments, in their centralized servers, or worst, in “the cloud”. This is a problem for individuals on two levels, privacy and security.
In terms of privacy, our data is subject to several misuses. Every time you register to access a web, app, or online service you are required to give a lot of information to fill your profile. Once you share that information, it doesn’t belong to you anymore. Why? Because we exchange data for “free of charge” platforms. We, as users, don’t get charged, but they charge other companies for the data we agreed to share.
These companies use our information to “improve” their customer preference algorithms to sell us back our data in the form of products and services.
Another misuse of our data is manipulation, does Cambridge Analytica ring any bell? If it does not, let’s remember that the data from 50 million Facebook users were used to try to influence their vote on the election Donald Trump won in 2016 and the Brexit.
When we talk about security, the problem does not turn out to be minor. Companies and governments having our data in their servers inevitably lead to two big concerns, hacking and surveillance.
Happens all the time that our data is hacked from companies and governments’ servers all over the world, in fact, it is so often that we practically don’t pay attention anymore. Can you imagine that the ID database of an entire country gets hacked?
No? Well, imagine again. “A hacker has breached the Argentinian government’s IT network and stolen ID card details for the country’s entire population, data that is now being sold in private circles.” According to The Record. And if you can read Spanish or use a translator, here’s an interview with the hacker himself.
If this is possible for hackers, now think what could be possible for heavily centralized governments that have citizens’ information at hand and systems to track them down on every transaction, move, and buy they make. Do you think this can only happen in China or North Korea? Not so fast! Once more, think again.
Orwell’s novel “1984” doesn’t seem so dystopian now, does it?
Several 1984 books covers from bookriot.com
SSI technology fixes this and will give us the chance to change this reality for one in which respect for our individual rights and liberty is the standard.
So why SSI is the next trend in crypto? Because as people continue to find out that Bitcoin gives them the ability to transact with anyone in the world and DeFi protocols the financial freedom they need, people will have the possibility to protect their privacy and realize the power every individual has thanks to technology and communications.
Beyond these concepts, there is a world in need of real applications.
While now NFTs represent the value of digital ownership, SSI will take it to the next level through improved ownership management of private data.
Content creators could sign their work to verify their identity, in this way a new web of trust will be born, since their reputation can be portable and usable on several sites or social networks.
With all regulations taking place around GDPR, using SSI could be a blessing and a reduction in costs of security maintenance for companies.
When you take a taxi, the driver doesn’t need to know your identity, you tell your destination, enjoy the trip, and pay in cash. But it would be nice if you could know his reputation as a driver (cab, Uber, Cabify, or other).
Having a wallet in your pocket or bag gives you a hint of how SSI will work. We have in our wallets some cash, but mostly cards. Credit or debit cards, business cards, ID cards, licenses cards, club membership cards, and so on.
Let’s say you go out with your friends and meet somebody, after a chat you find out that you can do business together. Do you fully open your wallet and take out all of your cards? This is what usually happens online with your identity. So assuming your answer is no, you now understand what SSI is all about.
There are a lot of possibilities, use cases, and businesses that SSI will bring in the next few years.
If you got here reading, you probably are interested in the privacy and security of your Digital Identity and in case you want to dig a little deeper, several projects and organizations are working on SSI with different degrees of decentralization, we name a few below, but as it is usually said: DYOR.
With the Internet, globalization is now part of everyday life. Decentralization will follow the same path and SSI is the tool we need to keep our privacy and exercise our power as individuals.
And when someone tells you otherwise, remember what Edward Snowden said:
“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”
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