Digital identity is one of the oldest and hardest problems on the Internet. There is still no way to use digital credentials to prove our online identity the same way we do in the offline world. This is finally changing.
First, the World Wide Web Consortium is standardizing the format of digitally-signed credentials. Secondly, public blockchains can provide decentralized registration and discovery of the public keys needed to verify digital signatures. These two steps pave the way to establish a global public utility for self-sovereign identity—lifetime portable digital identity that does not depend on any central authority and can never be taken away.
The Sovrin Network has been designed exclusively for this purpose, including governance (the Sovrin Foundation and the Sovrin Trust Framework), scalability (validator and observer nodes and state proofs), and accessibility (minimal cost and maximum availability). Most importantly, Sovrin implements Privacy by Design on a global scale, including pairwise pseudonymous identifiers, peer-to-peer private agents, and selective disclosure of personal data using zero-knowledge proof cryptography. The emergence of this infrastructure can transform at least four major markets: identity and access management, cybersecurity, RegTech, and data integration.
To provide economic incentives for credential issuers, owners, and verifiers, the Sovrin protocol will incorporate a digital token designed expressly for privacy-preserving value exchange. The Sovrin token should enable a global marketplace for digital credentials of all types and value levels together with ancillary markets for digital credential insurance and permissioned first party data (direct from the customer).