Lesson 2, Topic 4
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Building an SSI Ecosystem : Self-Sovereign Identity

Digital Scotland September 22, 2019
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Self Sovereign Identity

For Scotland to realize an ambition of becoming a digital world leader this requires that we pioneer, not follow, the latest cutting edge developments in this field, and at the forefront of the trend is the emerging technology of ‘Self-Sovereign Identity‘.

As the name suggests the key principle is that Identity systems are not operated centrally by one organization, but rather the user themselves are in control of their own identity data.

Via his blog tech industry luminary Phil Windley describes the launch of the Sovrin Network, the world’s first self-sovereign identity (SSI) network, intended to implement the technologies and these principles.

Decentralized Identity

As the feature video from Napier University describes, the central technology trend is one of ever decentralizing approaches to identity. Key open standards include the W3C’s ‘DID’ specification : Decentralized Identifiers.

At a superficial level, a decentralized identifier (DID) is simply a new type of globally unique identifier. But at a deeper level, DIDs are the core component of an entirely new layer of decentralized digital identity and public key infrastructure (PKI) for the Internet.


The value of the technology is best unlocked when organizations enter into data sharing partnerships, particularly organized around shared, common processes – For example Opening a New Bank Account.

The state owned bank ATB Financial is building ‘ACE’, the Alberta Credential Ecosystem, a local collaboration of organizations beginning to adopt SSI and achieve integrated services through sharing SSI credentials, where they collectively identify these use case scenarios, with a view to digitizing them atop a SSI ecosystem environment.