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Self-Sovereign Identity
Decentralized Digital Identity and Verifiable Credentials
Alex Preukschat and Drummond Reed
  • MEAP began December 2019
  • Publication in Summer 2020 (estimated)
  • ISBN 9781617296598
  • 300 pages (estimated)
  • printed in black & white

This is a very important book—it looks at the problems of digital identity just when we need to desperately solve them.

Milorad Imbra
In a world of changing privacy regulations, identity theft, and online anonymity, identity is a precious and complex concept. Self Sovereign Identity (SSI) is a set of technologies that move control of digital identity from third party “identity providers” directly to individuals, and it promises to be one of the most important trends for the coming decades. Now in Self-Sovereign Identity, privacy and personal data experts Drummond Reed and Alex Preukschat lay out a roadmap for a future of personal sovereignty powered by the Blockchain and cryptography. Cutting through the technical jargon with dozens of practical use cases from experts across all major industries, it presents a clear and compelling argument for why SSI is a paradigm shift, and shows how you can be ready to be prepared for it.
Table of Contents detailed table of contents

Part 1 An Introduction to SSI

1 Why the Internet is missing an identity layer—and why SSI can finally provide one

1.1 Internet Identity Workshop

1.2 How bad has the problem become?

1.3 The breakthrough: blockchain

1.4 The three models of digital identity

1.4.1 The centralized identity model

1.4.2 The federated identity model

1.4.3 The decentralized identity model

1.5 Why “self-sovereign”?

1.6 Why is SSI so important?

1.6.1 Ecommerce

1.6.2 Banking and finance

1.6.3 Healthcare

1.6.4 Travel

1.7 Exploring SSI with this book

2 The basic building blocks of SSI

2.1 Verifiable credentials

2.2 Issuers, holders, and verifiers

2.3 Digital wallets

2.4 Digital agents and hubs

2.5 DIDs

2.6 Blockchains

2.7 Governance frameworks

3 Example scenarios: how SSI works

3.1 A simple notation for SSI scenario diagrams

3.2 Scenario #1: Bob meets Alice at a conference

3.3 Scenario #2: Bob meets Alice through her online blog

3.4 Scenario #3: Bob logs into Alice’s blog to leave a comment

3.5 Scenario #4: Bob meets Alice through an online dating site

3.6 Scenario #5: Alice applies for a new bank account

3.7 Scenario #6: Alice buys a car

3.8 Scenario #7: Alice sells the car to Bob

3.9 Summary

4 SSI Scorecard: Major features and benefits of SSI

4.1 Feature/benefit category #1: bottom line

4.1.1 Fraud reduction

4.1.2 Reduced customer onboarding costs

4.1.3 Improved ecommerce sales

4.1.4 Reduced customer service costs

4.1.5 New credential issuer revenue

4.2 Feature/benefit category #2: business efficiencies

4.2.1 Auto-authentication

4.2.2 Auto-authorization

4.2.3 Workflow automation

4.2.4 Delegation and guardianship

4.2.5 Payment and value exchange

4.3 Feature/benefit category #3: user experience & convenience

4.3.1 Auto-authentication

4.3.2 Auto-authorization

4.3.3 Workflow automation

4.3.4 Delegation and guardianship

4.3.5 Payment and value exchange

4.4 Feature/benefit category #4: relationship management

4.4.1 Mutual authentication

4.4.2 Permanent connections

4.4.3 Premium private channels

4.4.4 Reputation management

4.4.5 Loyalty and rewards programs

4.5 Feature/benefit category #5: Regulatory compliance

4.5.1 Data security

4.5.2 Data privacy

4.5.3 Data protection

4.5.4 Data portability

4.5.5 RegTech (Regulation Technology)

4.6 Using the SSI Scorecard in Part Four

Part 2 SSI Technology

5 SSI architecture—the big picture

6 Basic cryptography for SSI

7 Verifiable credentials

8 Decentralized identifiers

9 Portable digital wallets and decentralized key management

10 SSI governance frameworks

Part 3 Decentralization as a model for life

11 Controlling your identity with open source

12 Cypherpunks: the origin of decentralization

13 Identity for a peaceful society

14 Centralization vs decentralization believers

15 The evolution of the SSI community

16 Identity is money

Part 4 How SSI will change Your business

17 Simplifying and improving our digital lives

18 Personal data control and digital inclusion

19 Efficient and effective companies and

20 New jobs and new business

21 Digital Government

Appendix: Landmark essays about SSI

Appendix A: The Path to Self-Sovereign Identity

Appendix B: The Three Dimensions of SSI

Appendix C: Principles of an Identity Metasystem

Appendix D: Public Identities in the Ethereum Ecosystem

Appendix E: Meta-Platforms and Cooperative Network-of-Network Effects

About the Technology

What is our identity? It is everything we do in our daily life, but with the identity data records siloed in banks, big corporations, and governments. Currently, we rely on these third-party records to prove who we are and what we own—but we do not control them.

Self Sovereign Identity changes everything.

Imagine selling a house, applying for a driver’s license, or checking an applicant’s credentials without evaluating a portfolio of papers gathered from various centralized institutions. Powered by secure Blockchain registries and cryptography, Self Sovereign Identity is empowering people across the globe to take back control of their own data using digital credentials controlled by the users themselves. It eliminates the need for organizations to manage customer data directly, reducing costs, and massively increasing security. SSI is creating new, richer, and more trusted relationships online, and promises to be just as important as the emergence of the Internet.

About the book

Self-Sovereign Identity gives you a radical new perspective on how we represent ourselves in the world. This case study-driven book cuts through the jargon and hype to expose the amazing potential SSI offers for for security, privacy, identity, and even uprooting way the global economy works. SSI experts Drummond Reed and Alex Preukschat present a vision of the future, examining how SSI protocols will impact industries from banking through to government. You’ll get a clear mental model for how SSI works as you tour SSI-enabled eCommerce and eHealth applications and their advantages over current technologies. While you learn the philosophical and sociological concepts that underpin SSI, you’ll reach the book’s lightbulb moment: what this radical technology really means for the shape of our lives, our businesses, and our futures.

What's inside

  • How SSI will affect your industry
  • The essential technical and legal concepts of SSI
  • The architecture of SSI software
  • Emerging standards for SSI

About the reader

Readers of this book need no special technical knowledge, only an openness to new ideas.

About the authors

Drummond Reed has spent over two decades in Internet identity, security, privacy, and trust frameworks. He is the Chief Trust Officer at Evernym, and co-author of the Respect Trust Framework, which was honored with the Privacy Award at the 2011 European Identity Conference. Drummond is a Trustee and Secretary of the Sovrin Foundation, where he serves as chair of the Sovrin Governance Framework Working Group, and has served as co-chair of the OASIS XDI Technical Committee since 2004.

Alex Preukschat is Global Head of Strategic Blockchain Projects with Evernym. Alex has been active in the Bitcoin space since 2013 and leads SSIMeetup.org, a global SSI community to share knowledge in the identity space. He is a co-founder of Blockchain España and Alianza Blockchain Iberoamérica, and author of multiple reports and books about Blockchain and identity.


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