Is self-sovereign identity (SSI) just a pipe dream?
Jorge Sebastião (co-founder of the Global Blockchain Organisation) says ‘No!’
And what’s more is that he has two very specific use cases in mind where blockchain is the breakthrough technology to realise self-sovereign identity.
Blockchain for identity management
Blockchain is an important element associated with implementing personal identity.
One of the key elements blockchain provides is integration of data systems and biometric technology, which could be based on facial features, your fingerprint, a scan of your iris or a combination of these, multimodal biometrics).
The UAE implemented an interesting blockchain project in this regard. The issue that had to be addressed was when tourists go partying and forget where they are. In some cases, these tourists even lose their passports. This would prevent them from entering or exiting border control via any legacy, or smart gates that require the presentation of a travel document to match with your fingerprint or an iris scan.
A third generation of smart gates simply allows you to walk through without having to take anything out of your pocket. But the important thing that the UAE has done is to store your biometric data on the blockchain alongside with passport information to create an interlock.
This means that if you’re a tourist to the UAE and you lose your passport, you’ll be able to recover your identity in two or three hours which means you can probably take your original flight.
If you’ve lost your passport while on vacation, you’ll know that it’s a several week nightmare to get back on track. You’ll have to find an embassy that can reissue your passport. Then you have to get your visas reissued and put back on the passport. Only then you’ll be able to travel, and by that time your visa might have expired or you’ve missed your flight.
Competency assurance with blockchain
Identity management and blockchain go hand in hand. It’s a technology of trust, and in the case of travel it provides trust of the personal identity.
But across the world there are scenarios where professional identity needs to be assured, as illustrated by frequent cases of people fraudulently claiming qualifications they never acquired.
And so, when speaking of blockchain’s role in ensuring self-sovereign identity, another crucial area to discuss is that of human resources, or securing the competency of individuals.
Ensuring competency is especially critical when it comes to fields like medicine where a doctor has to be specially qualified to do surgery, or airlines where pilot need the right training and be medically fit to fly specific aeroplanes.
You want to make absolutely sure that these professionals have the competency and certifications to perform their jobs, and this is a perfect application for blockchain. By using blockchain you can check whether an individual is qualified to perform a specific task, especially where negligence could lead to the loss of life.
Blockchain for government and enterprises
Jorge’s comments on the topic of self-sovereign identity originate from his participation in the Blockchain for Saudi Vision 2030 summit. To stay abreast of similar summits and presentations in your geographic location, bookmark our events page.