Self-sovereign identity (SSI) is a term used to describe the digital movement that recognizes an individual should own and control their identity without the intervening administrative authorities. SSI allows people to interact in the digital world with the same freedom and capacity for trust as they do in the offline world.
Everyone (including businesses and IoT) has different relationships or unique sets of identifying information. This information could be things like birth date, citizenship, university degrees, or business licenses. In the physical world, these are represented as cards and certificates that are held by the identity holder in their wallet or safe place like a safety deposit box, and are presented when the person needs to prove their identity or something about their identity.
Self-sovereign identity (SSI) brings the same freedoms and personal autonomy to the internet in a safe and trustworthy system of identity management. SSI means the individual (or organization) manages the elements that make up their identity and controls access to those credentials– digitally. With SSI, the power to control personal data resides with the individual, and not an administrative third party granting or tracking access to these credentials.
The SSI identity system gives you the ability to use your digital wallet and authenticate your own identity using the credentials you have been issued. You no longer have to give up control of personal information to dozens of databases each time you want to access new goods and services, with the risk of your identity being stolen by hackers.
This is called “self-sovereign” identity because each person is now in control of their own identity—they are their own sovereign nation. People can control their own information and relationships. A person’s digital existence is now independent of any organization: no-one can take their identity away.
Read more about SSI here.