RE: The "self-sovereign" problem (was: The SSI protocols challenge)

Hi Drummond, I’ve read through Chapter 1 of the Manning book just now ( and couldn’t a succinct nor operational definition for the term/concept of Self-Sovereign Identity.

The chapter talks “all around” the topic of Self-Sovereign Identity but didn’t seem to conclude with an actual definition.  Did I miss it?

Michael Herman
Far Left Self-Sovereignist

From: Drummond Reed <>
Sent: March 23, 2021 10:02 AM
To: sankarshan <>
Cc: W3C Credentials CG (Public List) <>
Subject: Re: The "self-sovereign" problem (was: The SSI protocols challenge)

+1 to Adrian Doerk's definition in his thesis (which I highly recommend, BTW—Adrian's work is very comprehensive and thorough).

FWIW, even though the forthcoming Manning book<> of which I'm a co-author (along with 54 contributing authors) is titled "Self-Sovereign Identity: Decentralized Digital Identity and Verifiable Credentials", in the opening chapter we explain the origin of the term and then recommend (and enforce throughout the rest of the book) simply calling it "SSI"—which is also what I see happening in the market. I predict that within the next 2-3 years, many who have become comfortable with the term "SSI" won't even know that it is an acronym or what it stands for (just as many today don't know what "IBM" or "ATM" stand for).

As a final point, I was a speaker this morning on a webinar hosted by Condatis called "Scaling Digital Trust in Healthcare" where Charlie Walton, VP Digital Identity at Mastercard, shared the following slide, which is the first time I've seen the term "Commercial SSI".


On Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 6:54 AM sankarshan <<>> wrote:
On Tue, 23 Mar 2021 at 18:40, Michael Herman (Trusted Digital Web) <<>> wrote:
RE: "Decentralized identity" is a *better* choice. Others use "self-asserted," I think this has some of the same socio-cultural issues that "Self-sovereign" has.

  1.  QUESTION: Why is there this pervasive (pandemic?) of thinking spreading across so many of our communities (CCG, SF, ToIP, etc.) about giving in to this type of authoritarian, centralizationist thinking?
Why are people giving up on self-sovereignty in such large numbers?

The representation such as the above often create an all-or-nothing inference on the topic of SSI. It feels appropriate to cite a recently published work Doerk, Adrian. (2020). The growth factors of self-sovereign identity solutions in Europe. 10.6084/m9.figshare.14182586. and especially

We use the terminology of self-sovereign identity for describing a concept of giving individuals or organizations control over their digital identity. The identity resides with the identity subject in question, who is central to its administration. Sovereignty implies that individuals are equal among peers and are not administered by a central authority. This doesn't mean that individuals can suddenly issue themselves a new passport. Instead it means that individuals have control over how their personal data is shared and used. Moreover, individuals can now choose whether they would like to reveal their personal data and also which kind of data they would like to share in the event of a transaction or interaction. Through the use of cryptographic proofs SSI enables verifiability for all involved parties.

Received on Tuesday, 23 March 2021 16:28:06 UTC