tl;dr: thinking about an emerging market based on an innate desire to not be followed 24/7. Welcome to SSI.
On her 18th birthday, a girl is handed a brand new identity by her father.
Only this identity is “self-sovereign” and “off the grid” from the surveillance grid that permeates the lives of everyone around her.
This is the premise of Stealing Worlds, by Karl Schroeder.
Corey is also one of the hosts of the Bitcoin Podcast and recently had Karl on as a guest.
As you listen to the story of the near future unfold, you start to recognize elements of the current world within it.
The Surveillance Economy
By now, you have probably seen the headlines…
- San Francisco Bans Facial Recognition Technology
- Activists want Congress to ban facial recognition. So they scanned lawmakers’ faces.
- EU calls for five year ban on facial recognition
It seems that, for some people at least, this element of surveillance capitalism is a step too far.
After all, it can lead to public shaming on social media if you go 0utside in your pajamas…in China, at least.
But, as one Op-Ed in the NY Times argues, We’re Banning Facial Recognition. We’re Missing the Point.
I agree with it for a number of reasons, including the fact that there are many ways to identify an individual (such as how they walk). What’s more, the tech is out of the bag. Governments and companies are going to use it one way or another.
This, of course, is just the latest and most visible way that each of us can be tracked.
The question then is: what are we going to do about it?
And, in this case, when I say “we,” I don’t mean “we” as a state or as a society, it’s mean “each of us individually as part of a collective.”
The Self-Sovereign Individual Market
One answer is coming in the form of an emerging new market and the opportunity to serve the needs of the people in that market.
It’s the trend towards Self-Sovereignty Identity (SSI).
If you want to find a market that is going to grow, I think this is one of them.
There are those who have built investment theses around it and service providers are emerging.
This is one of the problems public blockchains are trying to solve. For sure, they can’t be solved by any centralized solution.
Soon, however, we are going to see an entire industry emerge of companies, individuals, and services that will help you create, maintain, and use a self-sovereign identity.
That may or may not be the case, but there’s no doubt in my mind that more and more people will want to have a backup plan for control of their lives. They will want to be able to “go dark” or hide…if only for a bit.
We’ll manipulate or deliberately exercise evasive maneuvers within the tracked economy but be authentic in the SSI economy.
Eventually, I suspect, Self-Sovereign Identities will become the more trusted form of authentication.
ht: to Corey for reading the draft.