Trust in the Post Identity World

My main stage presentation at Identiverse 2022.

Abstract

The Internet, e-commerce and digital discourse have been dominated by identity. Until now, identity was all we had when trying to trust anyone or anything online. We developed a terrible habit of over-identifying. Relying Parties collect excessive circumstantial evidence (like CVVs and SSNs) instead of properly verifying what really matters (like credit cards). And Internet users divulge too much personal information — often unwittingly — which leaks and gets abused by criminals. Thus we have too much identity sloshing around.

I see a paradigm shift. The most important developments in our industry — Self Sovereign Identity, the FIDO Alliance, cryptographically Verifiable Credentials — are not about identity, but authorship, provenance, integrity and control. The parallel universe of Distributed Ledger Technology is delivering CDBCs and NFTs. The common breakthrough is digital originality, something that was never thought possible.

Originality is absolutely key in the fight for digital truth and accuracy. Let’s now get over “identity” and imagine a world where cryptographic infostructure is as universal as electricity or clean water, and all the data we need is hall-marked, traceable and trustworthy thanks to authentication technologies. My vision is for digital and analogue to merge, so real life and the virtual are no longer divided, and information becomes a tangible asset.