Building the Scottish Credential Ecosystem with Self-Sovereign Identity

‘Self Sovereign Identity’ will provide the keystone foundation for a trusted infrastructure for Scotland’s digital economy.

This could be achieved through implementing the Sovrin Network in Scotland.

Via his blog tech industry luminary Phil Windley describes their launch, the world’s first self-sovereign identity (SSI) network, intended to provide this governance for organizations deploying SSI technologies. 

It will make possible everything from digital passports and birth certificates, through mobile driving licences, in short an end-to-end Digital Government.

One of the leading SSI vendors is Evernym, and in their article From Stateless to Self-Sovereign they explain how this can be utilized at a global scale to provide digital citizenry capabilities for even the most difficult of scenarios.

Speaking at a Napier University conference, Will Abramson provides this introduction:

Building the SCE – Scottish Credential Ecosystem

In addition to the global identity governance networks like Sovrin, SSI pioneers are also developing localized ecosystem collaborations, the key dynamic that Scotland can replicate.

Also speaking at the Napier conference in this video Andy Tobin of Evernym proposes Scotland should develop their own ‘credential ecosystem’, emulating what has been pioneered in Alberta, Canada – The Alberta Credential Ecosystem.

In Alberta the state owned bank ATB Financial is building ‘ACE’, a local collaboration of organizations beginning to adopt SSI and achieve integrated services through sharing SSI credentials. Andy proposes Scotland replicates this same collaboration model.

Foundations for Next Generation Digital Government

Using examples of physical documents like drivers licences, Andy explains how these are identity credentials that are used to prove who we are to facilitate business processes, such as opening a new bank account, and the essence of Digital Identity is the digitization of these documents and these proofing functions, so that their equivalent purpose can be replicated online.

What this highlights is that both global and local collaboration is key. Where global ecosystems like Sovrin enable the core inter-operation, there is still a need for localized collaborations to operationalize these capabilities, even in the simple terms of building partner relationships through meet ups and workshops. From these comes the realization of how and where to apply the technology to best deliver mutually beneficial business results.

Technology alone won’t achieve the overall goal – Governance is also needed to regulate how organizations will collaborate and inter-operate with one another, such as Identity Providers and Banks, to facilitate these exchanges so the overall system is one of an ecosystem. Their interoperation is key to enabling a frictionless online experience.

Andy explains the key dynamic of ‘Self-Sovereign Identity’ is that it is decentralized versus centralized, achieved through ‘DID’ open standards. Rather than a single, central database of Identity information users themselves hold, manage and present their own digital credentials, via digital wallets such as Evernym’s

This mirrors the physical world, where users carry their credential documents like their drivers licence in their wallet.

Furthermore programs like Alberta’s then localize this collaboration, providing a community vehicle for participants to zero in on the specific use cases they want to digitally enable through SSI, such as how local Telecomms, Government, Healthcare and Insurance organizations might interoperate to facilitate shared business processes.

Andy proposes an equivalent Scottish program to repeat this same pioneering innovation and position Scotland at the forefront of the Digital Identity revolution.

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