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A3 5 ways decentralization is changing our approach to identification

SSI in use  •  Sep 15, 2017  •  Written by Kai
The range of applications for decentralized identity is vast — from government services, to e-commerce, mobility, housing, healthcare, and more — and there are countless ways we can or will be able to use our self-owned, self-managed, self-sovereign personal data. Why should we?

Today’s digital environment puts our identities at tremendous risk.

Our Vision and the WHY Question

As Peter Thiel often points out, ‘Why ’questions are hard to answer. Now you don’t have to be a famous Silicon Valley entrepreneur in order to understand this. The ‘Why’ counts. It gives you a sense into how a person or organization ticks and what values they have — or put it more simply: The ‘Why’ is what makes you get up in the morning.

At Jolocom we take the ‘Why’ seriously. Data ownership lies at our heart.

At Jolocom we believe that everyone should be able to own their data — Allowing for people and companies to interact and share information more easily, while remaining in control of what is shared with whom.

Right now we see a world where data chaos is dominant and data slavery prevalent. We navigate the digital world in which data is controlled, monetized, and owned by big corporations. The transaction to get access to the application you desire usually involves a payment with your privacy — especially if the app is for ‘free’.

In order to make the data silos structure work, we are forced to create usernames and passwords upon first encounter with the application. As the number of applications we are interacting with increases steadily, the username and password jungle flourishes.

Controlling or properly managing personal data in this world is often close to impossible, cumbersome, repetitive, and time consuming for the users.

For companies a certain layer of user identification is a necessity — like providing your driver’s licence to the car sharing company for the Mini you drove last weekend, or showing your ID card when opening a new bank account. Confirming your email address or phone number to at least determine if you are a human being or providing your country of residence in an ICO are further examples of this layer.

The KYC (know your customer) principle applies to many physical and digital encounters with companies. This same KYC process is however costly and inefficient as it is mostly carried out repetitively by every company. Especially in a world of smart contracts, this layer cannot be addressed with the fragmentation and friction we see today.

Our Product — the Jolocom SmartWallet

With the SmartWallet from Jolocom you can manage your personal data in one secure personal space. In this space you are the boss — you determine who can have access to which data and withdraw access when you want to put an end to the relationship. This space belongs to you.

You can navigate the digital landscape easily and register with services and applications with one simple click — no usernames and passwords needed — while keeping the complete overview of which data was requested by whom. Using also more data heavy services like car sharing or creating a bank account can be done just with a couple of clicks from wherever you are.

Because your personal information is stored in your personal space and not spread all over the internet you can update your information in your SmartWallet instead of updating it on multiple sites and accounts — and all connected services and application to whom you granted access will get your update automatically.

The Jolocom SmartWallet is a product which aims for data sovereignty and a frictionless value consumption and creation. It is completely open source and We use blockchain technology (Ethereum) within the personal data verification and validation process. However, at no point in time is your personal data, like phone number or ID card details, stored on the blockchain.


We are planning a closed alpha release by end of September. In case you are interested, please visit our website and sign up for it in the outlined section.

Our white paper will be published soon and will contain a technical overview of our approach and our stack. Follow us on Twitter to stay updated.

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