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What is a Self-Sovereign Identity?

When we want to rent a car, want to vote or want to apply for a public school, a job, a bank-account, a sim-card or for social security, we need to be able to identify ourselves. It is estimated that 1 out of 7 people in the world is not able to do that. The other 6 out of 7 rely on their government to get an ID. You need the government to allow you to have your ID, so you can use these kind of facilities. This dependence on your government can lead to annoying or even abusive situations. With the Self-Sovereign Identity, we have developed a way to the future, where you manage your own identity.

Having your own Self-Sovereign Identity is the first step to take control back from governments, banks and big tech companies. It will also help you protect your identity on the internet, will help you to prove your properties and aims to be the basis for a monetary system where people themselves control the distribution of money in a social way.

What Will the ID-Card Change?

To be able to understand the power of the ID-Card, a little basic knowledge about SHA256 Hashing and Public/Private-Key Encryption can be helpful. These technologies are the bedrock for the rise of Bitcoin and secure communication. The main question however is: How does society benefit from having this ID-Card?

It all boils down to the battle between anonymity and exposure. People want to move around in a certain amount of anonymity. Traditionally there are situations where you are asked to prove your identity, like when you apply to go to school, buy a SIM card, pass a border or enter an airplane. In the digital sphere this is however somewhat different. We still want to be anonymous, but we also have allowed the big tech companies to know everything about us. Especially now that governments, banks and the big tech companies work close together our anonymity has vanished almost entirely.

The response of some people to this sell-out of our anonymity, is hiding in an encrypted sphere. They dive fully anonymous into the dark-web and buy and sell goods with untraceable cryptocurrencies. Governments, banks and the big tech companies fear this anonymous movement and try to lure the mainstream public into products that - on the surface - look secure and anonymous. A product like 'Libra' (which is the 'cryptocurrency' that Facebook is launching) is such an attempt. Most experts don't call it a real cryptocurrency, because it provides you no anonymity towards the fully centralized companies that control it: Facebook and the banks.

Going full anonymous is perhaps interesting for people that acquired a fortune in Bitcoins or for criminals, but for the average person it looks quite sketchy and complicated. Most people just want to go back to the old days where it seemed that the government they've elected really worked for them!

These days are however over and won't come back. So there is really no alternative than to take back control ourselves. And the first step to do that is to take control over our own identity. We can do this by starting to use an ID-Card that we produce ourselves. This must be done in a way that no government, bank or big company can influence. Instead of having a government, bank or company like Facebook or Google approve, manage and track our identity, we use our family and friends to do that important task. We make the ID-Card extremely easy to create and manage by ourselves. This identity system must be accessible for people without money or even without internet. The only thing a person should need to create his identity is to know somebody with a computer or smartphone and take it from there. Only then can you call it a real Self-Sovereign Identity.

How Does the ID-Card Give You More Control?
Living in full anonymity will not be possible. It is also quit hypocritical. Making money and hiding it from everybody, and expecting that your government will maintain roads, hospitals, schools, social security and policing society, can't be both realized at the same time. To break this deadlock, we've created the ID-Card.

The most important thing the ID-Card does, is that it will prove that with it you can prove that you are the only person with your identity! This seems like something that is obvious, but is actually not. For example: We trust your government to make sure everybody has just one identity. We however know that governments issue more than one passport to secret agents and we also know that there have been many cases where people forged passports to migrate or hide their identity.

The current hashing and encryption technologies combined with all the digital interactions we do on a daily basis can now create an ID-Card that can't be forged or copied. The validity of the card is protected by - what we call - a Mountain of Proof. Each time you send your ID-Card or ID-Code to a family member, a friend or anyone else, adds to this mountain of proof. After a while it will be impossible for somebody else to create a fake card and collect a similar mountain of proof. Within days your card can be distributed in a way that it already is impossible to forge your ID-Card.

Private/Public-Key-Encryption allows you to interact with somebody on the end of the line without anybody being able to understand what the communication is about (except the people that work for the big tech companies that facilitate these services and their governments) but you are still not sure that the person on the other end of the line is who he says he is. The ID-Card gives you the possibility to check this beyond any doubt. Firstly, you can use the public key on the ID-Card of the person so that you don't need to rely on the keys that the tech company provides you. Secondly, you can verify the mountain of proof by asking mutual acquaintances for references. This referencing will also be crucial for decentralized social security systems that need to be sure that a person only has one identity, without having to rely on your government for such confirmations.

With the ID-Card you can still move anonymously over the internet and in real life. But when it is necessary, for example at meetings or other interactions with people you don't know yet, you can check a person's ID-Code so you can decide better if it is wise to interact with that person.
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