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SSI, DSSI, and Blockchain - How Moonlight is trying to give users back control of their data

Before we talk about what DSSI (Decentralized Self Sovereign Identity) is, we have to talk about why we need basic SSI (Self Sovereign Identity) in the first place. SSI is simply the concept that the individual has the right to own, control, and distribute their personal information. Anybody else that wishes to use someone’s information in any way needs to request it, and the subject of the information has the ability to choose exactly how much information they wish to disclose.

So, how is your identity information handled now?  In a word: poorly.

Typically, our credentials are issued to us from some governing body ( medical, educational, certification board, etc.), we get a hard copy (like a driver’s license, insurance card, or social security card) and usually some identification number to go with it. These hard copies have "tamper proof" elements which are used to certify authenticity without any direct communication with a gatekeeping entity (the issuer in this case). This is the basis for self-sovereign identity. A driver's license is a great example of this concept.

Do people have enough control over their personal data today?

Unfortunately, this begins to fall apart as we integrate digital solutions. With a significant transition of verification to the digital space, we've moved away from the concept of SSI and towards an ecosystem managed by gatekeepers.  If any of these centralized entities are compromised, the result can be catastrophic. The 2017 Equifax data breach, the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal, and any other number of online breaches have shown that centralized companies storing our personal information in their vulnerable, easily targetable data silos is clearly not the ideal solution.  

Consider the immense power these entities have over your personal well-being.  They have a monopoly on your personal information and are in a position to leverage it at your expense.  In the case of academic credenti...

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