Decentralized identity

Our Identity Predicament

Today, we are not in control over our identity. Our personal information is often shared without our awareness. We are at risk of identity fraud but we donโ€™t have to be!

As citizens, our personal data resides in large centralized systems of record (SOR). Hackers are highly motivated to attack these centralized systems because a single successful hack can yield information from a large number of accounts. Which puts many people at risk. The implications are that:

  • Citizens have become fearful of rampant identity theft
  • Hackers have recognized the monetary opportunities associated with a successful hack
  • Hacked institutions are at risk of brand damage, paying for costly hacker prevention systems, fraud, and time lost.

IBM advocates for a global shift from centralized systems of record to decentralized, citizen-controlled identity vaults. This shift emphasizes an elimination of the third party control points placed around identity. We believe every citizen should have their own private identity vault where they are in control of their personal data. To achieve this view, we seek to empower businesses, organizations and government agencies with the required technology to support this disruptive sea of change towards decentralized identities. Success will be realized when every person, organization, or thing can have its own truly independent digital identity that no other person, company, or government can take away.


Imagine if every person, place or thing was uniquely identifiable on the Internet in a manner analogous to how IP addresses and domain names are discoverable today. Imagine a world where your information cannot be shared without your clear, explicit consent at the time of transaction (not buried in terms & conditions). You can control who can access what information, when, and for how long. This is a privilege you can revoke at any time. Imagine a world where you can control the flow of personal identifying information. Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) is lifetime portable digital identity for any person, organization, or thing that does not depend on any centralized authority and can never be taken away.

Our approach

IBM Security Verify enables businesses, governments and individuals to issue, manage and verify digital credentials with the Verifiable Credentials feature.


Interested in Verifiable Credentials?

This feature is available as part of a closed Beta. Please reach out through IBM Support if you have an interest to have this enabled.

Our daily interactions, both physical and digital, require that we can prove who we are, what we have accomplished and what we do with absolute certainty or conviction. We must be able to convey our personal data, our reputation and our accomplishments in a secure trusted manner with confidence and certitude.


Web of trust

A web of trust is built over time. People acquire driver's licenses, library cards, rewards cards, diplomas, professional certifications, insurance cards and employee badges. As you interact with others with whom you have no previous relationship, like a notary public or a pharmacy technician, you may need to share personal, sensitive information. Which on its surface, seems like a very bad idea. But because these individuals can produce credentials (like an employment badge or notary certificate) issued by parties that you trust and you likewise can produce information issued by parties that they trust, you can conduct your business these individuals with a certain level of confidence. If the transaction is a success, then you may spread the word to others and the web of trust grows.

Now imagine a world where you can control the flow of personal identifying information digitally. As we transition from bulky wallets and purses to convenient and pervasive devices, we gain the flexibility to share and store identities across unlimited secure devices. Freedom of choice, mobile convenience, security and storage are all important elements of a web of trust in the future.

Convenient Identification. Fast and Simple.

With the world moving to make everything digital, why should your identity be left behind? Having access to your birth certificate, driver's license, rewards cards, and many other identifying documents available on all of your devices means you can quickly and securely interface with the modern world.

Certainty. Confidence, Assurance.

Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) is is much more than an vision, it is a recognized community movement towards the preservation of lifetime portable digital identity for any person, organization, or connected device that does not depend on any centralized authority and can never be taken away.

IBM is a dedicated member of the SSI community. Our objective is to help issuers, verifiers and identity owners to insert trust into our digital identity management activities. Decentralized identity solutions empower Issuers to inject trust into the ecosystem, Identity Holders to share authentic data from the original sources of truth and Verifiers can be assured of the reliability of the data being shared.