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IBM and The Theory of a Self-Sovereign Identity

September 7, 2018


Given that data is the new oil, why would a business want to give consumers more control over their personal data than they already have? If you are truly interested in knowing the answer, just ask IBM.


On Thursday, it was announced that IBM is partnering with a company called Hu-manity.co, to work on the idea that each consumer should truly own his or her personal data.


As mentioned in Coindesk’s article on the partnership, this is far from the first endeavor that IBM has become involved with, related to changing our definition of data ownership. Because of this, it could be argued that this is not so much of an altruistic move as a move to capitalize on a real business use case related to the theory of “self sovereign identity.”


Judging by a quote from Marie Wieck, the general manager of IBM’s Blockchain division, the true goal behind all of IBM’s work with identity and data ownership is to redefine how data is shared as well as obtained. Wieck went so far as to suggest that making sure that people to have full ownership over their data would cause them to be more receptive to a new way of sharing it with businesses.


In essence, this appears to be mean that IBM envisions placing customer data on a Blockchain. Following this, businesses would join the same Blockchain to request said data. In short, what would result is the transfer of the rights to personal data back to the individual customer and therefore, the monetization of any transfer of it.


Trying to do this is nothing new at this point. Plenty of companies like the team behind the Basic Attention Token as well as Civic, and even Microsoft are trying to do the same, in various niches.


In the end, IBM’s true differentiator related to this issue could be in how they are attempting to redefine data ownership for consumers and businesses at the same time.


Therefore, if they have their way, the sharing of any data will be a legal, yet lucrative right, instead of something that is almost compulsory.



By: BGN Editorial Staff


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