Don't Sell SSI … build on top of it. Outlook of 2023 in SSI journey

Volodymyr Pavlyshyn
4 min readDec 31, 2023
  • don't sell SSI build on top
  • we need agents, not wallets
  • we don't need VC for everything
  • DWNs as ssi on steroids
  • AI needs SSI for the future

As we enter a new year, it’s a time for reflection and forward-thinking, especially in technology and data privacy. My journey with Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) and Sovereign data has been a significant part of my professional life, and I’d like to share some insights and realizations from this journey.

The Shift in Focus: From Selling SSI to Building Value-Driven Products

Over the past year, there has been a significant shift in my approach to SSI. Like many in the field, I was initially captivated by the potential of SSI technology. We believed it could transform society and various projects. However, the reality proved to be different. Simply selling or packaging the technology as a shiny new solution isn’t enough. This approach led to a lack of adoption and understanding, as people found it complex and challenging.

The Realization: Technology Must Solve Real-Life Problems

The key realization was that technology, including SSI, must be more than an innovative concept. It must address real-life problems and offer tangible value to users. This year, I’ve aligned with a team that shares my values and focuses on creating products that enhance privacy and security. Our goal is to build tools that respect user data privacy and offer practical solutions to everyday challenges.

The Product: A Privacy-First Personal Assistant

One of our exciting projects is a privacy-first personal assistant. This tool is designed to keep user data secure and private, operating with a local-first and, eventually, offline-first approach. This presents unique challenges, as it involves running applications directly on devices, a path less traveled in the tech world.

Beyond Technology: Creating a Network of Networks

Looking ahead, the potential of SSI extends beyond individual applications. We envision a future where personal knowledge graphs and semantic memories, already available in some of our tools, can connect to broader social structures. This could lead to the development of artificial identity agents that understand and interact with our complex social networks, reflecting our multiple identities and the groups we associate with.

The Challenge with Wallets and the Need for Agents

Another area of exploration is the concept of digital wallets. While they are often touted as revolutionary, I see them as a barrier to adoption due to their complexity and maintenance requirements. The future might lie in developing agents that can act on behalf of users, balancing security, sovereignty, and usability.

Trust is not verifiable, and data is not only VCs

We are moving away from the concept of Verifiable data for everything. Current versions of verifiable data simply have too many security and trust challenges.

DWN, Web5, and SSI on steroids

DWN took a unique path in decentralized storage, offering a relay-based topology with permissions, encryption, and synchronization capabilities. This approach particularly benefits DApps and AI agents requiring extensive data storage. DWNs balance local and networked data storage, providing privacy, efficiency, and scalability. DWNs are gived up on global consensus and state.

  • DWN offers a permission layer out of the box. The user has control and complete control of access rights.
  • DWN is network agnostic, so you don’t need to trust any network or organization that stays behind a network or protocol
  • DWN is transport agnostic and could be used in heterogeneous setup
  • DWN has a self-hosting and embeddable setup, so your decentralized app could start with zero-cost
  • DWN still has an incentives challenge, and it is one of the topics that should be solved by the community and TBD folks. I believe that it will be a network of hosted DWNs in the future
  • Most importantly, DWN as a protocol-based solution open to extension and, on top of itself, allows to build of flexible and secured data protocols that unlock user data and made them interoperable

Building for the Future

Moving forward, we should focus on creating products that genuinely enhance people’s lives while respecting their privacy and data sovereignty. It’s not just about selling a technology; it’s about integrating it meaningfully into the fabric of daily life. This approach will drive actual adoption and appreciation of SSI and related technologies.

Join us on this journey, try our products, and be part of a community that values privacy, security, and practical innovation. Here’s to a year of meaningful technological advancements and a future where technology serves humanity profoundly and respectfully.

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Volodymyr Pavlyshyn

I believe in SSI, web5 web3 and democratized open data.I make all magic happens! dream & make ideas real, read poetry, write code, cook, do mate, and love.