4 Keys to Self-Sovereign Identity Adoption

This graph shows a more realistic picture; it assumes an "S-curve" rate of adoption.


Understanding timing of verifiable credential adoption


56,115 verifiable credentials in production


While it's impossible to know the current state of SSI adoption precisely, my research leads me to believe we're somewhere in the highlighted area. We've come a long way, but there's still a long way to go.

It’s important to understand where we’re at in the adoption lifecycle so that you can spend your time focused on the right things. It may be too early for point-of-sale systems integrations, but the perfect time for an SSI-powered loyalty program. Given that most experts believe we’re still a few years away from mainstream adoption of SSI, should you want to build a verifiable credential-powered business? Maybe. Would you rather have started an internet company in 1996 or 2001? The earlier you build, the more upside potential exists. But I believe, like the internet, there will be business opportunities in this space for decades to come.

Selling the value of SSI


Overcoming obstacles for going to production

The third key to adoption is to overcome the obstacles that will inevitably come. All new technologies need to overcome obstacles to go to production. Most of these obstacles are common regardless of the technology, but a few are unique to verifiable credentials. My interviews consistently identified 10 distinct obstacles blocking teams from going into production. Here, I’ll share a short thought on how to mitigate them.

Which came first, the issuer or the verifier? Overcoming the chicken/egg problem.




Ecosystem approach

An ecosystem-driven approach is a method to overcome the chicken-egg problem where an entity brings together all sides of the market at the same time. If we take COVID-19 test results as an example, an ecosystem approach would bring together doctor’s clinics & labs (issuers), employers (verifiers), and patients (holders) all at the same time. By curating an entire ecosystem of participants, each can receive the full measure of the value they could expect when verifiable credentials are widely adopted. The challenge with this approach is bringing together all sides of the market simultaneously; it may take longer and cost more than expected. Even in this approach, the use case will need to be constrained in some way (scope, geography, etc.).

Single-sided approach



The chart on the right illustrates the adoption of the fax machine over time. It had to overcome the chicken and egg problem at first, too. It took a long time, but ultimately it only needed two things: specific, individual “killer use cases”, and recognition as a global standard. SSI is well on its way to both.


Trinsic is focused on building the best tools to enable developers and other innovators to easily build with verifiable credentials. Over 1,000 developers and companies choose to build on Trinsic.

If you’re building a solution and want more support, or would like to give feedback on this work, reach out to us here.

Riley Hughes

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