Episode 21 – Phil Windley – Identity Metasystems and Lessons from Building the Sovrin Foundation

Episode 21: Phil Windley - Identity Metasystems and Lessons from Building the Sovrin Foundation

In this episode we talk with Phil Windley, Sr. Software Development Manager at AWS, Cofounder of IIW, former Chair of Sovrin Foundation. We talked about his experience building and leading the Sovrin Foundation, which at one point was almost synonymous with the term self-sovereign identity. It was set up to be an identity metasystem that would reinvent how identity was done online… and we talk about why it didn’t end up becoming that.

Phil shares lessons from identity systems that got adopted, like the social login metasystem, as well as from things that didn’t get a lot of adoption, like certain identity blockchains and information cards a decade prior. We hope this an interesting episode. We’re glad we got to tell a small part of the Sovrin story as we think a lot of today’s reusable ID projects have their roots in the movement Sovrin started—including Trinsic.

To learn more about Phil you can visit his personal website https://windley.com/ where you’ll find ways to contact him, and buy his new book.

Listen to the full episode on Apple podcastsSpotify or find all ways to listen at trinsic.id/podcast.

Video timestamps from Phil Windley's interview

You can watch the full video interview on our YouTube channel, or skip to the timestamps below to find the sections that are most interesting to you.  

4:04 – How Phil got involved in the identity space

6:00 – Getting involved with Evernym and the early days of Sovrin

8:03 – The NASCAR problem of OAuth login

9:31 – An introduction to identity metasystems

13:29 – How the social login took off as an identity ecosystem

16:43 – Biggest barriers to adoption of reusable digital identity

19:24 – The physical identity credential metasystem

21:48 – Sovrin’s funding model and the consideration of launching a token

28:30 – Red flags that Phil looks for when evaluating new identity projects

31:06 – The importance of governance in creating a self sovereign identity metasystem

32:40 – Phil’s vision for the future of identity

How to get in touch

Most people listen to the Future of Identity on Apple or Spotify. Our podcast is also now available as a video interview on YouTube. You can find all ways to listen at trinsic.id/podcast

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As always, you can reach out to our host, Riley Hughes, on X (@rileyphughes) or LinkedIn. We love hearing from listeners! See you again in two weeks.

Zack Jones

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