Single-System Image (SSI) is a form of computing in which different interfaces, multiple networks, databases, and servers appear to the user as if he is using one system. While SSI is relatively new in the market, it is making a lot of waves connecting multiple people across digital networks. To understand how SSI works, you have to understand the different building blocks of SSI. These concepts have been established since its inception, and they provide a conceptual point of view about SSI. So, without further ado, let’s briefly go over them.
As the name suggests, a verifiable credential is any form of document that can be used as a form of identity to prove who the user is. Just like we use plastic cards, passports, driving licenses, qualifications, and awards in our real life, verifiable credentials are the electronic equivalent of these documents so that you can make purchases on the internet. However, you have to be careful of fraud as there are a lot of people that use scannable fake id to trick people on the internet. Where fake ids can be used for fun, you should use original ids when browsing the internet.
Issuers, Holders, and Verifiers
In the trust triangle is built by three components named issuers, holders, and verifiers. The issuers are the source of the credentials, which can be an organization such as passport agencies, government offices, etc. Holders or Provers request credentials from the issuers after the user has made a claim or a purchase. In the end, the verifiers can be anyone from individuals, organizations, or a thing that request proof from the holders. It is a very critical step to ensure that issuer is genuine. All of these three combined make credentials work and pass through the pipe of security.
A digital wallet or an e-wallet is a software that stores the user’s information for paying methods and websites. So, by using digital wallets, users don’t have to put in extra information or use their credentials to make a purchase. The best thing about digital wallets is that they can be integrated with mobile phones so users can use these wallets to not only store and make payments, but also save loyalty information and digital coupons.
While digital wallets and agents are connected in a certain way with each other, the major difference between the two of them is how they operate. Digital wallets are operated by an actual person who handles all the credentials and makes the payments, but in SSI infrastructure, digital agents act as a mediator between the wallet and the platform. A digital agent protects your digital wallet, which should only be available to the person who has provided the right verifiable credentials.
As you might know that since the internet was developed, an addressing system was also developed to send data from on end to the other. However, knowing the IP address of a machine doesn’t really tell you anything about the person who is making the transaction. So, a new system had to be developed to solve this issue. The answer to this problem was a new identification system for digital agents, which was named decentralized identifiers or simply DID.
Where DID can be registered with any type of decentralized network, Blockchains deal in cryptography, databases, and networking, which gives it more edge. Blockchains are highly tampered resistant databases that no can’t be controlled by a single party. Using Blockchains means that users can trust that the source of data isn’t being controlled by any single part. Moreover, blockchain provides several key features such as performance, efficiency, scalability, searchability, and ease of administration.
Last but not least, the SSI structure’s goal is to make sure that you build a level of trust between the two parties that are about to perform a transaction on the internet. So the foundation of the SSI infrastructure is laid by a final layer known as the trust framework or governance framework. It makes the verifier’s job much easier by making a set of rules by which each member in a particular community is trusted.