Self-Sovereign Maltese Citizens: from Blockcerts for Educational Records to Digital Identity Writ Large

ZEST Stage
If the slogan of Web 2.0 companies like Google was “Don’t be Evil”, the slogan of Web 3.0 companies developing self-sovereign technologies is “Can’t be Evil.” In a nutshell, self-sovereignty means returning control of personal data to the individual user or citizen from centralized authorities who have repeatedly demonstrated that they cannot be trusted with that personal data over time.
In 2017, Malta took the extraordinary step of becoming the first country in the world to introduce self-sovereign blockchain credentials, Blockcerts, for academic institutions. In partnership with software provider Learning Machine, the Ministry for Education and Employment trialed the technology and then chose to expand the project. The Ministry is now rolling out Blockerts to all Maltese schools, public and private, as well as to accreditation agencies and professional licensing bodies across the country.
Now, as the technology standards for self-sovereign digital identity are evolving through the work of the W3C and the European Commission, Malta is poised to take advantage of new features and capabilities for its citizens. By being the first country in Europe to implement self-sovereign technology standards, Malta is placing its people at the vanguard of digital mobility, privacy, and user control. This presentation explores what that means today and looks forward to how it could work in practice tomorrow and beyond.
Governance and Tech