Governance and societal impact of blockchain-based self-sovereign identities

Rachel Benchaya Gans*, Jolien Ubacht, Marijn Janssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


Traditionally, governments and companies store data to identify persons for services provision and interactions. The rise of self-sovereign identities (SSIs) based on blockchain technologies provides individuals with ownership and control over their personal data and allows them to share their data with others using a sort of “digital safe.” Fundamentally, people have the sole ownership of their identity data and control when and how it is shared, protecting their privacy. As these data need to be validated to be trusted, they may become a more important data source for digital information sharing and transactions than the formal source of identity controlled by governments. Furthermore, SSIs can be used for interacting digitally with any organization. These developments change the relationship between government, companies, and individuals. We explore information sharing and governance in the digital society using blockchain-based SSIs. In addition, the impact of SSIs on data storage in the digital world is assessed. Technology enactment might result in no greater control or privacy and might only reinforce current practices. Finally, we argue that regulation and a combination of centralized and decentralized governance are still required to avoid misuse and ensure that envisaged benefits are realized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-413
Number of pages12
JournalPolicy and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • blockchain
  • governance
  • self-sovereign identities
  • technology enactment


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