The Principles of SSI

December 17, 2020

At its open community meeting today, the Sovrin Foundation Board of Trustees formally adopted the Principles of SSI (the “Principles”) and directed them to be published on the Sovrin Foundation website, including 15 language versions as downloadable PDF documents. Developed over the last five months by the global SSI community, these twelve principles represent the community’s consensus on the core ethics and policies that must guide any digital identity ecosystem that chooses to align with SSI. 

It is important to emphasize that the Principles are not owned by the Sovrin Foundation. Rather they belong to the global SSI community as a whole, being a product of discussions and collaborations among the open source and open governance community members dedicated to SSI as the preferred model for digital identity. As stated by Chris Raczkowski, Chair of the Sovrin Board of Trustees:

“Since it emerged five years ago, the SSI identity model has developed tremendous market momentum because it can solve many of the hard problems of security, privacy, and data control that centralized and federated identity models have not been able to overcome. As a result, some have been ‘jumping on the SSI bandwagon’ even when their systems are not truly SSI. So it was important to convene the global SSI community and put a stake in the ground as to what truly defines SSI. Since delivering Identity for All is the core mission of the Sovrin Foundation, we were happy to help steward that conversation and publish the result. We encourage individuals and organizations around the world to adopt and support these twelve Principles of SSI as the foundation for a more trusted Internet for everyone.”

Because SSI applies everywhere—across all countries, cultures, and industries—the global SSI community has responded by making the Principles of SSI immediately available in 15 languages, including all official United Nations languages. Publishing these translations on the Sovrin Foundation website is just the start of providing this document for people around the world to read in their native languages. The Sovrin Foundation will continue to facilitate expansion of available language versions, as well as improving their content. Anyone interested to contribute to these efforts is encouraged to contact the Sovrin Foundation at

We invite individuals and organizations around the world to review the Principles and provide their own endorsements. Further announcements related to this global commitment are expected in the coming weeks and months. For example, the Trust over IP (ToIP) Foundation Steering Committee has already directed the formation of a Task Force for adopting and publishing the Principles as an official ToIP document. As ToIP Governance Stack Working Group Co-Chair and Evernym Chief Trust Officer Drummond Reed explained:

“The job of the ToIP Foundation is to provide tools, models, and standards for building successful digital trust ecosystems. That job starts with helping trust communities of all kinds around the world—governments, industries, universities, companies, cities—determine the principles on which to base the governance of their ecosystem. The Principles of SSI is a lighthouse example. Having this clearly defined set of principles will make it much easier for any trust community to choose to adopt SSI as their identity model.”

Mr. Reed noted that the Principles of SSI Task Force encourages participation by anyone interested to have the Principles of SSI adopted as a guiding document of the ToIP Foundation.

Finally, Sovrin welcomes all individuals and organizations to publicly support and adopt the Principles. To facilitate public recognition, Sovrin will be publishing a special page on its website where individuals and organizations can sign their names in support of the Principles. If you wish to be notified as soon as this page is ready, send an email with the subject line ‘Support the Principles’ to


About the Sovrin Foundation

The Sovrin Foundation is a nonprofit organization established to administer the Governance Framework governing the Sovrin Network, a decentralized global public network enabling SSI on the Internet. The Sovrin Foundation is an independent organization that is responsible for ensuring the Sovrin identity utility is publicly available and globally accessible.

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