One area of online life most ripe for disruption is identity: How does anyone really know you are who you say you are?

Nowadays, credit agencies and social networks like Facebook act as the main gatekeepers for identity. But we are designing new solutions to this age-old Internet conundrum by using blockchain technology, the digital ledger system that underlies cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Blockchain distributed, tamper-resistant databases can counter the monopolizing forces that have come to control people’s identities.

The most obvious failure of the current state of affairs is Equifax. Any centralized database is a central point of failure for our identity, and in the case of a hack—as occurred with Equifax—all that information gets compromised.

With the current model of identity, you’ve got honeypots. But with ID Legal ™, blockchain identity, there is no big pile of data.

To be truly in control of one’s own identity, to be really “self-sovereign”, a person must be in control of the cryptographic keys that allow them to interact with an access his or her own data.

Rather than sitting on a small set of web servers controlled by a single business, blockchain-based data can be dispersed across a sprawling network of machines. Also, this architecture grants citizens more ownership over their own data.

To be truly in control of one’s own identity, to be really “self-sovereign”, a person must be in control of the cryptographic keys that allow them to interact with an access his or her own data.

To be self-sovereign, you can’t be dependent on a decentralized network. Users should have the ability to determine how they handle their identity.

In other words, just because a blockchain is involved doesn’t magically mean people have more control over their data. The crypto keys, which function sort of like long, complex passwords for securing information, are, well, key.

If you are the self-sovereign over something, you are the final authority.

Solving identity is the first step toward realizing the next wave of the web.