The evolution of self-sovereign identity: From PGP to the blockchain phenomenon


Imagine a world where everyone had a virtual personality, owned and governed by themselves. Not simply a legal persona validated by a record kept in a public entity’s computer, nor a figure endorsed by a social media platform. A world where self-sovereign identity is the normality.

Identity is a purely human concept, inherent to us all since the moment of birth. Identity, unlike riches or happiness, is a birthright. We are unique beings, but for the briefest of times. School is the first step in the long road towards losing our identity. Once we become part of society, our identities begin to dilute in a quagmire of societal complexities.

Social security numbers, insurance records, dental records, police histories, they all chip away at our birthright, one computer keystroke at a time.

The issue here is centralization, the concentration of power in central hubs of control and governance. The Social Service database, the school database. Service providers, you name it. Stop and think of how many places hold your personal data right now.

Entrusting your identity to one (or a hundred) centralized political or technological hubs may lead to a crucial consequence for the individual: The denial of identity by that entity. Someone might be denied a driving licence, or a loan, or may be declared persona non-grata for a variety of reasons, an undesirable in the cold eyes of the centralized core. One by one, the pillars of our own very identity, who we are since birth, begin to crumble.

There has been a push over the last two decades or so to reclaim this loss, via self-sovereign identity, i.e., the recovery of one’s birthright. The right to be who we are, not what we are told we are, or allowed to be.

Starting in the early 1990s with the advent of the internet, Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) introduced the concept of a ‘Web of Trust’, which called for the validation of a digital identity by means of public keys, enacted by validators. In theory, anyone could be a validator in such environment, and the goal was to certify that someone was whom they said they were behind their digital self. This was an early attempt at decentralization, of taking away the power from a single, central point of control. Nevertheless, the PGP model relied on email addresses, which meant a certain level of hierarchical structure was needed.

Ultimately, PGP failed, but the seed of decentralization had been sown.

Fast forward to circa 2004. The advent of blockchain technology prompted the rebirth of decentralization, and this time, it was to be a lasting concept.

Blockchain’s raison d’etre is to foster and promote trust (and the sacred safeguarding of identity) through a decentralized, self-governed ecosystem where there is no centralized autocratic entity.

Now, IDMoney intends to use blockchain to promote the key concept of self-sovereignty, whereby an individual’s identity stems from his own human condition, rather than be spawned by a bureaucratic web.

The key principle here is that identity is purely human status, not an administrative condition.

Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi breaks auction records, as it fetches a massive $450m


Salvator Mundi, the last painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, has broken all records after the piece of art fetched an incredible $450m at auction, well above the expected $100m.

The painting, which once sold for just $60 at a 1958 auction at Christie’s, has changed hands multiple times during its long and fascinating history, with most owners unaware that it was a da Vinci original.

Painted circa 1515, Salvator Mundi ( Latin for ‘World’s Savior’) features an image of Jesus Christ dressed in Renaissance attire. Art historians were aware of the painting’s existence, but most outside art circles would not have known the treasure they had in their hands. Experts believe that fewer than 20 da Vinci paintings remain in the world today.

After being certified as a da Vinci original, the piece of art was painstakingly restored, a process that took years.

The successful bidder at Christie’s remains anonymous for now. Post-sale, the painting will be exhibited at different museums and art galleries across the world.

IVF turns 40 today, and after six million babies conceived, the revolutionary procedure is still going strong


In-vitro fertislisation (IVF) was, very appropriately, born 40 years ago today.

Lesley Brown, an Englishwoman, secured her place in medical history as the first female to become pregnant through IVF. Ms. Brown and her husband had been trying for a baby for nine years, to no avail.

Then, on November 10, 1977 -exactly 40 years ago today-, the miracle happened at Oldham General Hospital. Lesley was successfully implanted with a viable embryo. Louise Joy Brown was the first human to be born thanks to IVF, weighing 5 pounds, 12 ounces at birth in July 1978. Robert Edwards, one of the developers of the IVF procedure, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2010. His colleague, Steptoe, was not eligible because the prize is not awarded posthumously.

In-vitro fertilization would go on to become a lifeline for those women unable to conceive naturally. Over six million babies have been born thanks to IVF worldwide.



Mankind’s days are numbered, and AI is the reason, according to Stephen Hawking


The days of mankind’s dominance on planet Earth are numbered, according to eminent physicist Stephen Hawking.

The 75-year-old genius has warned, and not for the first time, that AI’s evolution has passed the ‘point of no return’, and that it’s only a matter of time before someone invents an AI entity with self-replication ability.

When such time comes, our very survival will be in serious jeopardy.

In a recent interview for Wired, Hawking said “I fear that A.I. may replace humans altogether,”

“If people design computer viruses, someone will design A.I. that improves and replicates itself. This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans.”

If we are to avoid such grim fate, we should look towards space, Hawking added. The terraforming and colonization of other planets may be our only chance to prevail.

Hawking is not the only one to issue stark warnings about the rise of AI. SpaceX’s founder Elon Musk recently said that it (AI) ‘poses a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.’