Odyssey Connect 2020 Report

On 4 and 5 February the Odyssey Connect event took place in The Hague. The Dutch Blockchain Coalition and Digicampus were there as challenge owners of the Self-Sovereign Identity track. For two days we talked to enthusiastic hackathon teams, experts and technology providers.

The Odyssey hackathon has been the largest open blockchain and AI hackathon in Europe for three years. This year again, dozens of teams will gather at the beginning of April to spend a weekend working on solving social problems using new technology. At the Odyssey Connect event, these teams, as well as other interested parties, got a better picture of the various challenges that have been formulated for the hackathon. The event consisted of a series of deep dive sessions, interspersed with presentations by a multitude of experts in the field of technology, regulation, governance and ecosystems.

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During the pitches of all tracks, at the beginning of day 1, Andrew Mooijman of the Dutch Blockchain Coalition explained the Self-sovereign identity (SSI) challenge: digital identity is important for any form of economic traffic but is often centralized. Giving users more control over their own data and letting them decide who gets access to which identity data is an important principle to make identity truly self-sovereign.

In the two afternoon sessions of the SSI challenge, we explained what the intention is: we are looking for teams that build on existing technical capabilities for self-sovereign identity. Various SSI networking technologies will be offered to the teams during the hackathon. Collaboration is important: it is expected that teams in the identity track will connect their solutions to one or more of the solutions from other tracks. After all, many other tracks will also need to be able to reliably identify their users (individuals and companies). Finally, exploring and solving legal challenges for SSI also plays a role. In a panel discussion with international SSI expert Christopher Allen, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the municipality of Utrecht and ABN AMRO, the pain points of digital identity were further explored.

On day two, Christopher Allen's keynote speech in particular was an inspiration for all teams to start working with self-sovereign identity. Allen recognized that Legally Enabled Self-Sovereign Identity now gets a lot of attention from governments and companies (also in the Netherlands), but emphasized that completely trustless digital identity, driven by the open source community, should not be excluded, because it can be an important tool against oppression and exclusion.

Long Odyssey Connect we have been approached by many enthusiastic teams and providers of identity services and self-sovereign identity technology. Are you also interested in joining the hackathon or offering your SSI product or service to the teams during the hackathon? Please contact odyssey@dutchblockchaincoalition.org

Media

All recorded sessions can be found here.