Distributed ledger technology (DLT), including the use of blockchain technology, has been touted as a way to create and validate digital identities that serve many of the same purposes that physical forms of identification (such as a passport or driver’s license) do today. This summary describes the development of DLT as a means for creating a decentralized, portable, secure, privacy-respecting, and entirely user-controlled online identity system, often referred to as self-sovereign identity (SSI), and outlines the high-level legal issues and technological challenges that must be addressed ahead of mass adoption. 

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