Why Choose Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) over Soulbound Tokens (SBT) for Credential Management

Adopting SSI over SBT in credential management offers benefits like improved privacy, interoperability, and cost-effectiveness.

Why do we need blockchain for credential management?

Before delving into why Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) are preferred over Soulbound Tokens (SBT)  for credential management, let's first briefly discuss the need for blockchain-based credential management.

Imagine Umaya, who previously worked at IBM and is now applying to the UNHCR, submits a work certificate in PDF form issued by IBM. Traditionally, verifying the authenticity of documents like PDF certificates, which are notably susceptible to forgery, involves cumbersome and costly steps. This process typically includes hiring a background check agency and initiating verification calls to the issuing entity, such as IBM, making it a time-consuming and inefficient ordeal for all parties involved.

Blockchain technology streamlines this process, offering a more efficient and cost-effective solution. When IBM issues Umaya's work certificate on the blockchain, it can be shared with UNHCR via a QR code. Upon scanning, UNHCR can instantly verify on the blockchain that the certificate was indeed issued to Umaya by IBM, eliminating the need for external verification agencies and reducing the workload on IBM's end.

What is Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI)?

Self-sovereign identity (SSI) offers a transformative approach to digital identity management, emphasizing user ownership and control over personal data. Its key benefits include enhanced privacy, as individuals can selectively share information; interoperability across platforms, reducing dependence on intermediaries and thereby enhancing security; and efficiency, lowering operational costs. SSI can utilize a public blockchain such as Cardano as a Verifiable Data Registry (VDR) for secure, tamper-evident systems, fostering trust and transparency in digital interactions. By empowering users and providing access to those without traditional forms of ID, SSI supports innovation, regulatory compliance, and opens up new opportunities for privacy-respecting services. This shift towards a more autonomous and user-centric model has profound implications for online interactions and identity verification processes. The usage of SSI on Socious is built upon three foundational components: Blockchain technology, which ensures secure and tamper-proof transactions; Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs), which enable users to create and control their own identity without relying on any central authority; and Verifiable Credentials (VCs), digital documents that are cryptographically secure, portable, and immediately verifiable. This framework empowers individuals with full control over their personal data, facilitating privacy and security in the digital world. Numerous institutions, including the European Union, the Korean Government, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), are adopting and promoting Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI).

What are Soulbound Tokens (SBTs)?

Soulbound Tokens (SBTs) are a type of non-transferable token on blockchain networks. Unlike traditional tokens, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which can be traded or sold, SBTs are "bound" to a wallet and cannot be transferred once issued. This stands in contrast to the more fluid nature of NFTs, which, although excellent for managing the ownership of assets that users may wish to buy, sell, or transfer, can not be used for credential management due to their transferable nature. Main use cases of SBTs are found in the gaming environment where in-game rewards and achievements are tied to SBTs. All transactions related to SBTs are on-chain and public, making it challenging to register private, real-life information, such as names, age, and job history. While the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) ecosystem has introduced soulbound tokens as a potential solution for non-transferrable assets, the Cardano blockchain, which Socious leverages, does not support soulbound tokens.

Why SSI over SBT for Credential Management?

Now, let's explore why SSI is better suited for credential management than SBTs.


SSI harnesses the power of blockchain technology to enable individuals or entities to control their digital identities without relying on any centralized authority. This self-sovereignty is crucial in preserving privacy and security online. When combined with Zero-knowledge proofs—a cryptographic method that allows one party to prove to another party that a statement is true, without revealing any information beyond the validity of the statement itself—SSI becomes even more potent in privacy preservation.

Zero-knowledge proofs enable Socious users to verify their credentials and qualifications without exposing any underlying personal information. This method stands in contrast to SBTs, which are not inherently designed to protect user privacy to the same extent. SBTs are public on the blockchain, and their transactions can be viewed by anyone, potentially revealing more information than a user might intend.


Embracing the ethos of accessibility and innovation, Socious prioritizes interoperability in its credential management system, favoring SSI over blockchain-specific SBTs. Unlike SBTs, which don’t have universal standards and are inherently limited to the blockchain they are issued on, DIDs and VCs are built on the universal World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards. This choice ensures that credentials, such as those issued via Atala PRISM, retain their validity and usability across multiple platforms. Users can effortlessly use their credentials between different blockchain solutions, underscoring Socious's commitment to creating a flexible, inclusive, and impact-driven platform where talent can seamlessly connect with opportunities, unencumbered by the technical barriers of singular blockchain ecosystems.

Cost and User Experience

Socious is deeply committed to making digital credential management both accessible and cost-effective. By choosing SSI over SBTs, we remove the economic hurdles often associated with blockchain technologies. SBTs, while innovative, necessitate gas fees for every transaction or record, which can quickly escalate costs for users engaged in numerous transactions. Conversely, our SSI system, which aligns with W3C standards and is powered by platforms like Atala PRISM using the Cardano blockchain as a VDR, incurs a fee only for published DIDs (issuers). Socious takes a step further by absorbing these initial costs, ensuring our users face no fees at all. This approach not only exemplifies our commitment to reducing financial barriers but also enhances user experience by facilitating a smooth, uninterrupted exchange of credentials across our platform, embodying our vision of making impact jobs accessible to everyone.


In conclusion, the adoption of Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) over Soulbound Tokens (SBT) in credential management is a strategic decision that offers numerous benefits, including enhanced privacy, interoperability, and cost-effectiveness. It enables a more user-centric approach to digital identity management, respects privacy, and provides a user-friendly experience. At Socious, our commitment to these values and our users' needs guides our decision to utilize SSI, ensuring that we continue to create an inclusive, accessible, and impact-driven platform.

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