Rob van Kranenburg: Disposable ID: A timely call

The mindset necessary to understand the need for extreme centralization (Trust-framework) and extreme decentralization (disposable identity) at the same time is war. War allows us to understand loss of sovereignty by losing agency over the basic assets that citizens accept voluntarily (democratically) to fund with their taxes. In 2020 this basic asset is data of people and objects harnessed in platforms plus the capacity to contextualize the initial datasets for proactive capabilities. Simply put, a 500 million zone (made up of relatively autonomous national states) that cannot claim this basic feature will lose the voluntary notion in raising taxes and will break under the current self-organizing agency of individual citizens and groups. The new Directorate on Cybersecurity cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the most threatening cyber security risk from within, the sale of paper passports by certain EU countries[6], further eroding the trust of citizens in EU institutions. In his article EU warns of crime risks from governments’ sales of passports, visas[**[7], Francesco Guarascio writes: “The European Commission said on Wednesday that programs of some EU states to sell passports and visas to wealthy foreigners could help organized crime groups infiltrate the bloc and raise the risk of money laundering, corruption and tax evasion.”

Our arguments are ported to this breakdown effectively happening in under ten years (2030). This negative scope is matched with a positive assessment of the economic, social and technical value created by adopting our roadmap of extreme centralization and extreme decentralization as processes running alongside each other.

We agree that we cannot go back, into an analogue world of no digital connectivity. We agree we cannot go forward with our current notions of identity and decision- making systems. We realize that the political power issue is not identity, but taxes. Identity in the hands of non-state actors is the end of the business model of the state. The issue is thus extremely explosive and vital as it touches the heart of society and its workings.

As citizens we have a choice. We never had more agency as non-formal but potentially systemic actors. We can be the spider in the web. This implies that all end connections of the web have a clear view on our full personalities. Or we can build our desired connected world, not on the endpoints but on the intentionally combined (if ‘you’ consent) separate connections with each and every endpoint (any service).

The choice is ours.


[1] Written by Rob van Kranenburg, Gaëlle Le Gars and others from workshops in WP4 NGI Forward. Comments addressed by Manon den Dunnen, edited by Gérald Santucci.

[1] JJelle Millenaar, The First Step towards a Unified Identity Protocol. ““We are excited to commit to our development of Digital Identity on IOTA. The Unified Identity Protocol is a Digital Identity implementation built on the Tangle. It establishes the foundation for trusted interactions and truly enables the Economy of Things.”

[2] WhyID: Protecting Our Identity in the Digital Age. To the leaders of International Development Banks, the United Nations, International Aid Organizations, Funding Agencies, and National Governments: “We are a group of civil society organizations, technologists, and experts who work on digital identity developments across the world. We have worked directly with vulnerable populations, and witnessed the impact that ill-considered, badly designed, and poorly implemented digital identity programmes can have on human lives.” You can also sign the letter, join the mailing list, or find out more about our ongoing collective work on digital identity by emailing

[3] A tablet or phone which becomes the next travel document that any European citizen receives when renewing. His or her national ‘passport’. Added free messaging service and horizontal services like health, taxes, payment, social local networking tuned to sharing initiatives.

[4] Digital Signatures for services (banking, payment, energy, education, care, mobility, connectivity…) and Digital Signatures for architectures (virtual and analogue enablers of connectivity) are e-seals, a tool to complement current actions on procurement and local agency as in this kind of SLA it does not matter that the original data sets and analytical platforms are not under your control. In this manner local stakeholders are a priority part of building the next layer of value, naming the new entities that are formed when AI inspired intelligence starts to see patterns unrecognizable before.

[5] The public review of Classification of Everyday Living Version 1.0 CSPRD03, announced in, closed on 23 May 2018. No comments were received.

[6] “Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria are the only EU countries which sell their citizenship, issuing “golden passports” in return for investments ranging between around 1 million and 2 million euros ($2.2 million). Twenty EU states, including those three, sell residence permits, or “golden visas”, to foreigners willing to invest in their new host country, with a range of between nearly 15,000 euros ($17,000) in Croatia and over 5 million euros in Luxembourg and Slovakia.”





[11] This is the approach of