Follow the instructions below, download our Android app from the Play Store (iOS will be released shortly) and work through the quick start guide to familiarise yourself with Self and the Self Network.
Everything starts with the Self app. Download it to your Android phone and join the Self Network to set up your personal account.
You'll need to verify at least your email address to register a developer account on the Self Network.
Now you can use Self to access our developer portal immediately.Developer portal
We ask you to share your name and email with us from Self (we don't have it already – it's safely stored in your Self app)
We've put together a comprehensive guide to get you up to speed in under half an hour, with sample code in Ruby, Go and shortly Typescript.
A fact is just a piece of information about you. The most basic facts stored in the Self data store in your phone are the ones you use to sign up: your email address, street address, your phone number, date of birth the personal details on your passport or driving license.
If a fact has been verified as being true by an authoritative third party it will be marked with a tick.
You can only share facts over the Self Network which have been verified, so you should try to get as many facts verified as possible.
How is this useful?
Imagine if you've just finished a foreign language course – the course providers could attest to the fact that you've achieved a level of competence in French, and you could store this as a verified fact in Self. That would mean you could use that fact in the future, for example when registering on a job platform, so potential employers know that someone they can trust says that "Oui, ils peuvent parler français!".
One important thing is that someone doesn't need to know the details to know that a fact is true. If you're buying age restricted goods online, the retailer doesn't need to know your date of birth, they just need to know that you're over a certain age. This is a powerful way of protecting your data, while being able to prove useful things about yourself.
And all of this information is just on your phone, always under your control.
Self can be used as a factor in multi-factor authentication, but because Self is proving more than that you have access to some keys it delivers more value to the organisation requesting authentication than just an app. Self can tell them that it's the specific person who should be being given access in real time. It can also add to that payload things like whether the person being authenticated has passed a KYC check and if they are the same person as the one who did the previous KYC check. Giving the organisation authentication with real value in real time.
All data stored in Self is encrypted on your mobile device. Any data you share is backed-up to your phone's cloud backup (e.g. iCloud or Google Drive) in a location nominated by you during the signup process. The backups of your data and account details will be encrypted end-to-end and then stored encrypted in your device's backups.
We don’t have any access to your backups.
It is your responsibility to keep your phone, login details and recovery details safe, and to prevent others from having unauthorised access to your data.
Today we're allowing Self members to store commonly requested information as facts within the Self data store and their phones, – things like name and date of birth – but alongside those you can choose to share metadata like 'age' or 'age range' and data sources like 'Passport' or 'Bank' with developers, to avoid needing to share personal data just answer the question they really needed an answer to. Like "Does Bob's drivers licence confirm he's between 25 and 70?"
But this is just the start; Developers building apps integrating with the Self Network can define the fields they would like to see in Self – so as more organisations join the Self Network, they will be able to attest to more and more facts that people want to verify. Organisations like educational and professional development establishments verifying details of qualifications in Self; insurance companies can verify that you've got a current car insurance policy; proof of marketing permissions for GDPR and CCPA; access to a restricted research report; user managed credit ratings; even whether you've got a valid ticket to a gig.
And all of this information stays purely on your device, always under your control.
Self is free to join as an individual user for personal use and the core features will always be free to you in the future.
Our business model is to charge the businesses using Self a small amount of money every time they ask to check a fact about you – such as your phone number, address, qualifications, passport number etc. – when you choose to connect with them using Self. They get certainty that the information you've shared is true, and you can be sure that your data isn't being used in ways you haven't explicitly agreed to.
In the future we may release new features, which may carry a charge, but these will always be optional.
For full details of our pricing and packages for businesses, see our Pricing page.
Security, security, security.
Data stored in ‘the cloud’ is actually stored on servers located all over the world. These servers can be accessed from absolutely anywhere and the data on them is only as safe as the humans that set up the protection around them. As many high profile data breaches have shown (Twitter, British Airways, Zoom, the list goes on), these security measures are not up to the task of keeping out ever more skilled and ambitious hackers.
If your data is stored on your phone, it can’t be hacked like this. The fingerprint or face scan you use to unlock your phone is almost impossible to hack and, so is the data itself.
The other issue with allowing companies to store your personal data is that once you’ve given a company some of your personal information, it’s easy to forget what you’ve shared with them and impossible to control how they use it. This misuse of data is becoming more widespread as businesses try to squeeze more and more value out of the information that they hold about their customers.
When you store your data on your device you remain in complete control of that information. You decide exactly which pieces of data to share with a company and you will be able to decide precisely what they can use it for and how long they can keep it.