I'm an anthropologist and sales executive who leads business development for verifiable credentials at Hyland. I write and speak about the intersections of identity, technology, and government. 

Who we are matters more than ever. On the one hand, our technological identities are becoming increasingly central to doing business in a fully digitized economy. On the other, our character and commitments give shape to this new world and define what identity means by how it is used.

How Is Truth Related to Community and Justice?



Hyland CommunityLIVE
"Blockchain: The future of verifiable documents at Hyland"
Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning
"Self-Sovereignty and Digital Credentials on the Blockchain"
Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning
"Understanding the Post-Truth Society
British Council - Going Global
"Structuring Knowledge and Decisions - Is the Truth Out there?”
World Economic Forum
"AI and Digital Identity," AI for Good Global Summit
Michigan State Medical Society Rhoades Lecture
"Blockchain and the Promise of Physician-Owned Credentials and Patient-Owned Medical Records"
Philadelphia Consular Corps
"Blockcerts for Economic Development"
British Council - Going Global
"Structuring knowledge and decisions – Is the truth out there?"
World Bank/ID4D Mission Billion Challenge Winner
"Blockcerts: Self-Sovereign Digital Records"
KNOW Identity
"Shifting the Business Paradigm for Data and Privacy with a Race to the Top"
Nixon Peabody Headquarters, NY
"Blockchain in Healthcare"
Shorenstein Center / Harvard Kennedy School
"Good ID: What's policy got to do with it?"
Inter-American Development Bank
"Blockchains and Self-Verifying Digital Credentials."
DELTA Summit, Malta
"The Anthropology of Blockchains"
The World Bank 
"Practical Lessons from the Use of Blockchain in Education"
Blockchain, Credentials, & Connected Learning
"Towards True Self-Sovereign Learner Records"
Global Education and Skills Forum, Dubai
"Education and the Power of Blockchain"
Understanding Blockchain, Nassau, Bahamas
"Understanding Blockchain Technology Applications"
The Economist
"Digital Self-Sovereignty" with Kenn Cukier
Groningen Declaration Network
"Innovation and Standardization" with Matt Pittinsky, Parchment CEO
ZEST Malta
"Who Are You? Can We Trust You?"
Blockchain in Education
"The Value of Open Standards"
Southern Methodist University
"Sovereignty in the Age of Digital Capital"
"Why the Blockchain Will Revolutionize Credentials"
National Association for College Admission Counseling
Panel Discussion with MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Make Magazine
The Richards Group
"Deep Listening: How Anthropology and Psychology Help Us Understand People from the Inside"
The Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna
"The Living Subject: Towards an Interdisciplinary Social Scientific Method"
American Anthropological Association
"National-European Theology"


Academic Credentials in an Era of Digital Decentralization

Increasingly, the credential has emerged as a transnational, interdisciplinary signal of capability and skill in an environment where other characteristics—language, nationality, religious identity—cannot be presupposed. The essays in this volume give an account for the social functions served by the achievement, trust, and credentialing technologies that Learning Machine is producing. They ask what capability means and what credentials do in the social collectives that find them significant. Finally, they highlight the importance of individual self-determination under informational and organizational conditions in which issues of data invasiveness and control are central, if often technologically hidden, to the social fluidity that characterizes our time.

Centripetal Standardization
Top-Down and Bottom-Up Vectors of Value Creation


The Original Technologies of Trust
How kinship and religion paved the road to the blockchain.
Net Neutrality as Generational Struggle
Net Neutrality as Generational Struggle
The internet empowered younger generations in ways older ones can't imagine and see as a threat.
Blockchain Records for Refugees
Blockchain Records for Refugees
The world needs systems of record that can withstand war, economic collapse, and climate catastrophes — before they happen.
Arrival: The Work of Scientific Diplomacy
Arrival: The Work of Scientific Diplomacy
Identity and Digita Self-Sovereignty
Identity and Digital Self-Sovereignty
A New Paradigm for Sovereignty on the High Seas
Scientific American: The Evolution of Trust in a Digital Economy
The Evolution of Trust in a Digital Economy
The ultimate social impact of blockchain technology depends on who controls our digital identities.
The Time for Self-Sovereignty is Now
The Time for Self-Sovereignty is Now
Blockcerts, Decentralized Identifiers, and Verifiable Claims
The EU GDPR and the Blockchain
The EU GDPR and the Blockchain
A Declaration of the Rights of the Digital Subject
The Crisis of the American Sciences
The Crisis of the American Sciences
Moving Beyond our Theological History
Towards a New Civilizational Project
Towards a New Civilizational Project
Building the Next 1543 through the University and Beyond
Centripetal Standardization


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© 2020 by Natalie Smolenski.