It is increasingly challenging for policymakers and other stakeholders to appreciate the growing
complexity of the digital identity ecosystem, the technologies involved, and the broad implications of their deployment. This article seeks to help clarify
these current debates and controversies by highlighting some of the technological transformations that are underway in the sector. We trace the ongoing transitions from “Big ID” systems to self-sovereign identity (SSI) approaches and digital wallets to the recent emergence of super apps, analyzing the different geographies of these systems and their impacts on exclusion and power relations. We argue that all technologies are political, and digital identity technologies especially so. Despite recent moves to- wards decentralization couched in the rhetoric of individual empowerment, most systems continue to exhibit features of centralization and tend to reinforce existing institutional arrangements.

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