A Primer on Verifiable Credentials and Decentralized Identifiers

From IIW

Tutorial on Decentralized ID & Verifiable

Tuesday 1D

Convener: Dave Sanford and Manu Sporny

Notes-taker(s): Dave Sanford and Manu Sporny

Discussion notes, key understandings, outstanding questions, observations, and, if appropriate to this discussion: action items, next steps:

Dave's slides are here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1kJCDF_JcRihUQ5uRFbo47dEJPFsQB7FD

Manu's slides are here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1GMQy4rI093c_9zojwLRgp2r-fTscpDUSfX-wqwBk4j4

Verifiable Credentials and Decentralized Identifiers IIW XXVI April 3rd-5th 2018

W3C Verifiable Credentials

What do we mean by Credential?

The mission of the W3C Verifiable Claims Working Group

Express credentials on the Web in a way that is cryptographically secure, privacy respecting, and automatically verifiable.

Anatomy of a Verifiable Credential

  • Credential Identifier
  • Credential Metadata
  • Claims
  • Issuer Signature

Verifiable Credentials Ecosystem

  • Issuer (Website) - Government, Employer, etc.
  • Issue Verifiable Credentials to Holders
  • Holder (Digital Wallet / Personal Data Store) - Citizen, Employee, etc.
  • Issue Credentials
  • Send Presentations to Verifiers
  • Verifier (Website) - Company, Bank, etc.

Verifiable Credentials Status

  • WG Launch (May 2017)
  • FPWD, WDs (Aug 2017-today)
  • Implementations (Nov 2017-today)
  • Complete Test Suite (Jul 2018)
  • CR (Oct 2018)
  • PR (Jan 2019)
  • Spec/Issue Regular Contributors: 15
  • Weekly WG Participants: 12-18 / 50
  • Known Corporate Implementation Commitments: 10

Questions about Verifiable Credentials?

Anatomy of a Verifiable Credential

  • <IDENTIFIER> <--- this is an issue
  • license: I1234562
  • hair: BLK
  • address: 2570 24th STREET …
  • date of birth: 08/31/1977
  • issued by: California DMV
  • digital signature: MIIB7ZueKqp...

Which identifiers do we use today?

Why is this a problem?


The Web’s Identifier Problem

To date, every identifier you use online does not belong to you; it belongs to someone else. This results in problems related to cost, data portability, data privacy, and data security.

Web Identifiers Today

Domain Name System (Identifiers are leased to individuals)

What is missing?

Many portable identifiers for any person, organization, or thing that does not depend on a centralized authority, are protected by cryptography, and enable privacy and data portability.

Decentralized Identifiers

A new type of globally resolvable, cryptographically-verifiable identifier, registered directly on a distributed ledger (aka Blockchain)

What does a DID look like?

  • did:example:123456789abcdefghijk
  • Scheme DID Method
  • DID Method Specific String
  • Example: did:v1:nym:DwkYwcoyUXHNkpj3whn4DgXB4fcg9gj95vKxYN2apkZD
  • DIDs Resolve to DID Documents which hold

1. Authentication Mechanisms 3. Service Discovery 2. Public Key Material

Decentralized Identifiers

  • Decentralized Identifiers (Identifiers are owned by individuals)
  • Blockchains / DHTs (Decentralized Ledger)
  • Veres One, Sovrin, Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.

Decentralized Identifiers Status

  • Technology Incubation (May 2014 - today)
  • Specification and Implementations (October 2016 - today)
  • W3C DID WG (Dec 2018-2020)
  • Spec/Issue Regular Contributors: 12
  • Weekly Community Group Participants: 15-28 / 161
  • Known Corporate Implementation Commitments: 13


Method DID prefix

  • Bitcoin Reference did:btcr:
  • Ethereum uPort did:uport:
  • IPFS did:ipfs:
  • IPDB did:ipdb:
  • Sovrin did:sov:
  • Veres One did:v1:

Get in touch

Manu Sporny | CEO | Digital Bazaar

  • Co-Inventor of Verifiable Credentials & Decentralized Identifiers
  • Co-Inventor of JSON-LD
  • Co-Founder of Veres One
  • 10+ Years in Web Standards
  • Customers in Finance, Government, Education, and Healthcare
  • Email: msporny@digitalbazaar.com
  • Twitter: @manusporny
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/manusporny/