Indicio recently unveiled the Governance Editor — a client-side, open-source project that makes the creation of governance files simple and fast and is built using ReactJs framework and Redux.

By Viacheslav “Simon” Nazarenko

The Governance Editor is the result of addressing a real-world customer need. Over a year ago, one of Indicio’s key clients needed a trust framework to help them to manage trusted interactions between Issuers and Verifiers of verifiable digital credentials. After some exhaustive research, we found that there was a distinct lack of solutions to the problem; and since there was nothing in use, we took it upon ourselves to build our own. 

Indicio found a good starting point: a proposed Request for Comment (RFC) — a common community driven living document on GitHub — by Daniel Hardman (Aries RFC 0430: Machine-Readable Governance Frameworks) and modified it. After working with the Linux Foundation Public Health community to brainstorm ideas and discuss use cases, today, the project is at the final stage of becoming an RFC with the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF).

In the Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) community, there is no agreement, as yet, on what a decentralized ecosystem governance framework should be or look like. Most people are hard-coding trust, which is to say, the rules for accepting which Issuers of verifiable credentials and which entities who wish to verify those credentials  are to be trusted in a given decentralized ecosystem; and there are multiple workgroups working on trying to pin down governance on a conceptual level. 

At Indicio we believe that “code often wins” — meaning, it is better to bring a code template of the solution to the table, test on a real life scenario, and then present it to the community to get feedback and recommendations for improvement, rather than waste time on countless meetings talking about different strategies, approaches and architecture. Hence, the Governance Editor, which is now a working proof-of-concept for the community. The hope is that people will give feedback and help the Governance Editor evolve, based on their real-world problems and experiences.

Why is governance important? 

To put it simply, governance enables those who need to verify information to understand who they can trust. In a perfect world, everyone would have access to, and use secure methods for issuing, presenting, and verifying data; that is not the case today. For example, nothing is technically stopping anyone from setting up a server and creating or using a Social Security schema (a schema defines what a credential should contain), and issuing Social Security Number credentials. In this scenario, a governance file is one good way for the verifier to be able to check if the credential has been issued by the government—the actual Department of Social Security—or by someone else, who, in this case, should not be trusted. 

Who is it designed for?

The Governance Editor is designed, primarily, for companies and organizations running decentralized ecosystems and who need a way to tell all the parties involved in the ecosystem who should be trusted to issue or verify credentials, and which schemas for credentials are acceptable. It is built to be as light and as simple as possible so anyone with minimal technical background can become  an Issuer, create schemas, and add them to the file to be used in their ecosystem.

Next steps for the technology

Indicio is dedicated to making the Governance Editor as versatile and comprehensive as possible so that everyone can use it to govern their own scenario. The goal is to help the community to decide what they want from ecosystem governance so that it becomes universal for all sorts of areas (including transportation, health and finance). On the horizon, the plan is to add versioning support, where the editor will understand different governance file formats as well as signing and publishing standards. Depending on community feedback, potential new features that could be added to governance files include issuing and verification standards, internationalization and localization, and workflows.

The Governance Editor is currently an open source project with the goal of boosting awareness, development, and overall adaptation of this governance technology. This is one of the main reasons Indicio participated in the latest IIW — to show how much  progress has been made in implementing governance in decentralized identity and hopefully inspire more conversations and more people to get involved. Anyone interested can join this effort by becoming part of the Claims and Credentials working group at the DIF. We’re also in the process of coordinating our governance work  with Trust over IP.

If you are technically inclined you are more than welcome to explore the Governance Editor on GitHub, it is available for download and your own testing.

To watch a demo or learn more about the editor we encourage you to visit the Governance Editor page on Indicio’s website.