The W3C’s DID Specification is critical to building a better digital world.
Sam Curran and Ken Ebert
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was founded in 1994 to develop standards for the World Wide Web. Over the years, this collaboration between membership organizations and the W3C’s staff has been responsible for developing CSS, HTMl, JSON, SVG and more.
The Credentials Community Group (CCG), was created by the W3C in 2014 to discuss, research, document, prototype, and test credential storage and exchange systems for the Web. As part of this work, the Decentralized Identifier Working Group (DID Working Group) was formed to standardize the DID URI scheme and the data model and syntax of DID Documents.
The DID Working Group eventually published the DID Specification as a W3C Proposed Recommendation, and interested parties were invited to review it. The result, after years of work, is one of the most innovative standards to date. The specification addresses an important gap in internet infrastructure — that of proving identifier ownership using methods that are distributed and decentralized. Filling this gap is a critical step towards realizing decentralized identity.
Several organizations have formally objected to the specification. We will not discuss their objections or the responses here — they have been well addressed by other community members and we refer you to a few of them, listed below.
The position of Indicio is that the DID Specification is of signal importance to creating a better digital world. We recognize that, as with any specification, improvements can and will be made in the future; but we back its recommendations and its approval.
We do this because Indicio is committed to advancing decentralized digital ecosystems that provide the ability to trust the authenticity of information and relationships using verifiable credentials. As the gap between our real and digital lives blurs, we must be able to define public goods that orient and protect people as they live and work and do business at the intersection of the real and digital. Decentralized identity is a public good — and we can’t collectively achieve it without a DID Specification.
Decentralized identity enables privacy and consent, authenticity and verification, and all within a new mechanism for peer-to-peer interaction that transforms security. All of these elements are either missing from or badly broken in our current digital world. The move from centralized ways of organizing digital information and relationships to decentralized is the paradigm shift we need, one that will benefit almost everyone, whether consumer or business, citizen or government. It will even benefit things — devices both digital and non-digital.
The DID Specification is critical to realizing decentralized identity as a public good. This is why we support the W3C, its groups, and its standards work — and encourage everyone to get involved to build a better digital future.
There are several existing well written articles from around the community that can also help enlighten those that still have questions or are interested in helping or getting involved:
- How you can help with the DID Formal Objections, Manu Sporny
- A DIF & ToIP joint Statement of Support for the Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) v1.0 specification becoming a W3C Standard, DIF & ToIP
- Does the W3C Still Believe in Tim Berners-Lee’s Vision of Decentralization? Drummond Reed
- Open Blockchains and Decentralized Identity Standards, CoinCenter.org
- In denouncing Bitcoin, Mozilla undermines ethical web principles, Bitcoin Magazine
- Is Mozilla Trying to Sabotage Distributed Identity? David Z Morris