Accurate labeling, interoperability profiles, and testing are urgently needed to drive interoperability and scale decentralized identity, says a new white paper from Indicio, as company adopts new interoperability label for its products

By Helen Garneau

In a new white paper, Trust, Verifiable Credentials, and Interoperability, Indicio’s Trevor Butterworth and Sam Curren make the case for the adoption of interoperability labeling.

While everyone understands that interoperability is the key to scaling decentralized identity, there is currently little clarity in the marketplace as to which solutions will interoperate with each other. As a result “interoperability” is little more than a marketing slogan that could leave customers disappointed and frustrated.

“Whether misleading claims are intentional, due to sunk investments, or simply inadvertent,” the authors write, “misleading claims about interoperability end up hurting the entire marketplace for decentralized identity.” 

As a remedy, they propose a taxonomy for interoperability and a labeling system to both kickstart community debate and provide a way for consumers to evaluate marketing claims and drive development.

In seven aspects of interoperability, they note the technical aspects that must currently align for solutions to interoperate. It is not enough to claim interoperability on the basis of one or two aspects, such as adherence to W3C credential formats; all need to align.

Clear vendor labeling on these aspects of interoperability will not only help customers compare products, it will help customers to identify what they need, and what vendors and the decentralized identity community need to fix. As the authors note:

“There is, perhaps, no better incentive to close the gaps between products by identifying them to consumers.”

Accurate labeling is important and achievable, they write. But it isn’t a complete solution. Interoperability profiles and testing are needed to provide clear development objectives and the evidence that solutions do, in fact, interoperate.

“We wrote this paper not because we have the perfect solution to the labeling problem, but because we wanted to start a conversation in the community to address this issue,” says Sam Curren, Chief Architect and Deputy CTO of Indicio. “We hope the discussion will lead to a better labeling approach.”

In light of the paper’s recommendations, Indicio will follow the labeling model proposed by the authors for all its products.

Click here to download a PDF of Trust, Verifiable Credentials, and Interoperability or read it in the viewer below.