The goal of DIDComm is summed up well by Daniel Hardman, CTO of Provenant:  “The goal is to help DIDs interact while retaining properties of DID methods. [The] Goal is not [to] use DIDs to authenticate people (though it enables this).”

By Sam Curren

DIDComm — short for Decentralized Identifier Communication — provides a method for creating a direct, secure line of communication between the owners of Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs). But DIDComm is more than just a mechanism for an individual message, it’s a framework for safe, structured interactions built on decentralization technology.

In this framework each holder of a DID agrees to accept a connection and enables communication along that channel, whether it be through a website, email, mobile push notifications, QR codes, or a text message. These connections benefit from the built-in features of DIDComm technology, including message encryption, mutual authentication, and message routing.

While some interactions happen entirely within DIDComm protocol messages, such as identity verification and connection creation, DIDComm protocols can also be used to facilitate interactions within other protocols. For example, a video conference call or a phone call could be coordinated using DIDComm protocols to make use of the trust provided by the DIDComm relationship. 

A key use for DIDComm is in the communication of verifiable credentials. In the annotated stack diagram from Trust Over IP (below) we can see the role that DIDComm could play in its architectural design. 

But DIDComm opens up a lot of use cases, or “interesting stuff,” once an initial, secure connection is agreed upon by two users. This includes:

  • Secure payments and money transfers.
  • Privacy-oriented shipping, where the sender doesn’t receive private destination details.
  • Portable reputation and common ID elements between metaverse worlds as well as coordinated messaging.
  • Web logins, authorization channels for future tasks, and user-side storage.

Indicio recently hosted an in-depth, technical presentation by two of the chairs of the DIDComm working group, sponsored by the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF). If you want to learn more you can find that video here.