By Tim Spring
IIW was established in 2005, and boasts over a hundred sponsors, with hundreds in attendance. As the focus is on “getting things done” the agenda is created live each day by attendees present at the opening of the day, giving you the opportunity to establish what you want to talk about and getting the real time ability to see which topics others will be deliberating that you might want to join in on.
IIW is an un-conference, which means that there are no keynote speakers, presentations, or sales pitches (for the most part). Participants are encouraged to come with topics they would like to discuss with the community in attendance, with the goal of “moving topics, code and projects downfield.”
The Take Aways
Because of the unique style of this conference you are sure to take part in, sit in on, or just overhear a variety of conversations on all kinds of work in the identity space. Here are some of the topics Indicio’s team at IIW found interesting.
Trust registries and Machine Readable Governance: The question, “How do we know which Issuers to trust?” was brought up several times at IIW with “Trust registries” being a common response. But there seemed to be a division over what a trust registry is or should be. One interpretation saw it as a third party fulfilling a top-down, command-and-control, pay-to-play, API-to-call function in determining which credential issuers can be trusted. The other saw it as something collaborative, a resource for governance files that allows those files to be cacheable among agents through machine readable governance. This triggered interest in what machine readable governance was, how it made a trust registry portable, and how it could be implementedThere
DIDComm as a Control Channel: This concept is all about using DIDcomm as a coordinating service, connecting two endpoints that want to communicate and handling everything from authentication to coordinating money transfers or shipping details, while also adding an additional security layer for the end user. While it was a new idea to many, there were a few people that raised their hands and said that they have already implemented something like this and showed some real world examples, increasing excitement around the possibilities and promoting further adoption.
Interoperability: As usual, many people were concerned with how to solve interoperability challenges in the community. The crowd was very keen on the idea of running an Aries Interop-a-thon (based on the hackathon style events Indicio has run for the Cardea Project at Linux Foundation Public Health) The idea that IIW tickets be issued as credentials so the community can personally test its solutions and try to iron out some of the interoperability challenges was proposed, and has a good chance of moving forward.
The really thought provoking discussion was about the current state of identity interoperability vs interoperability in other areas of tech. When compared to browsers, it was said it is tempting to feel like we are in the Netscape era of standardization. When in reality we are likely more in line with the Compuserve-AOL era of standardization and have much further to go.
AnonCreds VS W3C JSON-LD Creds: Our team expected some disagreement about this topic, but both sides seemed to realize that delivery is what matters here, and additional argument isn’t going to help. Multiple sessions were run trying to identify which credential format to use, resulting in 7+ different formats being discussed, with Anoncreds & W3C JSON-LD being the most popular for debate. The ISO mDL 18013-5 credential format was also brought up for use in drivers licenses.
Why should you participate in the next IIW?
No wrap up or bullet point list can capture every conversation. This year was the first in-person conference since the start of the pandemic and every member of our team was excited to go.
While it was cheaper to attend over zoom, the conversational opportunities presented by in-person attendance—the ability to to really dig into the technology, simply don’t occur online. While this could be said for any conference, the unconference style of IIW encourages much greater audience participation. The number of engineers in these discussions drives challenging, exciting, and insightful ideas, so much so in fact, that In the middle of this IIW they decided to do the next one in person, rather than one remote and one in person per year as had been previously planned.
And worse case scenario, you can use the opportunity of bringing your team together for some sweet photo ops like our team did.
Tickets sell out quickly so for more information and to make sure you can join the next event we encourage you to check out the IIW website!
If you’d like a first hand account of the conference from one of our engineers check out out recent YouTube video!