🚀 DIF monthly #12

The September 2020 round of updates from DIF: Stay on top of developments on our Working Groups, news from our members, events and much more.

· 7 min read
🚀 DIF monthly #12

September, 2020

Welcome to the 2020 September issue of DIF Monthly, the monthly newsletter of Decentralized Identity Foundation! Read below for the latest updates on the work of the decentralized identity community every month.

DIF Monthly celebrates the first year!

It’s been a year since we launched DIF Monthly, the official newsletter of the Decentralized Identity Foundation, to serve the community with the latest and most important news of the decentralized identity ecosystem. The newsletter reaches over 4000 subscribers monthly and the numbers keep growing.

We want to thank all of our readers, as well as our content contributors, for their efforts and feedback to make DIF Monthly a success story. We will work hard to keep the DIF Monthly useful, engaging, and read-worthy for you in the next year. If you have exact suggestions on how we can improve the newsletter, feel free to reply directly to this e-mail or fill out this form.

The DIF Monthly Editor Team

Foundation News

A Hundred New Contributors Joined DIF!
Driven by the vision of transparent cooperation, DIF created a “contributor” role to open up participation to all technical working groups for companies under 1000 employees - without the obligation to pay membership fees.

Since last month, about a hundred companies joined DIF as Contributor from all around the globe. Besides a core of US and UK based companies, we have contributors from Latvia, Uganda, New Zealand, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Saint Lucia… and the list goes on.

Diversity is one of our greatest strengths as a community - and we are excited to have everyone on board who wants to progress the decentralized identity project.

Need more context on the new contributor membership option? Read more here
Ready to join DIF? Sign up here.

Special Interest Groups
DIF has been at the forefront of implementation and co-development in the decentralized identity space, gaining a significant scale and importance in the industry, and thus we receive a lot of “good ideas” about what should we do. The next phase for DIF and its members requires it to play matchmaker and tailor, bringing innovation into dialogue with the specific requirements of industry verticals. When it comes to the finer details of identity projects, industries all have their own, divergent specific requirements and limitations. DIF is announcing the initiation of a series of open planning and scoping meeting that will result in Special Interest Groups once the focus and format are finalized.

  • Pharma - September 9th 12 ET
    Attention DIF members working on healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and medical research topics: Please join us on Wednesday, September 9th, at noon ET for a collective ideation session to co-design a particular interest group dealing with pharmaceutical-industry requirements, business cases, rabbit holes, and bikesheds. We are trying to create a space for the pharma world’s existing consortia and regulatory dialogues to talk through the brass tacks of adopting decentralized identity at scale. In our first call, we would love to see representatives from DIF member companies involved or just interested in pharmaceutical-industry clients.
  • Sign up here
  • Fintech & Banking - Septmeber 10th, 11 ET
    Attn fintech-focused DIF members: Please join us on Thursday, September 10th, at 11 am ET to kick off the first DIF industry vertical ideation session. We are joining forces in a collaborative forum to tackle common challenges and identify opportunities for SSI in the banking industry. In our first call, we would love to see representatives from companies targeting a variety of banking technologies and geographies.
  • Sign up here

🛠️ Working Group Updates

☂️ InterOp WG (cross-community)

Recommendations and test suits for interoperability across all adjacent communities working on decentralized identities.

Interim Chairs: Pamela Dingle, Kaliya Young, Juan Caballero
Page : <interop>

Most of our meeting time has been devoted to informing one another about current events elsewhere and debating procedural and meta-interoperability methodology. Our main “work item,” however, has been mapping relevant topics so that all of us can know our personal unknowns. Working draft here:

In the near future:

  • Finish map, start work on testability review of major work items, and roadmaps across communities.
  • You can join the mailing list by signing up here; Wiki, here.

Identifiers & Discovery

How people, organizations, and devices can be identified and located without centralized systems.

Chairs: Markus Sabadello & Sam Smith
Page: <ID WG>

  • DID spec extensions, e.g. signed-ietf-json-patch parameter. Link.
  • Discussed contributions to ID WG: 4FingerID, Horcrux, jsonld-document-loader.
  • Discussed W3C DID WG issues, e.g. sameAs, canonical ID, service endpoints.

Updates to well-known DID configuration, e.g. LinkedDomains service endpoint. Link.

In the near future:

  • Continue working on a growing list of work items.
  • Continue aligning with work in other communities, e.g. W3C, Hyperledger.

🛡️ Claims & Credentials

Verifying claims and assertions of identities.

Chairs: Martin Riedel, Wayne Chang & Jonathan Reynolds
Page: <CC WG>

  • Shored up Presentation Exchange to get it ready for the “v0.1” release, which should be implementable for a complete exchange. Link.

Improved many of the project management aspects of the repository, and flagged major issues that must be resolved.

In the near future:

  • Release Presentation Exchange, take stock of other work items within C&C.

DID Auth

DID-based authentication specs, standards, and libraries.

Chairs: Kyle den Hartog & Oliver Terbu
Page: <DIDAuth>

Managing collaboration with OIDF on SIOP and transitioning of the respective work.

In the near future:

  • Managing transitioning of DID SIOP to OIDF.
  • Publishing the first DID SIOP draft for reference purposes.


The development and maintenance of the formal Sidetree specification,

Chairs: Tobias Looker & Daniel Buchner
Page: <sidetree>

  • The switch to IPFS Go in the reference implementation is complete; all indications are that it has eliminated the issues with propagating Sidetree files between peers.

SIP 1, an enhancement that significantly reduces resource requirements for light nodes, has been accepted and work is being planned.

In the near future:

  • Over the next 3 months, finish off all items that are blockers for v1 final, including implementation of SIP1, before v1 finalization in Q4 2020.

Secure Data Storage

Create one or more specifications to establish a foundational layer for secure data storage.

Chairs: Kaliya Young, Tobias Looker & Dmitri Zagidulin
Page: <SDS>

  • Building consensus and understanding of the base layers of encrypted data vaults. We had presentations and outreach from groups that have similar agendas. We presented to the MyData Operator Group. We heard presentations about COSE and CWE, JOSE & JWEs, IPFS.

SDS Introduction presentation and a call for collaboration can be found here.

In the near future:

  • Our goal is to get through Authorization and Indexes so we can start writing normative text. We are going to focus on a test suite and independent implementations.

🦄 Member Updates

_DIF members are encouraged to share tech-related news in this section. For more info, get in touch with operations. _

Glacier Blockchain

The Web3 Identity Lab. KILT Protocol (Germany) and Glacier Blockchain (China) announced the founding of a joint research lab. It applies to the principles of the Web3 and will focus on applied science and cultural acceptance. The press release is available in English and Chinese. Link.


NGI Open Calls (EU)

  • Funding is allocated to projects using short research cycles targeting the most promising ideas. Each of the selected projects pursues their own objectives, while the NGI RIAs provide the program logic and vision, technical support, coaching and mentoring, to ensure that projects contribute towards a significant advancement of research and innovation in the NGI initiative.
  • The focus is on advanced concepts and technologies that link to relevant use cases and that can have an impact on the market and society overall. Applications and services that innovate without a research component are not covered by this model.
  • Varying amount of funding
  • Learn more here.

🖋️ DIF Media

Presentation Exchange: A Leap Toward Interoperability for the Decentralized Identity Ecosystem
by Gabe Cohen, DIF Medium

The decentralized identity ecosystem is on its inevitable path toward widespread adoption and meaningful use. There are a growing number of interpretations and implementations of various decentralized standards. These standards are at different stages in their development lifecycles, harmonizing gradually. Learn more about the issues and ideas regarding interoperability from Gabe Cohen.

Where to begin? An Overview of Introductory Resources
by Juan Caballero, DIF Medium

There is no one single (or even central) place where decentralized identity technologies are being created. It is decentralized in its processes as well as its topography. Learning the “lay of the land” entails bouncing around a network more than surveying a city from a high vantage point. In this article, Juan Caballero from Decentralized Identity Foundation gives a thorough overview of the most important materials and resources of the DIF ecosystem.


#IIW Internet Identity Workshop
October 20-22, 2020 - Online

The Internet Identity Workshop (IIW) has been finding, probing and solving identity issues several times per year since 2005. Every IIW moves topics, code, and projects downfield. Name an identity topic - it’s likely that more substantial discussion and work has been done at IIW than any other conference.
Register here (early bird sale ends on the 9th September)


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