DIF Newsletter #37

· 12 min read
DIF Newsletter #37

January 2024

DIF Website | DIF Mailing Lists | Meeting Recording Archive

Table of contents

  1. Decentralized Identity Foundation News; 2. Working Group Updates; 3. Open Groups; 4. Announcements at DIF; 5. Community Events; 6. DIF Members; 7. Get involved! Join DIF

🚀 Decentralized Identity Foundation News

Veramo User Group

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DIF is thrilled to announce the donation of the Veramo project and the formation of the Veramo User Group.

Veramo is a broadly-used SDK that is a popular choice for SSI implementation, providing core functionality such as

  • Decentralized Identifier (DID) and Verifiable Credential (VC) management
  • cryptographic key management
  • secure peer-to-peer communications through DIDComm

Veramo is a powerful toolkit and base layer that provides the scaffolding to build applications leveraging decentralized identity. Its flexible plugin model and extensible and accessible APIs make it easy to integrate into, and update your stack as the technology evolves, helping you keep up with new protocols, standards and implementations.

“The donation of the Veramo codebase, as well as the formation of the User Group, are significant milestones for Veramo and for DIF. This generous donation will allow the DIF community to contribute to the future of Veramo and provide valued governance” said DIF’s Executive Director, Kim Hamilton Duffy.

Housing Veramo within DIF allows the project to harness unparalleled expertise in decentralized identity, promoting collaboration and driving innovation, while enabling Veramo to solidify its role as a productivity accelerator and reference to ensure interoperability. 

“By providing the DIF’s platform and contributions of the leading decentralized identity experts, while remaining open to all, regardless of DIF membership, Veramo’s new home at DIF will ensure it continues to evolve into the leading decentralized identity toolkit, enabling builders of future identity solutions to move faster,” Kim added. 

"We were proud to donate Veramo to DIF and reaffirm our commitment to public goods development in this space. Now, with the formation of the User Group, we're excited to work even more closely with the DIF community and ensure we can all build a framework that meets everyone's needs" said Head of Identity at Consensys Mesh R&D, Nick Reynolds.

How you can get involved

  1. Join the Veramo User Group. The first meeting takes place at 15.00 CET on Thursday 15th January. Meetings will take place weekly, alternating between Noon EST / 18.00 CET and 09.00 EST / 15.00 CET.  Click here for more details
  2. Use the code https://github.com/decentralized-identity/veramo
  3. Contribute to the code

More details on #3:

If you are looking to become more active in decentralized identity, or open source generally, Veramo is a great way to get started and join this vibrant community. We are looking for help requiring a wide range of expertise:

  • Build and/or integrate support for additional standards and protocols, such as Presentation Exchange, SD-JWT, and Aries. In some cases, the implementations exist and just need to be integrated into the Veramo framework.
  • Support for new cryptographic key types
  • Process/build improvements: helping with formatting and linting commit hooks, developing a test harness for improved test automation

First DIF-sponsored Hackathon inspires participants to discover the power of decentralized identity.

The first ever DIF-sponsored hackathon wrapped up with a Meet The Winners Twitter Space earlier this month which highlighted how the event has boosted skills development, community engagement and participation in DIF. 

422 developers registered and 52 projects were submitted, surpassing expectations. Here's a quick overview of the winners of the DIF Main Prize Pool:

First Prize: Decentralinked
Second Prize: Anonymous Door Unlocking (Meet The Winners blog here)
Third Prize: HealthX Protocol (Meet The Winners blog here)
Honorable Mention: TrustBox  (Meet The Winners blog here)
Honorable Mention: Mail5

Watch out for more Meet The Winners blog posts, and for future events! As DIF hackathons grow, we’ll need more volunteer developer advocates and online event organizers. If you’re interested in volunteering at DIF please reach out to us at membership@identity.foundation.

More on the DIF Hackathon here.

SIDI Hub 2024 roadmap unveiled

The Sustainable & Interoperable Digital Identity (SIDI) Hub's 2024 work plan was announced earlier today.

Dozens of digital identity schemes have been launched or are underway around the world. Yet to date, there is no known scheme considered truly interoperable across borders. SIDI Hub was was conceived as a community to accelerate the path to cross-border interoperability.

SIDI Hub held its first summit at TRUSTECH 2023. DIF was one of the event organizers, alongside our liaison partners including the Open ID Foundation, Open Identity Exchange, FIDO and Open Wallet Foundation.

120+ digital identity experts from governments, multilaterals, standards organizations, and non-profits representing 22 countries attended. Over 90% of participants agreed that the work started at the summit must continue in 2024. In response, the SIDI Hub community has defined the following work plan:

  1. Identifying champion use cases for cross-border interoperability that serve as baseline for all workstreams
  2. Defining minimum interoperability requirements for priority use cases
  3. Mapping trust frameworks across jurisdictions
  4. Defining metrics of success

The group is organizing a series of virtual and in-person meetings this year to progress the roadmap, and invites all organizations involved in the development, adoption and implementation of digital identity solutions to add their voice to this important work. Join the community on LinkedIn, visit the website and sign up for the SIDI Hub newsletter to learn more and stay up to date on the latest news and events.

🛠️ Working Group Updates

💡Identifiers and Discovery Work Group

The Identifiers and Discovery Work Group hosted a presentation and discussion of the did:dht method, as well as a discussion of DID Rotation, and integrating support for it in the Universal Resolver and Universal Registrar.

The work item "Linked Verifiable Presentations" is progressing with dedicated monthly calls. See https://identity.foundation/linked-vp/

The Work Group seeks input on recent activity for this work item. Please visit our GitHub page and review the issues and PRs!

Recordings and notes can be found here: https://github.com/decentralized-identity/identifiers-discovery/blob/main/agenda.md

Identifiers and Discovery Work Group meets bi-weekly at 11am PT/ 2pmET/ 8pm CET Mondays

🔐 Applied Cryptography WG

The BBS Signature Scheme continues on its path towards becoming an official web standard after Draft 05 of the specification was published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) last month.

The BBS Signature Scheme is a secure, multi-message digital signature protocol that supports proving knowledge of a signature while selectively disclosing any subset of the signed messages. Being zero-knowledge, the BBS proofs do not reveal any information about the undisclosed messages or the signature itself, while at the same time, guarantying the authenticity and integrity of the disclosed messages.

The latest update to the specification follows ongoing work on the spec by DIF's Applied Cryptography Work Group.

Draft 05 of the specification can be viewed here.

The DIF Crypto - BBS work item meets weekly at 11am PT/2pm ET /8pm CET Mondays

📦 Secure Data Storage

Decentralized Web Node (DWN) Task Force
The DWN beta release is out! Check out the reference implementation and Web SDK with easy methods to use with it for client apps, here

The DWN Task Force still needs help with updating the draft specification to match the reference implementation, and warmly invites all DIF members to join us and listen in on progress.

TBD, a division of Block, has also been working on open-source tooling and onboarding to DWNs, in addition to the core sample implementation. Also a reminder that the DWN companion guide is available.

DIF/CCG Secure Data Storage WG - DWN Task Force meets bi-weekly at 9am PT/12pm ET/6pm CET Wednesdays

Claims & Credentials Working Group

Work on Trust Establishment continues, led by Sam Curren. The calls take place weekly on Monday at 10am PT.

If you are interested in participating in any of the Working Groups highlighted above, or any of DIF's other Working Groups, please click here.

📖 Open Groups at DIF

Korea Special Interest Group

Since the Blockchain Grand Week event in November 2023, awareness of DIF has increased considerably in Korea, reports DIF Korea SIG chairman Kyoungchul Park.

"Since the Financial Services Commission has established association standards for the financial sector, we will look at those standards together, including DIF, W3C, ITU-T and ISO.

"We are also interested in exploring Digital Product Passports, and how they can be applied to high-value products to highlight their unique value and resolve consumer concerns about counterfeit goods," Kyoungchul added.

The SIG has selected discussion on standards related to e-wallets as its main focus for 2024, and will change the current bimonthly meeting to a monthly meeting to facilitate this.

Planned activities include IITP / NIPA consultation and promotion under the Ministry of Science and ICT, KISA seminars under the Ministry of Public Administration and Security and participation in the Information Protection Society and Association's seminar and promotion schedule.

The new meeting time and joining details for the Korea SIG will be announced soon.

DIF Interoperability Group

The Interoperability Open Group is focusing its Q1 2024 efforts towards building an interoperability map comprised of methods/standards/SDKs relevant to interoperability (vendor agnostic). The map aims to serve all DIF working groups and members currently working on solving interoperability challenges. The Interop group's chairs are meeting with other DIF working group chairs and attending DIF meetings this quarter to learn what interoperability challenges the groups are facing. These will be the initial focus areas represented on the interoperability map.

The Interoperability Group meets bi-weekly at 8am PT/11am ET/5pm CET Wednesdays

📡 DIDComm User Group

A reminder that the DIDComm Demo is available. This developer-focused tool allows you to connect to another person, a computer, a phone or simply another window in a different browser tab so you can see DIDComm messages traverse back and forth after the messages have been decrypted. 

The app was developed at Indicio, with the goal to allow people to see how DIDComm works without needing to sift through or learn a substantial stack like Hyperledger Aries Cloud Agent Python (ACA-Py).

Why not try it out for yourself . You’ll see a Help button there with a tutorial, plus a link to the GitHub repo. 

The DIDComm user group meets weekly at 12pm PT/3pm ET/ 9pm CET Mondays

🌏APAC / ASEAN Discussion Group

Group participant Finema has developed a comprehensive overview of GLEIF’s vLEI Ecosystem Governance Framework.

The overview, published in an article on Medium, provides a visual guide for different types of stakeholders participating in the ecosystem, the collective identifiers and key management for vLEI, and the 6 variations of vLEI Credentials.

Co-author Yanisa Sunanchaiyakarn will present the overview to the Discussion Group on the February / March call.

We invite everyone in the APAC region to join our monthly calls and contribute to the discussion. You will be able to find the minutes of the latest meeting here.

The DIF APAC call takes place Monthly on the 4th Thursday of the month. Please see the DIF calendar for updated timing.

📢 Announcements at DIF

DIF China SIG: pre-launch event
The DIF China Special Interest Group (SIG) is holding a pre-launch event at 9:30am Beijing time on Friday 2 February / 8.30pm EST on Thursday 1 Feb.

The SIG will be addressed by DIF's Executive Director, Kim Hamilton-Duffy and SIG chairman Xie Jiagui, Chief Engineer at China's Institute for Industrial Internet & Internet of Things, who will introduce the SIG and its future plans, followed by short presentations by SIG members, who will share their work and their thoughts about decentralized identity.

Participants will have an opportunity to ask Kim & Mr Xie questions about DIF, the China SIG and related topics.

Please note: the pre-launch event is taking place on Tencent, due to issues accessing Zoom within China. To join the event, download VooV, login using your Google account, and join the meeting using the following credentials:

#Tencent Meeting Number:540-592-920

#Tencent Meeting Password:227973

Meeting URL if needed: https://meeting.tencent.com/dm/6LSxx0fkDvlc

Here's a screenshot of the login screen:

You can read more about the SIG's goals and related projects here, or follow the SIG's Chinese WeChat channel here.

MOSIP Connect 2024

DIF Steering Committee member Yodahe Zemichael, who serves as Executive Director of National ID Ethiopia, will represent DIF at MOSIP Connect in Addis Ababa in March.

MOSIP is a university-incubated not-for-profit that offers countries modular and open-source technology to build and own their national identity systems. The project was established in 2018 at the International Institute for Information Technology in Bangalore. Today, over 100 million citizens in 11 countries are registered on MOSIP-based systems.

The inaugural MOSIP Connect promises to bring together technologists, policy makers and civil society groups for in-depth discussions and collaboration on inclusive digital identity systems. Participants will learn how digital identity empowers citizens and promotes inclusion, explore how MOSIP addresses concerns around data protection, privacy, and consent, and benefit from networking opportunities.

🗓️ ️Community Events

Digital Switzerland

DIF’s Executive Director, Kim Hamilton Duffy, participated in a panel discussion on the importance of digital identity wallets alongside Beat Jans, the new Head of Switzerland’s Federal Ministry of Justice, who is responsible for the country’s digital identity policy, Stephan Wolf, the outgoing CEO of GLEIF and Daniel Goldscheider, founder of DIF's liaison partner, the Open Wallet Foundation.

The panel was convened after Mr Jans decided to visit the host event, Digital Switzerland, which took place in Davos recently, at short notice.

A Swiss E-ID was proposed to voters but rejected in 2021 due to fears that citizens could be tracked during verification, and that private companies would collect and store their data in centralized databases. Subsequent revisions focused on addressing these issues, with Self Sovereign Identity (SSI) principles taking center stage. 

During the panel discussion, Kim pointed out that much of the unnecessary personal data sharing that typically accompanies customer onboarding is due to the lack of a strong digital identity. Conversely, digital identity based on open standards and SSI principles avoids data oversharing by design. It also offers powerful new economic opportunities, by providing the means to share a wide range of identity data in a privacy-preserving way. 

Kim highlighted the opportunity for “reusable identity”, tying it to improved onboarding enabled by decentralized identity standards, and described how Verifiable Credentials (VCs) provide an ‘envelope’ that can store messages ranging from government-backed Identity data to competencies or skills certifications. 

“Once relying parties trust that the envelope securely wraps and conveys one type of message, it opens the door for others, which offer some of the most exciting, potentially transformative signifiers of trust," she said after the event.

“Risks of AI were also an urgent topic of discussion. Indeed the waves of disinformation are getting bigger and coming faster as it becomes easier and cheaper to exploit the possibilities of Large Language Models (LLMs) and deepfakes. Decentralized identity architectures enable harnessing the benefits of AI but with a stronger, more trustworthy foundation. The standards were designed to apply to Non Person Entities (NPEs) as well as natural persons. So for example, Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) and Verifiable Credentials (VC) can establish a chain of trust demonstrating an AI agent is acting on behalf of a natural person.”

DIF Hackathon Winners share their insights and experiences

DIF caught up with Ken Watanbe, whose team's submission for the DIF Hackathon scooped first place in the TBD (Block) and Trinsic sponsor challenges, as well as winning second place in the main DIF prize pool.

You can read about the team's innovative use of Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs), Verifiable Credentials (VCs) and Decentralized Web Nodes (DWNs) to enable a real-world use case within their university premises here.

We also spoke to Harsh Tyagi, whose team developed HealthX Protocol, winning third place in the DIF Hackathon main prize pool, as well as third place in the TBD (Block) sponsored challenge.

Read the interview with Harsh here.

Finally, Edward Curran told us about his path to the Hackathon, how he found developing TrustBox using Veramo and his experience of participating in the DIF community. Check it out here.

🗣️ DIF Member Announcements

Multiparty Computation (MPC) is an exciting branch of cryptography with an important role to play in the future of cybersecurity.

DIF caught up with Jay Prakash of DIF member Silence Laboratories, who explained how customers are using their MPC protocol to improve wallet security and enable privacy-preserving data collaboration.

Check out Jay's guest blog here.

New Member Orientation

Our Senior Director of Community Engagement, Limari Navarrete, led a New Member Orientation today.

Subscribe to DIF’s eventbrite for upcoming notifications on future orientations and events, here.

🆔 Join DIF!

If you would like to get in touch with us or become a member of the DIF community, please visit our website.

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