DIF Newsletter #36

· 12 min read
DIF Newsletter #36

November 2023

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

SIDI (Sustainable & Interoperable Digital Identity) Hub Summit

DIF joined our partners in the digital identity ecosystem, plus international organizations, standards bodies and governments from around the world in Paris this week, to work on a major challenge: how to achieve interoperability between digital identity systems.

The first Sustainable & Interoperable Digital Identity (SIDI) Hub Summit took the form of a hands-on workshop to identify and tackle the key considerations for global interoperability.

The event opened with presentations from the French government, the National Identity Management Commission of Nigeria and the event sponsors.

Following the introductory presentations, participants broke out into strategy and technical tracks. DIF Steering Committee member Markus Sabadello and Senior Director of Communications Damian Glover joined the technical track. Our group began by considering whether interoperability between digital identity systems should be underpinned by bilateral or multilateral agreements.

We went on to assess options for protocol interoperability, other technical requirements and implementation tactics.

In the afternoon participants reconvened to hear a summary of each track's work, learn about some current initiatives to increase interoperability, and identify key tactics and future work streams.

After the event, we had the chance to get to know the other participants over dinner and drinks at Mama Shelter.

The summit marks the start on an going process of engagement and collaboration between national identity programs, multilateral organisations, international development agencies, standards bodies and the digital identity ecosystem, including OpenID Foundation, Open Wallet Foundation, Trust over IP Foundation, FIDO Alliance, the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) and DIF, to accelerate progress towards global interoperability.

As one of the event organizers, DIF was thrilled to participate in the launch, and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners to address the shared challenges we all face in the digital identity community.

You can learn more about SIDI Hub here, and the launch event here.

DIF Hackathon: submissions close next week

We’ve had great global representation in our hackathon which currently stands at 339 participants and counting. Participants range from university students making their first foray into Decentralized Identity to seasoned professionals and startups in the decentralized identity space. We will start to see submissions coming in next week and we’re excited to see what our participants have come up with.

Meanwhile, check out the great educational content shared by DIF members during the course of the Hackathon.

An Intro To The Veramo Javascript Framework

The Web5 SDK & Decentralized Web Nodes

Polygon ID's Iden3 Protocol Challenge

Ontology's ONT ID Challenge

An Intro To Trinsic & Prize Challenge Overview

Important dates: Hackathon submissions close on 3 Dec at 11.45pm PT (extended from 1 Dec); judging is 4-12 Dec; winners announced Thursday 14 Dec.

Korea Blockchain Grand Week 2023

DIF's collaboration with Korea continues to grow. Our Executive Director, Clare Nelson, gave a keynote presentation at Korea Blockchain Grand Week 2023 on DIF's role and future plans, and the future direction of Decentralized Identity, with Markus Sabadello presenting on Blockchain R&D in the IITP (Institute of Information & Communications Technology Planning & Evaluation) stream.

Meanwhile, K4 Security and Danube Tech GmbH announced a strategic partnership to create a joint presence in Korea that utilizes Danube Tech’s products and technologies, and K4 Security’s reputation and relationships in the Korean market. The service will be especially focused on interoperability of Decentralized Identifiers and Verifiable Credentials between Korean based identity networks and European networks. Danube Tech CEO Markus Sabadello serves on DIF’s steering committee, while K4 Security CEO Kyoungchul Park chairs the DIF Korea Special Interest Group (SIG). The partnership highlights the progress being made by the SIG in fostering international collaboration around Decentralized Identity.

Veramo comes to DIF

One of last month's undoubted highlights was the donation of Veramo, a popular JavaScript framework for verifiable data, by ConsenSys Mesh to DIF.

Steering Committee member Ankur Banerjee told the Newsletter that Veramo consolidates and extends existing DIF libraries into a powerful suite of tools that can slash the time it takes developers to incorporate Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) and Verifiable Credentials (VCs) into applications.

A new DIF working group is being established to steer the ongoing development and maintenance of the code base. Please contact Nick Reynolds or Mircea Nistor if you’re interested in participating. 

China Special Interest Group (SIG)
The DIF China SIG has documented its vision, targets and working plans (which are being translated into English and will be published soon), has begun outreach to recruit members, and is planning its first meeting.

The China SIG aims to promote and advocate for the adoption and implementation of DIF technologies and related W3C standards in China, and to provide a platform for communication and cooperation between China and other countries.

DIF announced the formation of the China SIG earlier this month. You can read more about the SIG's goals and related projects here, or follow the SIG's Chinese WeChat channel here.

🛠️ Working Group Updates

💡Identifiers and Discovery Work Group

Presentations to the DIF Identifiers and Discovery Work Group during November included "Representing DID documents as X.509 certificates (the did:self method)", and ".zkdid and .zkdns — a vision for a publicly owned, zero-knowledge decentralized DNS system."

The Work Group seeks input on recent activity concerning Linked Verifiable Presentations. 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

Greg Bernstein and Vasilis Kalos presented the BBS Signature Scheme to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Crypto Reading Club on 18 October, including a walk through of the math underlying BBS Signatures, what groups are used where (G1, G2), keys, signature generation and verification, proof generation and verification, where pairings occur, and proved properties of the scheme plus associated assumptions.

The team working on BBS was invited to participate in ZKProof Policy Day in Washington, DC, when Anna Lysanskaya is due to present some of the cryptography that went into BBS+ today (30 November).

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 on track for the end of the month, with new features including cross-device and app sync, encryption of records, capability-based role-centric permissions, and multi-party app data propagation.

The DWN Task Force still needs help with updating the draft specification to match the reference implementation, located here.

The Task Force 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

Presentation Exchange V2.1 is targeted for release in December. 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

DIF Interoperability Group

The Interoperability Open Group is refreshing its charter to better serve DIF Members and open group participants. Sessions are on pause while the co-chairs gather feedback and review potential activities to be included in the new charter. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please reach out to group co-chairs Bonnie Yau, Brent Shambaugh or Elena Dumitrascu on Slack.

In the meantime, Bonnie provided a round-up of interoperability topics at recent events:

Identity Week Americas in Washington, DC, was a dedicated event focusing on digital identity solutions tailored for government applications. Key themes for the year covered various aspects such as digital identity, biometrics, digital onboarding, verification/authentication, secure credentials, and verifiable credentials. The two-day event revolved around the overarching theme that digital identity is transitioning into a comprehensive, large-scale implementation. A significant focus was on Decentralized Identity, ranging from blockchain solutions to discussions about verifiable credentials. The presentations were policy-oriented, featuring esteemed speakers from organizations like DHS, UN, the Canadian Government, and the EU. These speakers emphasized the importance of collaboration and interoperability as essential goals to facilitate seamless citizen travel, international work, and the establishment of trust in online interactions.

The Internet Identity Workshop in Mountain View, California, centered around technological advancements in decentralized digital identity solutions. Spanning three days, the event delved into key topics, including OpenID4VC, AnnonCreds 2, W3C, TrustOverIP, DIDComm, JSON-LD, KERI, GLEIF's VLEI, decentralized ecosystem governance, backup and restore, and credential recovery. For credential recovery, the discussions offered a comprehensive solution that encompasses defining the data format, experimenting with compression and encryption, and ensuring the compressed format remains developer-friendly. Additionally, conversations surrounding backup and recovery focused on standardizing methods for backing up application data, especially wallet data, to provide users with a seamless experience. This included challenges like backing up specific information, and the need to reissue credentials in certain scenarios (see below for more from DIF @ IIW).

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

📡 DIDComm User Group

The DIDComm Demo is live! This brand new app 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

☂️ Hospitality & Travel SIG

The SIG enjoyed a presentation from Amazon Web Services (AWS) on Unified Profiles for Travelers and Guests.

🌏APAC / ASEAN Discussion Group

The DIF & ToIP APAC/ASEAN Joint Call hosted Joanne Knight, Identification Consultant at the Department of Internal Affairs New Zealand to talk about "Identity Theft, the Growing Epidemic". Joanne's presentation covered the relationship between current identity practices and identity theft, "common mistreatments and diagnoses" and "what the new medicine looks like".

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

IT and Systems Administrator
Pratap Mridha has joined DIF as our new part-time IT and Systems Administrator. Pratap, who also works for DIF member Hypermine, was already a volunteer Developer Advocate and has been participating in the DIF Hackathon, running Office Hours bi-weekly. Welcome Pratap!

Profile photo for Pratap Mridha

ID4Africa AGM

DIF, an official Coalition Partner of ID4Africa, is proud to have been invited to participate in the ID4Africa 2024 AGM, which takes place in Cape Town next May (more details to follow once the agenda is announced).

In the meantime, check out the high-quality LiveCast on Generative AI for Development hosted by ID4Africa on 15 November.

The next ID4Africa LiveCast takes place on February 28, 2024 on Digital Identity & Health. Registration is highly recommended for those interested in this topic. If you would like to submit an expression of interest to speak, please consult the Call for Speakers: https://id4africa.com/livecasts-speakers-call/

Zero Knowledge Decentralized DNS

Another new DIF working group is in the offing, with the goal to create a sybil resistant Web3 Proof of personhood registry using the dDNS TLD .zkdid (link to full story below). Founder Toby Bolton is looking to collaborate with experts in any of the following areas: DNS, Decentralised DNS, Blockchain, NFT's, Smart Contracts, Internet Standards, Regulatory Bodies and eIDAS law, preferably people who are keen to disrupt the status quo to protect human rights and privacy with groundbreaking blockchain and ZK technologies.

Please contact Toby on Slack, or via email at id@zkdid.io if you're interested in getting involved.

🗓️ ️Community Events

Internet Identity Workshop

IIW returned to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California in October, with DIF as an official sponsor for the first time.

IIW is where the decentralized identity community and wider technology ecosystem come together to progress ongoing topics and kick-start new initiatives.

Many DIF member organizations and steering committee members participated. Session topics included the DIF Hackathon, convened by our Senior Director of Community Engagement, Limari Navarrete (pictured below with did:hack winners Moises Jaramillo and Dixita Sharegar), Introductions to DIDComm and Trust Establishment by Sam Curren, and Presentation Exchange (Mike Jones).

Steve McCown gave a presentation on how to use DIDComm to protect files stored on cloud storage platforms such as dropbox, icloud, gdrive, etc.

"The general idea is that a process synchronizes changes (while encrypting/decrypting) between a new folder of mine and say the local dropbox folder, which in turn syncs to the cloud. My goals were: demo an alternative DIDComm use case, avoid using cloud provider APIs, and local control the crypto keys", Steve said.

Check out Steve's presentation, and the source repo.

Onyx Hackathon

The Digital Identity Hackathon, sponsored by Onyx by JP Morgan, wrapped up last month.

Category winner, and longstanding DIF contributor Kim Hamilton-Duffy added SD-JWT support and two DID methods (did:web and did:pkh) to the Onyx SDK.

"There were impressive submissions all around, using VCs, DIDs, ZKPs to pull off end-to-end user scenarios with great user experiences. I recommend checking out Onyx's decentralized identity SDK. It's based on principles similar to those we used in Verite, optimizing for interoperability and accessibility. Plus, nice, clean abstractions and design all around" she said.

Other prizewinners included Verifiable Credential ZK Health Records, which integrates DIDs and VCs with advanced zero-knowledge proofs to streamline the exchange of electronic health records across systems while adhering to healthcare standards like FHIR, Product Passport, a system to track wallet addresses and their associated decentralized identifiers (DIDs), enhancing the security of location tracking through private broadcasts and Business Network, an app designed for various professionals to find trustworthy partners through feedback from peers, which utilizes Onyx SSI for creating verified, confidential presentations that users can share to establish credibility.

Thanks to Markus Sabadello and Sam Curren for their well-attended and highly engaged sessions introducing key Decentralized Identity concepts to participants before the Hackathon got underway. You can catch their sessions here and here.

Future Identity Festival

DIF's Senior Communications Director, Damian Glover participated in a panel discussion entitled "Will Web3 rewrite the rules of user identity?" at the Future Identity Festival in London.

No alternative text description for this image

🗣️ DIF Member Announcements

In our latest guest blog, Polygon ID protocol engineer, Oleksandr Brezhniev, Technical Sales lead for the American region, Otto Mora and Digital Project Manager, Alex Rosales answered our questions about the company's new product release.

The Polygon ID team explained the use cases and benefits of enabling users to use zero-knowledge proofs generated from off-chain verifiable credentials to interact with smart contracts, and the company's commitment to W3C Verifiable Credential and Decentralized Identifier (DID) standards.

Guest blog: Polygon ID — Verifiable Credentials meet Web3

You can read the full article here.

We also caught up with Toby Bolton, to hear how the .zkdid initiative come into being, how it's different from other dDNS and proof-of-personhood protocols, how he sees it coexisting with current identity and DNS systems, and the next steps for the project.

Guest Blog: .zkdid™

Finally, Dock explained why Decentralized Identity matters for organizations and individuals, and provided some valuable insights into the state of verifiable credential adoption, and how verifiable credentials are creating business value for their customers.

Guest Blog: Dock — How Verifiable Credentials Drive Business Value

New Member Orientations
If you are new to DIF join us for our upcoming new member orientations. Please subscribe to DIF’s eventbrite for upcoming notifications on orientations and events which can be found 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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