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DSC Weekly 09 August 2022 – Decentralized Identifiers (DiDs) becomes a W3C Recommendation

  • Kurt Cagle 


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Decentralized Identifiers (DiDs) becomes a W3C Recommendation

One of the challenges that decentralized finance (and the web in general) faces is the need to uniquely identify a person, an organization, or a product. This, in general, is difficult because open identifiers are easily spoofed. Blockchain largely intended to combat this by creating self-sovereignty through a distributed algorithm that verified transactions were recorded and captured in multiple places.

However, in many respects, blockchain technology put the transaction too low on the stack (in addition to arguably using the wrong approach to capture ledger entries), largely because by making self-sovereignty central, ironically, the blockchain became an authority. Concerns about the centralization of blockchain nodes raised the issue enough that the underlying problems – determining the verifiability of a given key or token as an immutable representation of a given resource or authority – were addressed in a working group at the World Wide Web Consortium.

The Decentralized Identifier (DiD) working group published its formal recommendation last week, providing a mechanism for an identifier to be able to follow a consistent protocol for authentication. DiD, and its sister publication, Verifiable Credentials (VC), thus provides a way of managing the credentialing process, independent of whether the credentialing agency is a formal sovereign (a bank) or self-sovereign (an individual performing bank-like functions).

With DiD passed and VC on its way, the impacts on other technologies are likely to grow. DiDs are essential for managing large IoT, Industrial IoT, and Digital Twin technologies, as they provide a uniform mechanism for ensuring that resources are correctly identified. It will also likely force a rethinking of the existing blockchain stack, which is suffering partly because of its limited size, concerns about computational costs, and the connections of blockchain with the ICO market that may take another hit soon, given increased U.S. SEC scrutiny over the market.

DiDs and Verifiable Credentials, on the other hand, may allow the industry to do a cold reboot of this space with the new standards, especially given the interest by the Metaverse Standards Forum and the banking industry, the latter generally having been very lukewarm to a technology frequently touted as their replacement.

In media res,

Kurt Cagle
Community Editor
Data Science Central

Data Science Central Editorial Calendar: August 2022 

Every month, I’ll update this section with many topics I’m especially looking for in the coming month. These are more likely to be featured in our spotlight area. If you are interested in tackling one or more of these topics, we have the budget for dedicated articles. Please contact Kurt Cagle for details. 

  • Climate Change and Sustainability
  • An AI Snowstorm?
  • Personal Knowledge Graphs
  • Gato and GPT-3 
  • Labeled Property Graphs 
  • Future of Work 
  • Data Meshes 
  • ML Transformers 
  • Energy AI 
  • RTO vs WFH 

If you are interested in posting something else, that’s fine too, but these are areas that we believe are hot right now. 

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