Hi, I’m Michael Burchill and today I want to talk about a topic that is receiving some discussion in non-technical circles and way too much discussion in technical circles, did:web for verifiable credentials.
Unlike many solutions on the market, Credivera's verifiable credential platform has the ability to manage verifiable credentials of many types. This makes both technologies and standards invisible to end users.
DIDs or Decentralized Identifiers are records stored in a public place (a webserver or blockchain) that contain a unique cryptographic signature. They’re accessible to an intended audience and they’re used to sign digital documents.
This allows entities consuming these signed digital documents to reference the DID since it’s located in an accessible place and validate that the signed digital document is unaltered and originated from an entity (organization or person) that DID is representing.
These DIDs are one of the core technologies used today in the verifiable credentials space. There are many DID and verifiable credential standards out there that it can be really confusing. There are groups of people who spend their days locked in heated discussions regarding these standards and which one is the best.
There is one DID standard out there that is a middle of the pack in terms of features, did:web (https://w3c-ccg.github.io/did-method-web/).
The answer to this is simple, did:web is useful now. It’s fast and you can implement it and start seeing enormous benefits by using it without a large technical investment. It uses technology that everyone already has access to and expertise in: your corporate website. did:web, as the name indicates allows for digital documents to be signed with a DID tied to your existing brand, such as your corporate website.
It doesn’t limit your ability to switch to a different standard later on, once more specific use cases arise as a result of using verifiable credential/document technology.
It’s also important to note that since it relies on existing internet technologies it lacks the negative environmental impact of other standards, such as blockchain-based energy consuming solutions; making it well suited for high volume signing operations where verification of origin or verification of status is the primary concern.
You are probably correct. did:web does lack some features available in other standards, however did:web is a fast and reliable way to verify that something is genuine, that it came from the entity that it says it came from and that the digital document you’re looking at hasn’t been tampered with.
Will my driver’s license be a verifiable credential signed using did:web then?
No, probably not. Verifiable credentials signed with did:web fit within the framework agreed upon by multiple international bodies like the EU, Canada and the United States. However, features that those governments are going to want in place for things like passports and driver’s licenses are still lacking.
What are some examples of what can be done with verifiable credentials signed with did:web now?
Today, you could be using did:web verifiable credentials to sign/verify invoices and prevent supply chain fraud, issue insurance documents, employee IDs, training or association membership credentials that can be checked instantly to see if the member is in good standing. They could also be associated with products and used to validate authenticity, manufacturing and warranty information.
Put simply, verifiable credentials are the future for all types of digital documents and identities. Platforms such as Credivera, can handle multiple formats, focusing deployments on individual customer use cases.
Verifiable credentials, signed using did:web, are useful today in many applications. They provide tremendous benefits, are interoperable and affordable to implement and although they won’t currently solve every potential problem that verifiable credentials of the future may be able to solve, they won’t prevent you from adopting and taking advantage of those standards as well.
Verifiable credentials/documents signed with did:web fit so many valuable use cases today (verification of status, source and fraud prevention). It's probable that in the future many institutions and companies will continue to use them for high volume signing operations alongside additional standards that offer specific functionality at a higher price point.
When considering the purchase of this technology, look for features such as portability, privacy and ease of use for your end users.
Digital credential verification is a powerful tool that can help protect the integrity of your program by providing a secure and reliable way to verify the skills, knowledge, and credentials of your workforce.
If you're looking for ways to protect and enhance the integrity of your credentialing program, digital credential verification is a must. Credivera is the world’s first secure, open exchange for verifiable credentials and gives employees, employers, and organizations increased control of how credentials are stored and shared.
The Credivera Exchange optimizes personal privacy and trust with up-to-date, verifiable credentials secured in a digital wallet. Founded in 2017 with locations in Toronto, Calgary and Gatineau, Credivera supports regulated industries and global technology firms in over 30 countries.
To learn more about how Credivera's innovative digital identity and compliance solutions can protect the integrity of your program, schedule a one-on-one demo with our product experts today.
About the author: A good intentioned curmudgeon with an extensive background in IAM spanning almost two decades. Michael is passionate about solutions that work and make the complexities of a connected world manageable and secure.