Re: Blockchain Standardization (was Re: PR for playground)

On 2 April 2017 at 04:19, Manu Sporny <> wrote:

> bcc: Credentials CG
> cc: Blockchain CG
> Migrating this thread to the Blockchain CG mailing list as it's become
> more blockchain-y, than web payments-y or verifiable claim-y.
> For those that didn't see the start of this thread, it is here:
> On 03/31/2017 11:25 PM, Adrian Hope-Bailie wrote:
>> I am interested to hear from those of you involved what the goals of
>> these [Blockchain Standardization] initiatives are?
> I think the goals are different between the standards bodies, and
> personally, I find it very difficult to track everything going on at the
> moment as things are still very dynamic.
> What are you trying to standardize?
> I've heard at least these answers to that question:
> * governance for each blockchain
> * decentralized identifiers

I think we have to standardize decentralized identifiers, as everything
else is built on that.

We've been stuck on this topic for 10 years as everyone has their pet
favorite identity system.

What is needed is a system that will interoperate, and we should
aggressively throw out identity systems on the criteria that cant be shown
to interoperate (which is most of them!) or have significant traction.

The main problem I see is that people are fascinated by overloading
identifiers to do two (or three) different things.  This is wrong.
Identifiers should be opaque.  The reason being that different people will
overload in different ways, and that leads to failure to interoperate, and

The most logical thing to do is to start by saying standardization of
identities MUST be URIs.

Then look at ecosystems within each URI scheme:

For example

http URIs have a perfectly good spec that is widely deployed called WebID.
Alternatives in the http world can be proposed, but let's be ready to
standardize what makes sense.  I would recommend labeling any identity
system that relies on http 303 redirects as an anti pattern, as experience
has shown they are a nightmare to deal with, and also they mix the data
layer with the transport layer.

bitcoin seems to have significant traction as a uri scheme and fits into
the anyURI category

I think enough work has been done on DID URIs to merit further investigation

Of course mailto: and tel: URI schemes exist.

Perhaps we should start a wiki page on identity, and lay out the guidelines
to achieve standardization.  This is the building block for everything we

> * interledger transactions
> * interledger linking
> * standardization around Bitcoin/Ethereum
> * smart contracts
> * blockchain data models
> So, there is technical standardization and political governance. Our
> organization is most interested in the technical standardization, but I
> struggle to see any initiative that has drawn more than a handful of
> blockchain organizations to the table. Interledger seems to be the most
> far along. I think we're making progress for cross-chain decentralized
> identifiers (DIDs). The Linked Data Decentralized Ledger stuff is new,
> but I'm speaking at a workshop on the topic day after tomorrow in Perth,
> Australia and will have a better idea on what the industry is thinking
> wrt. traction at that point (I don't expect much traction at present).
> So Adrian, to give you a data point... I can't see anything clearly yet,
> but I know that we're going to be seeing more and more proposals for
> standardization over the next year and we'll see how those resonate with
> the community. I'm skeptical that we can do big "S" standardization and
> should instead be seeking little "s" standardization. I think things
> like Interledger, Chainpoint, decentralized identifiers, data models,
> and HTTP APIs are all we could suggest standardization proposals for at
> this point in time... and even then, they'll be rough for another year
> or three before we start to see some momentum. Just my $0.02.
> Adam, are you in Perth for WWW2017? Pindar and I will be there tomorrow
> along with Tim and a few other blockchain folks. Perhaps we could sit
> down and have a chat about what we see as reasonable things to pursue in
> the next year or two?
> -- manu
> --
> Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
> Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
> blog: Rebalancing How the Web is Built

Received on Sunday, 2 April 2017 11:19:35 UTC