W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-credentials@w3.org > April 2017

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

From: Adrian Hope-Bailie <adrian@hopebailie.com>
Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2017 11:29:36 -0700
Message-ID: <CA+eFz_+cqJYVpbd5bSHzuxCMKNYAYxckM2YujjQ0qecETaATFw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com>
Cc: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>, W3C Credentials Community Group <public-credentials@w3.org>, Greg Adamson <g.adamson@ieee.org>, Timothy Holborn <timothy.holborn@gmail.com>, Blockchain CG <public-blockchain@w3.org>
On 2 April 2017 at 04:19, Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com> wrote:

> On 2 April 2017 at 04:19, Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com> 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:
>> https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-credentials/2017Mar/0023.html
>> 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.
So it's not just me!

>> 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.
> +1

I feel like a lot of the technical standardization work is riding the
blockchain hype. It's big "S" standardization just for the sake of
standards bodies not wanting to miss the boat.

Somebody please tell me what an ISO technical committee is going to
standardize wrt DLT and Blockchain. The ISO process is way too slow to be
effective in such a fast developing area.

IMO technical standardization it will be ineffective until it has a focused
use case (like DIDs). Part of the reason Interledger has been successful is
that it's not trying to standardize something broad like DLT it's focused
on value transfer.

> 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
> balkanization.

Actually I think the problem is interoperability in the various protocols
used to resolve and discover addresses and services from an identifier/name.

And crucially, the need for identifiers to be useful and accessible to

> 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.

This is a nice start but then there needs to be a standard discovery
protocol per scheme.

We have a standard encoding for a Universal Resource Identifier and this
has an allowance for a scheme so that we can define a different Universal
Resource Discovery Protocol per scheme.

We have at least one already: HTTP

Assuming you have this, the final piece is a standard representation of a
resource. i.e. If you give me a URI that you say identifies a person then
when I use the appropriate discovery protocol for that URI scheme I should
get back a resource I know how to interpret.

(We're changing topic here again)

> 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 do.
>> * interledger transactions
>> * interledger linking
>> * standardization around Bitcoin/Ethereum
>> * smart contracts
>> * blockchain data models
>> * HTTP APIs
>> 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).
As I said above I don't see "blockchain" or "DLT" standardization happening
soon. The industry is still figuring out the details and while there is
still a feeling that there may be undiscovered opportunities around the
next corner the prominent players are not going to fall over themselves to
collaborate on a standard.

And, for many in the industry the belief that a DLT provides
interoperability is still widely held.

Interledger is not a blockchain standardization effort. The amazing
developments around value recording ledgers (like Bitcoin, Ripple,
Ethereum) have provided the diversity of use cases to inspire a standard.

In reality Interledger could have been developed to just work between
traditional private ledgers but the desire to make it interoperate with
public DLTs has been a key influence on the work.

>> 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.
Thanks Manu. With all this talk of standardization I worried that there was
something I was missing. But it seems we're all in the same boat. Waiting
to see where the tide takes this thing...

>> 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
>> http://manu.sporny.org/2016/rebalancing/
Received on Sunday, 2 April 2017 18:30:10 UTC

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