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

Hello All, I attended the ISO meetings today, and the group passed a series of resolutions that provide the scope of the work that they will begin.  As soon as the draft resolution is posted to the TC 307 site, I’ll circulate it to you. At this point the focus is on getting started on terminology, as well as on a series of study groups that will focus on reference architectures, taxonomies and ontologies; security and privacy; identity; governance, use cases; and smart contracts, among other things.  The goal of these study groups will be to determine what work the committee should undertake in each of these areas.

Nick Lee will lead the study group on Identity.

So, in other words, it’s very early days yet, and it will likely be several months before there is greater clarity on exactly what the committee will work on as formal work packages.

I hope that this information provides some clarity on what has been happening within the ISO.

Best wishes,
On Apr 4, 2017, at 5:18 PM, Adrian Hope-Bailie <<>> wrote:

Hi Greg,

I have read as much as I could find publicly on the ISO work in this space but I am still unclear on what the deliverables of such a group would be.

What is the group aiming to standardize and why?


On 3 April 2017 at 19:35, Greg Adamson <<>> wrote:
Hi Adrian,

On ISO, I will let you know once the TC307 meeting finishes in Sydney in a couple of days. I take your point that ISO moves slowly. But I think it is important to see they come up with the best possible result (which may be or include endorsement of what others have done). One problem in the ISO process at the moment is that the self-selected global group group of participating national standards organisations doesn't include India or any African country. I am working to rectify that if possible.

Regards, Greg
Dr Greg Adamson
Principal, Digital Risk Innovation
Chair, IEEE Design for Ethics Ad Hoc
+61 423 783 527<tel:+61%20423%20783%20527>

On Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 4:29 AM, Adrian Hope-Bailie <<>> wrote:

On 2 April 2017 at 04:19, Melvin Carvalho <<>> wrote:

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.

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.


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 humans.

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

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

Received on Wednesday, 5 April 2017 12:01:17 UTC