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There is currently no coordinated effort to align the contexts used in the highly-flexible verifiable credentials format. For example, what is the best way to encode a KYC check, credit score, user consent, or proof of employment? There are indeed independent efforts such as Sovrin’s Schemas and Overlays and education-focused efforts from Learning Machine, but to ensure true interoperability and ultimately broad market adoption of our standards we must begin early to invite participation from key industry stakeholders and vendors. Ideally, we will collaborate, reach an agreement on methodology, and produce concrete first drafts of industry-specific standards.


We value:

Concrete real-world outputs. We should be able to produce artifacts that are understandable by people whether they are part of the SSI community or not. For example, an engineer working on digitized educational credentials should be able to immediately make sense of our work. Likewise, a DIF member should easily understand how our outputs relate to big concepts such as verifiable credentials, DIDs, and identity agents.

Rapid iteration. We aim to release early and often, openly acknowledging shortcomings and ambiguities but prioritizing fast turnaround in response to feedback. Our goal is to create discussions that move our taxonomy efforts forward, and we can do so in the spirit of “the fastest way to find the right answer is to put the wrong one on the internet.”

Active participation from industry practitioners. Pure technologists are rarely able to formulate standards that can be put straight to industry use, and we will need to establish processes to create low friction and valuable contribution opportunities for people who may eventually use these outputs. Industry practitioners are the long term users of our work, so their meaningful involvement is critical.

Leveraging of existing knowledge and networks. We fully recognize that there are many standards organizations and industry groups that have already thought deeply about these issues for their areas of focus. Examples include W3C, ISO, ITU, AAMVA, EEA, and IETF. Their work should not be duplicated and instead incorporated where appropriate.

Risks and Unknowns

There are of course drawbacks to the approach above and information we don’t have today. Here are some items in no particular order.

Relevant Resources