Verifiable Credentials: Mapping to a Generic Policy Terminology

Note: This post is the sole opinion and perspective of the author.

Over the past several months I have been diligently attempting to map the dynamically evolving world of trust frameworks and verifiable credentials into a straightforward and hopefully timeless terminology that can be used for policymaking. The storyboard diagram above is what I’ve come up with so far.

  • Counterparty — for every consequential relationship or transaction there are at a minimum of two parties involved. Regardless of whether the interaction is collaborative, competitive, zero positive sum, they can be considered as counterparties to one another.

All of the above is made possible by:

  • Business Trust — how the counterparties decide to trust one another. This is the non-technical aspect of agreements, rules, treaties, legislation, etc.

And underpinned by:

  • Technical Trust: how the counterparties prove to another that their trust has not been compromised. This the technical aspect that includes, cryptographic protocols, data formats, etc.

Why is this useful? When writing policy, you need a succinct model which is clear enough for subsequent interpretation. To do this, you need conceptual buckets to drop things into. Yes, this model is likely to change, but it’s my best and latest crack at it to synthesize the complex world of digital credentials with an abstraction that might be useful to help us align existing solutions while adopting exciting new capabilities.

As always, I am open for comment and constructive feedback. You know where to find me.



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Tim Bouma

Based in Ottawa. Does identity stuff. My tweets are my opinion but they can be yours too!