Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) are Officially an Internet Standard, Says World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) – BitcoinKE

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)an international organization that creates standards for the World Wide Web, announced that Decentralized Identifiers (DID) v1.0 is now an official web standard.

This new type of verifiable identifier, which does not require a centralized registry, will allow individuals and organizations to better control their information and relationships online while providing greater security and privacy.

There is a historical analog to this announcement in the evolution of mobile phone numbers. Originally, these belonged to the mobile phone operator and were “rented” to the individual. This required individuals to change numbers if they changed carriers. With the adoption of mobile number portability, individuals can now “take their number with them” when changing carriers.

The same is true of most email addresses and social media addresses today – they are not “owned” by individuals and must be changed if the individual changes provider. In contrast, W3C Decentralized IDs can be controlled by the individuals or organizations that create them, are portable between service providers, and can last as long as their controller wishes to continue using them.

Additionally, DIDs have the unique property of allowing the controller to verify ownership of the DID using cryptography. It can enable any controller of a DID – an individual, an organization, an online community, a government, an IoT device – to engage in more trusted online transactions. For individuals in particular, DIDs can give them back control of their personal data and consent, and also enable more respectful two-way trust relationships where tampering is prevented, privacy is respected and usability is enhanced.

Basically, decentralized identifiers are a new type of globally unambiguous identifier that can be used to identify any subject (e.g. person, organization, device, product, place, even an abstract entity or a concept). Each DID resolves to a DID document which contains the cryptographic material and other metadata to control the DID. The fundamental pillars of the DID specification are:

  • DIDs do not require a central (decentralized) issuing agency
  • DIDs do not require the continued operation of an underlying organization (persistent)
  • Control of DIDs and the information they are associated with can be cryptographically proven (verifiable)
  • DID metadata can be discovered (resolvable)

Markets adopting DIDs

W3C Decentralized Identifiers, together with W3C Verifiable Credentials, are used in a number of markets where data identification and authenticity are a concern:

  • Governments – The United States, Canada and the EU are exploring the use of DIDs to provide digital identity documentation that protects the privacy of their businesses and residents, allowing these entities to choose how and when their data is shared
  • Retailers – Convenience stores, grocery stores, restaurants, bars and consumer goods companies in the United States are using DIDs for new digital age verification programs to increase privacy, payment speed and fight against the use of fraudulent identity documents when purchasing age-restricted products.
  • Supply chain actors – Global government regulators, trade standards institutions, suppliers, shippers, and retailers are using DIDs to explore next-generation systems that more accurately verify the origin and destination of products and services, which will streamline and enable reporting designed to apply correct tariffs, prevent dumping and monitor transhipment
  • Workforce – Universities, vocational training programs and education standards bodies are adopting DIDs to issue digital credentials of learning that are controlled and shared by the graduate when applying for higher education or colleges. labor positions

Work continues at W3C

The W3C, made up of more than 450 organizations, has invested in W3C Decentralized Identifiers and W3C Verifiable Credentials to ensure a more decentralized, privacy-respecting, and consent-based data sharing ecosystem.

Formal standards work will continue on these technologies through the new W3C Verifiable Credentials 2.0 Working Group, which will focus on feature expansion based on market feedback. Further incubation of future privacy-friendly technologies will take place through the W3C Credentials community group, which is open to participation by the general public.


See also

About the World Wide Web Consortium

The mission of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is to lead the Web to its full potential by creating standards and technical guidelines to ensure that the Web remains open, accessible and interoperable for everyone around the world.

The well-known W3C standards in HTML and CSS are the fundamental technologies upon which websites are built. W3C ensures that all fundamental web technologies meet the needs of civil society, in areas such as accessibility, internationalization, security and privacy. The W3C also provides the standards that underpin the infrastructure of modern web-enabled businesses in areas such as entertainment, communications, digital publishing and financial services. This work is created under open access, provided free of charge, and under the revolutionary W3C Patent Policy.

W3C’s vision for “One Web” brings together thousands of dedicated technologists representing more than 400 Member organizations and dozens of industrial sectors. The W3C is co-hosted by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the United States, the European Research Consortium in Computer Science and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France, Keio University in Japan and Beihang University in China.

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