DID stands for Decentralized IDentifier, Decentralized Identity Document, and Decentralized IDentity all at the same time. Got it? Good. Now don’t use the word DID, don’t use the DID technology, and most of all don’t use the W3C DID standards. With user sovereignty as its guide and ethics as its foundation, the authentic data economy solves the problems plaguing DIDs, DIDs, and DIDs.

Political Solutions Never Solve Technological Problems

Photo by Vincent Ledvina on Unsplash

The W3C has been hard at work for the last four years in endless political fights over the design of the standard for decentralized identity documents and their identifiers. The end result is a design-by-committee solution that is malformed, didactic and fights adoption. It fails to meet basic requirements for a global, decentralized digital trust and identity system and it abandons the principles of user sovereignty and the ethics those bring. It is also heavily tailored for the web when decentralized identity is an Internet — and not just web — technology. Trying to make it web friendly creates clunky…

Photo by Yancy Min on Unsplash

T̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶d̶o̶c̶u̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶l̶i̶c̶e̶n̶s̶e̶d̶ ̶u̶n̶d̶e̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶C̶r̶e̶a̶t̶i̶v̶e̶ ̶C̶o̶m̶m̶o̶n̶s̶ ̶A̶t̶t̶r̶i̶b̶u̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶4̶.̶0̶ ̶I̶n̶t̶e̶r̶n̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶a̶l̶ ̶(̶C̶C̶ ̶B̶Y̶ ̶4̶.̶0̶)̶ ̶l̶i̶c̶e̶n̶s̶e̶.̶

This is a copy of the specification now governed as a Community Specification hosted on Github.

This project is generously sponsored by Google and the Linux Foundation.

This specification documents a new, proposed protocol Git uses when interacting with cryptographic signing and verification tools. The goal of this modification is to make Git able to use any signing and verification tool with a special emphasis on adding support for OpenSSH signing. The design eliminates all of the tool-specific code in Git, easing maintenance and increasing…

This Sumerian harvest record from 3,100 B.C. is an example of authentic data gathered by officials for use in administration of their society.

All of us intuitively have a sense of what trust is and how to earn and maintain it as well as how to lose it. Trust never comes for free. The cost of earning trust is consistent trustworthy behavior over time. It forms our reputation in our social circles. But what happens when you have to do business outside of our personal social circles, such as with a new bank, or with a government agency far removed? How is trust established then? How is it transmitted to the distant institution to conduct business and how is it transmitted back? Over…

There are so many people today focused on “re-decentralizing the web.” They have a popular belief that when the web was invented it was a wonderfully optimistic vision of decentralization, governed by democratic principles and full of free information available through open access that all of humanity benefited from. They assume that originally all users of the web were well behaved and companies only wanted to help make the world better. …

All networks begin as only one thing; one neuron, one cell, one chip, one computer, or one user. One entity alone is not a network, but it is the starting point for understanding the unified theory of decentralization. One entity is fully sovereign, it has no connections to anything else that might influence or control it. One entity in isolation is empowered to act however it wants to strive for whatever results it seeks.

When one entity connects to another however, then the behavior of one affects the other. Some form of agreement must be struck between them that dictates…

“Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge. Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.”

John Perry Barlow

The first time I heard the phrase “user sovereignty” was while working at Mozilla on the Firefox…


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