What is a rubric?
Rubrics provide a framework for fairly evaluating a subject against common criteria. They are used in education to describe both educational goals as well as to capture and report evaluations of students against those goals. We used it with Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) to help address fundamental complexity in the technology itself.
During the development of DIDs, the community faced a quandary: how do we know if a given DID Method is, “decentralized” enough to qualify as a Decentralized Identifier ? Despite our conceptual alignment on the scope and purpose of the work, we could not find consensus on a closed form definition that could serve as a litmus test.
The solution was to develop “A Rubric for the Decentralization of DID Methods”, a set of simple criteria that captured the community’s ideas about what decentralization meant to different members. Different evaluators could use the shared framework while still tailoring their analysis to their particular needs and policies. Each DID Method evaluator is encouraged to choose the criteria that matter most to their particular use case, evaluate those criteria for the Methods under consideration, and generate an apples-to-apples comparison on a criteria-by-criteria basis for any Method under consideration. This work was well received and has been adopted by the DID WG and expanded to become a general DID Method Rubric.
What is a Decentralized Identifier (DID)?
A decentralized identifier is an identifier that can be created, used, updated, and deactivated without the involvement of a trusted third party. Instead of being tied to a central service, like Facebook or Google or the Department of Motor Vehicles, DIDs can be created by anyone, anywhere, and be used for any purpose. Designed to be used for digitally verifiable attestations and authorizations, DIDs use modern cryptography–and sometimes cryptocurrencies–to establish proof-of-control over cryptographic secrets that can be used to secure digital content and demonstrate authorizations. As identifiers, they may be used to identify anything with a label which can be cryptographically verified. When used to identify the subject of a credential, they allow the controller of the subject to verify control when necessary or appropriate, without the need to check with any central authority.
What is a DID Method?
DID Methods are the magic ingredient that give DIDs their flexibility. Before creating any specific DID, you first choose a DID method, which determines how you create, read, update, and deactivate a DID of that method. Different DID Methods use different underlying mechanisms with different performance, security, and privacy tradeoffs. Some DIDs use cryptocurrencies, others are entirely self-contained. Any individual or organization could devise a new, innovative way to manage decentralized identifiers, document it as a DID Method, then promote that method through marketing and standardization efforts.
Why a podcast? What are you trying to achieve?
As we were developing the written rubrics, it became evident that one really needs a lot of expertise in both the rubric itself and the method that you’re evaluating to do a proper evaluation. There is a huge learning curve, even for experts in this space. And that’s why we created the podcast. Our clients, and our client’s clients are constantly being called upon to answer the question: Which DID method should I use? We’re here to help people figure that out.
We bring DID method creators and users onto the show to explore how DID methods work, what’s unique about different DID methods, and which methods might be suited to particular situations. Our hope is that first, anyone can listen to our podcast and get a smart but inclusive discussion about a particular DID method or particular use case and come away with a better understanding of how their own business organization or project might be able to use DIDs. Second, our hope is that we can cycle through most, if not all of the current DID methods to give an audio introduction that serves the community long-term as an anchor for exploring and understanding specific methods. So listeners not only get a library of methods, specific discussion and insight, but also a broader understanding of how the rubric can be applied to any use case, especially their own.
Have you reviewed method X?
Please check the Episodes page.