In 2019, W3C published the first draft of its Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) standard. The DIDs standard defined a new type of identifier: one which is universal, cryptographically protected, and which links entities to relevant attributes, characteristics, and capabilities.
Rather than being issued and controlled by centralized authorities, DIDs are self-sovereign — i.e. created and managed by the entities to whom they belong (or a verified owner/controller of that entity). When anchored in a tamper-evident decentralized trust network such as the ITN, DIDs allow entities to engage in unique, private, and secure transactions using W3C Verifiable Credentials. The DIDs standard was advanced to a W3C recommendation in July 2022.
The creation of a standardized framework for decentralized trusted identity will reduce the reliance on centralized authorities and empower connected entities to own and control their data while shielding sensitive data from aggregators and bots. By enabling more secure IoT transactions, reducing the cost of trust, and opening the door to a number of multi-party applications for business automation, trusted identity promises to unlock the potential for a more robust and democratic IoT commerce ecosystem.