Building a community of self-sovereign identity allies to forge alliances and moving decentralized identity forward

November 11, 2019

Last week, the DID Alliance, a new initiative focusing on usability and provenance for decentralized identity, issued a press release announcing the launch of their organization. In the press release, the DID Alliance mistakenly included the Sovrin Foundation in their list of members. While the Sovrin Foundation has been working with the DID Alliance in our role of building support for and encouraging the adoption of self-sovereign identity (SSI), we are not a member. 

The DID Alliance is a new entrant to the identity space. Sovrin Foundation Board of Trustees Chair Phil Windley met Ramesh Kesanupalli, one of the founders of the DID Alliance, at the last Internet Identity Workshop in October. Ramesh has over 30 years of industry experience, and among his successes he is the founder of Nok Nok Labs and the co-founder of the FIDO Alliance ( The other Founder of DID Alliance is Soonhyung Lee, founder and CEO of Raonsecure.  

Some in the Sovrin Community have rightly pointed out that the ideas on the DID Alliance website are inconsistent with the principles in the Sovrin Governance Framework. Ultimately, the mission of the Sovrin Foundation is to encourage interoperability, cooperation, and above all, education in all aspects of a rapidly growing SSI ecosystem. Only by bringing different parties together and talking through our differences, educating each other, and engaging in measured, rational discourse, can we truly execute on that mission. The Foundation engages with many different individuals and organizations, and we approach each with an open mind, looking for shared beliefs in support of our goal to bring them into our community. 

Interoperability among SSI-based solutions will only happen with a rich community of contributors who are working together. An SSI community is no longer a far-off dream—it is being established by the Sovrin Foundation today. Our community, including those participating in the Sovrin Alliance, is experiencing first-hand the benefits that come along with SSI and solutions built to run on Sovrin, including a flexible yet strong metasystem for true self-sovereign identity. Even more, the Sovrin Foundation is well placed with a firm foothold in other bodies working in this space such as the World Wide Web Consortium, Hyperledger, and Decentralized Identity Foundation.

Any organization attempting to gain adoption for something as far-reaching as the identity metasystem we envision is only as strong as the community involved. Especially when working in identity, it is important to have a diverse and inclusive community to help further the adoption of this technology. The Sovrin Foundation, through the Sovrin Alliance, works diligently to attract those from all over the world with all types of perspectives and backgrounds.

Interoperability among industries is a primary target of the Sovrin Alliance, launched in March 2019. And while it is great to use a verifiable credential within a single industry vertical, we believe the real benefit comes when you can present a credential from your bank to to a car dealership. That will open up a world of possibilities that are only dreams today. 

In the coming years, SSI will touch every industry around the world. Organizations embracing SSI will be well-placed to tackle the challenges of today and trials of tomorrow with Sovrin. SSI is a breakthrough business opportunity for many industry verticals, one that is based on privacy by design. 

To the extent that the DID Alliance or any other organization supports the principles of SSI and the interoperability embodied in the identity metasystem, we welcome them as partners in the Sovrin Alliance in building adoption and support for this exciting way of creating online identity solutions that are private, secure, flexible, and trustworthy.

Dr. Phillip J. Windley, PhD is Chair of the Board of Trustees and Heather Dahl is Executive Director of the Sovrin Foundation, a nonprofit administering the governance and oversight of the Sovrin Network, a decentralized system for self-sovereign identity.  

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