Overview

The Sovrin Governance Framework (SGF) is the legal foundation of the Sovrin Network as a global public utility for self-sovereign identity. It is developed by the Sovrin Governance Framework Working Group (SGFWG), currently chaired by Sovrin trustee Drummond Reed and Emily Fry, Digital Trust Lead at MATTR in New Zealand. Each new version is approved by the Sovrin Foundation Board of Trustees (BoT) to become the official set of governance documents for the operation of the Sovrin Ledger and the Sovrin Network.

The first version, the Sovrin Provisional Trust Framework, was approved by the Sovrin BoT on 28 June 2017 and has been operational since the launch of the Sovrin Provisional Network on 31 July 2017. The second version, now called the Sovrin Governance Framework V2, was first approved by the Sovrin BoT on 27 March 2019. An update to the legal architecture of the SGF to support compliance with GDPR and other data protection regulations around the world was approved by the BoT on 04 December 2019.

Composition of the Sovrin Governance Framework V2

The document architecture of the Sovrin Governance Framework V2 (SGF V2) is shown below:

SGF Document Structure

The primary documents in the SGF V2 include:

  1. Sovrin Governance Framework Master Document (PDF). The “constitution” of the Sovrin Network, this document defines the purpose, core principles, and core policies, and also references all other documents in the SGF V2, including all the Controlled Documents listed in Appendix A.
  2. The Sovrin Glossary (Linkable Version). A comprehensive glossary of over 250 terms used throughout all the SGF V2 documents and all of Sovrin infrastructure, plus eight appendices that provide in-depth explanations of core groups of terms. Also available in a PDF Version.
  3. The Sovrin Trust Assurance Framework (PDF) This document defines criteria and processes for assessing conformance of different Sovrin actors to the policies of the Sovrin Governance Framework.

The SGF V2 also includes five legal agreements:

  1. Sovrin Steward Agreement (PDF)between the Sovrin Foundation and a Sovrin steward.
  2. Steward Data Protection Agreement (PDF) between the Sovrin Foundation and a Steward establishes the responsibilities of each for complying with GDPR and other data protection regulations.
  3. Transaction Author Agreement (PDF) between the Sovrin Foundation and any person or organization initiating a write transaction to the Sovrin Ledger.
  4. Transaction Endorser Agreement (PDF) between the Sovrin Foundation and any organization requesting permission for write access to the Sovrin Ledger.
  5. The Transaction Endorser Data Protection Agreement (PDF) between the Sovrin Foundation and a Transaction Endorser establishes the responsibilities of each for complying with GDPR and other data protection regulations.

Lastly, this set of Controlled Documents contain policies managed by specific subgroups within the Sovrin Foundation:

  1. Sovrin Governing Body Policies (PDF)—the governance policies that apply to all Sovrin Governing Bodies.
  2. Sovrin Ledger Access Policies (PDF)—governing reading and writing to the Sovrin Ledger and processing Sovrin Ledger Transaction Data.
  3. Sovrin Steward Business Policies (PDF)—governing qualification, application, activation, operation, suspension, and termination of Sovrin stewards.
  4. Sovrin Steward Technical and Organizational Policies (PDF)—governing the security, node operation, node selection, and reporting requirements for Sovrin stewards.
  5. Transaction Endorser Technical and Organizational Policies (PDF)—governs the security and operational policy requirements for Transaction Endorsers
  6. Sovrin Economic Policies (PDF)—governing economic incentives, fees, and regulatory compliance.
  7. Sovrin Trust Mark Policies (PDF)—governing use of the Sovrin Trust Mark by stewards, agencies, and developers.

See Appendix A of the SGF Master Document (PDF) for a list of additional specifications referenced by the SGF.

These documents and many of the terms they contain are explained in more detail in the Appendixes to the Sovrin Glossary.

Public Comment on the Sovrin Governance Framework

All Sovrin Governance Framework documents are open to public review and comment. Every official approved PDF version above includes a link to a living community version listed at the bottom of this page. These are hosted as Google docs where anyone can add comments or make suggestions.

Please be judicious when you post—hundreds of hours have gone into developing these documents, and all comments or suggestions will be reviewed by SGFWG members, so we appreciate thoughtful and deliberate contributions.

Please note that the Sovrin Foundation is a non-profit public trust organization, so any contributions become part of the Sovrin public trust. We are happy to provide acknowledgement of valuable contributions.

Participation in the Sovrin Governance Framework Working Group

The SGFWG is always open to new participants. There is no membership requirement other than a genuine interest in decentralized governance for a global public utility for self-sovereign identity. Background in technical, legal, or business policy development is a bonus.

The SGFWG is currently focusing its work on five Task Forces:

  1. The Guardianship Task Force is exploring the powerful new domain of digital guardianship that is enabled via the combination of SSI technology and governance frameworks. Please see the Sovrin Guardianship page for more information.
  2. The SSI and IoT Task Force is focused on the intersection of SSI and Internet of  Things (IoT) technology, standards, and infrastructure.
  3. The Business of SSI Task Force is exploring the new business models enabled by SSI, both at the infrastructure and application layers.
  4. The Compliance and Payments Task Force is developing a “Rulebook”—that will enable financial intermediaries—both traditional and non-traditional—to safely engage in token-based transactions and other digital transfers of value in compliance with the globally established risk and regulatory safeguards that apply to traditional financial institutions.

Please visit any of the Task Force home pages linked above or the Sovrin Governance Framework Working Group meeting page or contact us directly if you would like to contribute to this work.

Living Community Versions of all SGF V2 Documents

All SGF V2 documents are also available for public comment via a Google doc. Just follow any of the links below.

Primary Documents

  1. Sovrin Governance Framework Master Document
  2. Sovrin Glossary
  3. The Sovrin Trust Assurance Framework

Legal Agreements

  1. Sovrin Steward Agreement
  2. Steward Data Processing Agreement
  3. Transaction Author Agreement
  4. Transaction Endorser Agreement
  5. Transaction Endorser Data Processing Agreement

Controlled Documents

  1. Sovrin Governing Bodies
  2. Sovrin Governing Body Policies
  3. Sovrin Ledger Access Policies
  4. Sovrin Ledger Transaction Data
  5. Sovrin Steward Business Policies
  6. Sovrin Steward Technical and Organizational Policies
  7. Transaction Endorser Technical and Organizational Policies
  8. Sovrin Economic Policies
  9. Sovrin Trust Mark Policies