Event Recap: Internet Identity Workshop Never Disappoints

May 14, 2019

The staff of the Sovrin Foundation always looks forward to getting the opportunity to gather together with our colleagues from around the identity community and work together on some of the most pressing issues facing decentralized identity. On April 30, 2019, nearly 270 people working in identity gathered at the Computer History Museum in Mountainview California for the 28th meeting of Internet Identity Workshop (IIW).

IIW XXVII spanned 3 days and with a total of 129 session conducted by people from all over the world discussing identity, conducting demonstrations of their work, and collaborating to help drive the future of decentralized identity technology. There were technical discussions, standards work, policy debates, and several groundbreaking demonstrations.

Chair of the Sovrin Foundation Board of Trustees, Dr Phil Windley is part of the team that began this workshop nearly fourteen years ago when the crowd could fit into a basement of a local church. Now, attendees come from around the world across multiple industries, governments, communities, and enterprises.

Self-sovereign identity seemed to spill over into many of the sessions and the name “Sovrin” could be overhead in many of the conversations among Stewards, developers, and staff throughout the halls and meeting spaces. Several of Sovrin’s nearly 70 Stewards who run the Sovrin Network validator nodes also joined us at IIW this year, many demoing their own identity products that run on the Sovrin Network.

IIW attendee Alberg Solana described it in his recent blog post recapping the event: “Solutions about Self-Sovereign Identity are a fact and no introduction is required. The community is working on defining what needs to be done to make them broadly adopted.”

Here are a few IIW takeaways from the Sovrin Foundation employees who were in attendance:

“What got me excited about these demonstrations was that there were seven different organizations interoperably working in an ecosystem for credential exchange. While the rely on common libraries like Hyperledger Indy, they are separate code bases from different development teams that work together. This is a big development in the world of self-sovereign identity, demonstrating the reality of data exchange that is credential-based, secure, and private.” – Phil Windley. (read more about Phil’s experience at IIW on his blog)

“The quality and in some cases advancements made since the last IIW show a clear sign of the successful proliferation of decentralized identity and specifically self sovereign identity. There were more developers presenting well tested decentralized identity wallets, agents, and networks than ever before. I saw many organizations at the demo hour with a clearly articulated product, solid financial backing, real customers and are finding market success in digital identity.” – Heather Dahl, CEO

“The last day of IIW contained the very first community meeting of the brand new Hyperledger Aries Project, having been accepted as an incubation project earlier that morning. The Hyperledger Aries Project extracts the Agent components of the Indy into a separate project. This separation allows the development of community wide standards for compatible communication and credential exchange. It will also ease the process of integrating Sovrin-based credentials and trust frameworks into systems built primarily on other ledgers and software stacks. Integration and common protocols between all the players in the SSI ecosystem will help ensure successful deployment of core principles. It will also expand the pool of systems that can integrate the privacy features of Sovrin based ZKPs.” – Nathan George, CTO

“Five of the over one hundered sessions at IIW were focused around protocol and format convergence between apps, wallets, and agents that communicate and exchange credentials. We discussed base level encryption formats, message typing schemes, message routing features, and protocol . We were proud to contribute some of the materials that had been incubated with the Indy and Sovrin communities. We are now looking forward to continued work with the broader community.” – Sam Curren, Sovrin Agent Architect

“There are few events that get a more diverse, identity solution driven community together than IIW. This year was no exception. The number of women, minorities, non-technical startup founders, and variety of network participants is a clear indicator that the problem with identity online permisates across many industries and verticals. Even those outside of the open source development community see that identity online needs to be fixed and understand that self sovereign identity is a solution. I hope to see an even more diverse crowd next year with more sessions on the business development of self sovereign identity” – Helen Garneau, Marketing Director

There were seven different Sovrin enabled projects and services giving demos at IIW:

As Ayesha Dissanayaka, Engineer and first time IIW attendee, said in her blog: “IIW is not only a gathering of the community who shape up the digital identity world. It is a place to bring ideas into action, knowledge into the table, work in progress into work done and most importantly individuals to network.”

Drummond Reed, Chief Trust Officer at Evernym and Trustee at the Sovrin Foundation,  did a wonderful recap of the vent too on the SSI Meetup webinar.

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The next meeting of IIW will be on October 1st, 2019 at the Computer History Museum, in Mountain View, California. Details to follow.

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