June 30, 2020
As our recent posts have covered, over the last three months the Sovrin Foundation has undergone a major organizational, financial, and personnel restructure. This culminated in the election of a new board on June 17. However, throughout this restructuring period, the Sovrin MainNet has continued to operate with very high stability—the same stability that it has maintained since MainNet went live on 31 July 2017. Figure 1 summarizes the stats for the first four years of operation:
|Year||Write Uptime||Read Uptime|
In this post we will explain why the Sovrin ledger is so stable, and why the world will be able to continue to rely on the Sovrin MainNet ledger as a global public utility for SSI.
The first reason is the robust design and strong community support for the Hyperledger Indy open source codebase. This is the codebase operated by all 76 Sovrin Stewards around the world. Indy is a healthy project. Indy’s codebase has 26,582 commits from 189 unique contributors. This represents an increase of 7 contributors this quarter and about 696 additional commits. Forums and chat channels are monitored, and a variety of participants are contributing helpful responses to questions. The critical role of this layer of infrastructure has now been formalized by the Trust over IP Foundation where they are called ToIP Layer One utility networks.
The second reason is the support the Sovrin Foundation has always provided for the operation of the Sovrin ledger as a global public utility for SSI. Though the Foundation does not (and never will) operate the actual ledger—that’s the job of the Stewards (see below)—the Foundation as a public trust organization is responsible for monitoring the overall health of the ledger, dealing with any bugs or issues that arise, and managing upgrades to new versions of Hyperledger Indy when they have been approved by the Sovrin Technical Governance Board.
Prior to the transition, the Foundation was able to have several paid technical staff provide this support as well as contribute to the Hyperledger Indy codebase. After the restructuring period, some of this work had to shift to volunteers within the Sovrin community but, due to the importance of this core function of the Foundation, the Board is considering every option to ensure larger funding for network operations as soon as possible.
The third reason is the Sovrin Stewards. These are the trusted organizations around the world that operate the network by running validator nodes for reading and writing from the Sovrin ledgers. Sovrin Stewards are not paid—all of them donate their time, resources, and computing power to operate and maintain the network according to the requirements of the Sovrin Governance Framework.
The collective voice of the Stewards is represented by the Sovrin Steward Council. Nine new members were elected on 11 June 2020, including the chair, Lohan Spies of DIDX, who will serve as an ex-officio Trustee on the Sovrin board. Alexander Blom of Bloqzone will serve as co-chair.
The Steward Council, working alongside the Technical Governance Board, will be advising the Sovrin Board of Trustees on all major strategic, commercial, and architectural decisions regarding the Sovrin ledgers. They have established three workstreams to focus on the health and growth of Sovrin MainNet and further engage the Steward community: network availability; efficiency and automated monitoring; and scalability and interoperability within a Trust over IP (ToIP) network of networks.
“The Steward community is extremely important for the overall success of the Sovrin Network and these workstreams will concentrate our efforts on the most important factors to our success,” said Steward Council chair Lohan Spies.
Key volunteers in the Technical Governance Board have already implemented a number of automated scripts for network monitoring and notifications. The ultimate aim is to have a transparent monitoring system for MainNet where key performance metrics are always visible on the Sovrin website.
Stephen Curran, Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees, commented: “The resiliency of the Sovrin ledgers has been proven over the last three years and we continue to onboard new Stewards. We look forward to collaborating with the Steward community and other network of network operators to improve operational efficiencies, drive production usage, and continue to scale MainNet to fulfill Sovrin’s mission of Identity for All.”
Hundreds of volunteers continue to participate in the evolution of the Foundation, demonstrating the strength of our community and our shared passion for the global adoption of self-sovereign identity and the Identity for All mission. If you would like to join the Sovrin community in a volunteer capacity, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and a team member will get back to you as soon as possible.« A Second Generation of Trustees Take Their Seats on Sovrin Board Established Identity and Access Management (IAM) Specialist, Condatis, Adds Its Support to World’s Largest Decentralized Identity Network »