Hyperledger Mentorship Spotlight: GVCR: Secure Verifiable Credential Registries (VCR) for GitHub & GitLab

Hyperledger Mentorship Spotlight: GVCR: Secure Verifiable Credential Registries (VCR) for GitHub & GitLab

What did you work on?

Project name: GVCR: Secure Verifiable Credential Registries (VCR) for GitHub & GitLab

My name is Sarvesh Shinde and this is my personal blog that I’m writing to share my experience of working on the GVCR Project. A little background about the project is really necessary to fully appreciate the objectives of this project. 

Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) is a digital identity management model in which an individual or a company has the exclusive ownership over their accounts and personal data. A verifiable credential protocol, in turn, forms one of the three pillars of Self-Sovereign Identity, along with the Decentralized Identifiers protocol (DIDs) and Distributed Ledger Technology (or blockchain).

This project was conceptualized to provision secure verifiable credential registries that utilize Github’s data model and API to offer exactly the same APIs for any other verifiable credential registry. This project exists as an extension to the DRMan project.

The DRMan project, inspired by the SDKMan, acts as a tool for managing multiple versions of different software development libraries. These libraries form the necessary dependencies for the extended feature modules that reside inside DRMan, including GVCR.

What did you learn or accomplish?

GVCR, along with DRMan, is a command line utility. This project has been entirely written in shell script. Shell script has a distinct advantage of making the tool light weight, easy to install and to use.

As of now, GVCR has been provisioned to utilize Github and Gitlab as its two git based registries. The plugin architecture of GVCR allows it to provision for more VCRs in the relative future. The APIs of these individual git based registries are designed to be a collection of facade functions that provide the same feature on the surface, all the while accommodating for the individual data models of the specific registry under the hood.

GVCR can be utilized in an Hyperledger Aries Framework as an implementation of VCR and collaborates with existing Agent and Wallet open source projects in Hyperledger Aries. It can also be used in Hyperledger Indy projects by providing endpoints of cryptographic verifications for credential issuers.

In near future, GVCR is envisioned to leverage Hyperledger Ursa to implement encryption, decryption and verification functions for verifiable credentials.

I was responsible for the design and implementation of this very GVCR module.

Now coming to the topic of the mentorship program itself, let me give you a rundown of its structure, working mechanism and decision making process. This mentorship was a careful balance of a hands-off approach towards the design planning and realization part that I undertook and the existence of biweekly meetings that acted as an efficient feedback mechanism from the mentors. These biweekly meetings were really efficient in setting the tempo of the progress and made sure that all the involved participants were aware of their individual tasks at hand.

The mentorship started on June 1st and continued until November 16th. Further, the mentorship was broken into two halves. In general, the first half was more focused on the design aspect of this project while the second half came down to its implementation.

What comes next?

Overall, this mentorship has been a wonderful experience and has enabled me to pursue my career in blockchain. The future of a secure, verifiable digital identity and its co-operability with a decentralized ledger brings a new outlook to the future of digital identity and just how important its acceptance is to finally realizing the ultimate goal of exclusively owning our own identities. New technologies are constantly coming up to make this future a reality, and I’m looking forward to contributing my part towards it.

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