Why You Should Join the Hyperledger Identity Special Interest Group

Why You Should Join the Hyperledger Identity Special Interest Group

It’s hard to overstate the importance of digital identity: It governs every interaction online, from email and social media to ecommerce and critical financial transactions. Simply put, everyone must be able to trust that they are connecting with who they believe they are connecting with. 

This is the focus of the Hyperledger Identity Special Interest Group (SIG). It was created to “discuss, research, and document ways to capture, store, transmit and use identities on distributed ledger technology.” This means that the group is dedicated to the advancement of decentralized digital identity projects — both including and beyond those hosted by the Hyperledger and Linux Foundation communities — that offer an alternative to the current digital identity systems in place, such as logging in with a username and password or a third-party provider such as Facebook. 

These systems arose to solve the problem of knowing who people and entities are online due to the absence of an identity layer in the architecture of the internet (for historical reasons the early internet only identified computers, no one imagined billions of people and devices being online). But, as workarounds for identity, these current systems create as many problems as they solve: they rely on usernames and passwords, which can be easily compromised, require personal data to be stored by the identity provider, which creates a security risk, and allow online behavior to be monitored, which creates data privacy issues. These are the problems that decentralized identity technology solves — and this is what makes the Hyperledger Identity SIG so interesting.

The Identity SIG launched in May of 2023 as the next chapter for the Hyperledger Identity Working Group. As a SIG, it now focuses on education and community, broadening its mission from  the more technical working group goal of producing functioning projects.

The SIG holds bi-weekly meetings on Thursdays, looking into the latest from select projects around the digital identity space. Each hour-long meeting starts with a 20-minute recap of progress from the various different open-source code groups working on decentralized identity technology, such as the Hyperledger Aries Bifold project, DIDComm at the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF), and Trust Over IP (TOIP). The recap is open, so anyone on the call can share information or ask questions. If you have limited time in the week to attend meetings but would like to keep up to date with any major identity industry updates, this is the session to attend. 

Following the recap, there is usually a featured expert speaker exploring some aspect of decentralized identity in greater depth, and an engaged audience makes for a lively, informative discussion on topics central to digital transformation. Recent speakers include Stephan Curran from BCGov on Understanding Zero Knowledge Proofs with High School Math and Wenjing Chu from Futurewei Technologies on an Introduction to the OpenWallet Foundation

The Hyperledger Identity SIG is the place to be for both quick, bi-weekly updates and in-depth discussion on critical developments in decentralized identity. The group is a community effort through the Hyperledger Foundation. Attending and getting involved is free — and everyone is welcome! Interested in helping in the rapid development and deployment of decentralized identity technology? Attend our next session. You can see the meeting schedule, learn more about us, and find our meeting meeting notes archive here.

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