Credentials on Public/Private Linked Ledgers

Period of Performance: 05/02/2016 - 11/01/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Digital Bazaar, Inc.
203 Roanoke St W.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Research Topics


A wide variety of applications could benefit from combining identity management technology with decentralized ledgers (aka blockchains). However, not every application uses the same data or requires the same consensus or authorization models. While a single solution is unlikely, we assert each application could benefit from a standard, configurable, decentralized ledger with flexible semantics. We will study the feasibility of this concept by building a proof-of-concept Linked Data ledger format and architecture. We intend to configure this architecture to demonstrate how to publish credentials (aka verifiable attributes) to address specific DHS use cases and to commercialize the created technology. The proposed architecture would enable ledgers to provide independently, cryptographically verifiable credentials with flexible semantics. This approach decouples issuing and verification services, reducing infrastructure requirements and costs for issuers. It also increases a ledger's utility and number of participants, resulting in cost sharing and increased incentives to provide the high availability now only required by the verification process. For example, fire and rescue organizations could publish credentials about personnel to a highly available public ledger. First responders could then be authenticated to gain access to protected sites or resources by demonstrating ownership over these credentials via their mobile device. Even if the credential issuers had experienced complete system failure, the verification process would be unaffected. This approach encourages shared infrastructure costs, highly available verification systems, and new forms of authentication and authorization for numerous applications, including those that would benefit the DHS.