Decentralized Identity Foundation: DIF Zero-Trust Blockchain ID?

The Decentralized Identity Foundation, or DIF, aims to build an open source, decentralized identity ecosystem. Find out how it works today in our review.

What Is Decentralized Identity Foundation?

The Decentralized Identity Foundation aims to create a global identity verification system built on blockchain technology. That system will unite people, organizations, apps, and devices across a blockchain-based ecosystem, allowing anyone to verify their identities to one another without the need for a centralized third party.

Key features of the ecosystem include decentralized identities anchored by blockchain IDs, linked to zero-trust data stores that are universally discoverable.

DIF is supported by a range of major players in the tech industry, including Microsoft and IBM. You can visit the project online today at In early February 2018, Microsoft confirmed that it was working with DIF to solve challenges faced when storing and managing digital identities and personal data on the blockchain.

How DIF Aims To Provide Global Identity Solutions?

Decentralized Identity Foundation aims to create the pillars of a new ID verification ecosystem. That ecosystem will provide decentralized identity verification using a blockchain-based ecosystem. We’ll talk more about each specific pillar below.

The key function of the ecosystem is to provide decentralized identities anchored by blockchain identities, with those identities linked to zero trust data storage systems that are universally discoverable.

In more basic terms, Decentralized Identity Foundation wants to create a distributed identity verification system. That system would lie outside the control of any government or individual.

In today’s system, your identity is controlled by governments and corporations. These organizations have enormous control over your personal identity. We give corporations like Facebook our personal identity, for example, so that we can use their service while they sell our data to advertisers. Our governments, on the other hand, have a centralized database that records information about all residents in the country.

With Decentralized Identity Foundation, Microsoft and its tech partners seek to create an off-chain solution similar to the Lightning Network. That solution will allow the network to process a massive volume of ID data without congesting the main blockchain. When I say “massive amount”, I mean it – the solution will be built to manage millions of transactions per second.

DIF Zero-Trust Blockchain ID Products And Services

The website mentions a number of different “Working Groups” in active development by the DIF. Those working groups include all of the following:

Identifiers, Names, And Discovery

“A key piece of the decentralized identity equation is how people, devices, and other entities in the world are identified absent a centrally owned registry,” explains the official website. DIF seeks to address this by creating specifications, protocols, formats, and implementations regarding how identities are built on the blockchain, including specific protocols for cross-chain rooting, indexing, and resolution of decentralized identifiers and names.

Storage And Compute

Secure storage and computation of data is crucial for decentralization. Decentralized Identity Foundation aims to create a system where data storage and computing power are self-sovereign – just like the identities on the system itself. With that goal in mind, DIF is working on specifications, protocols, and implementations of applications, services, packages, and libraries that ensure interoperability between systems and providers.

Attestations And Reputation

Decentralized Identity Foundation puts a big emphasis on “attestations”, which they describe as “the backbone of trust and basis of reputation in decentralized identity systems.” In a decentralized identity system, you can’t depend on a centralized organization – like a government registry – to verify the identity of an individual. You have to rely on “attestations” – which are personal verifications from people who know each individual seeking verification. DIF intends to equip the decentralized identity communication with the protocols, tools, and implementations necessary to create and validate identity attestations.

You can view all Decentralized Identity Foundation code at the project’s Github page.

About Decentralized Identity Foundation

The Decentralized Identity Foundation, or DIF, was formed in May 2017. By October 2017, the organization had partnered with major names like IBM and Hyperledger.

The organization was founded to unite different groups that were all seeking to create their own global identity solutions. Many members of the group are competitors.

Key members of the Decentralized Identity Foundation include Tierion, Ideo, Microsoft, Gem, Blockstack, Uport, IBM, Hyperledger, Civic, and Accenture, among dozens of others.

Decentralized Identity Foundation Conclusion

Overall, organizations like Microsoft are leading the Decentralized Identity Foundation project because they believe that every individual should be in control of his or her identity. With that goal in mind, Microsoft and its teach partners are developing an off-chain solution – similar to the Lightning Network – that will allow the processing of massive amounts of data (like millions of transactions per second) without sacrificing security or immutability.

To learn more about the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF) and its unique goals, visit online today at

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