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Rubrics for Decentralization of DID Methods Creative Brief

By Joe Andrieu, Amy G, Joachim Lohkamp, =Drummond Reed, Markus Sabadello, Oliver Terbu, Kai Wagner

Submitted as advanced reading for RWOT9 in hopes of channeling effort towards a full first draft through the RWOT process.

The Rubrics for Decentralization of DID Methods document (the Document) will help people evaluate real or potential DID Methods. This document outlines the collaborative aspirations of the Document's editors.


The Document has the following tactical objectives

  1. Present a set of rubrics for evaluating the decentralized character of any given DID Method.

  2. Explain how these rubrics help evaluate DID methods.

  3. Be concise and accessible.


The Document has the following strategic goals, in order of priority.

  1. Help standards collaborators make better decisions about what DIDs should enable and how they might do so.

  2. Help DID Method creators evaluate the trade offs in decentralizating their DID method.

  3. Help DID Method users (both app developers and decision makers) evaluate potential DID Methods for use in their applications.


The Document explicitly is not about addressing the following potential opportunities.

  1. It will not define a top-level metric for evaluating DID methods. No single metric can encapsulate all engineering trade offs. We reject singular metrics as oversimplified.

  2. It will not define a framework for certification, self- or otherwise. The intent is to enable a subjective, qualitative evaluation, not a rigorous, hard standard with specific measurable characteristics. Document readers will interpret the rubrics against their specific use cases.

  3. It will not be exhaustive. The approach is to capture the rubrics driving the work in the community, NOT to evaluate all possible criteria for evaluating a given DID Method.

  4. It will not directly provide guidance on DIDs or decentralization. We anticipate the rubrics will have some applicability and impact beyond DID Methods. For example, other communities may leverage this work for more effective engagement with collaborators and customers. However, the definitive filter is whether or not a given rubric is appropriate for evaluating the nature of how decentralized a given DID Method is.

  5. It will not provide direct guidance on what DID Methods should or should not be published in any particular registry. However, we anticipate that some registry maintainers may include one or more of the rubrics in their evaluation of acceptable DID Methods.


  1. Standards collaborators

  2. DID Method creators

  3. DID Method users (app developers and decision-makers)

We are not targeting end-users of any kind in the Document. Explaining how DID trade offs manifest in words a typical consumer might understand is out of scope. We presume a technically competent reader with a modest familiarity with DIDs.

Talking Points

  1. Rubrics -- as evaluation tools in education

  2. Decentralization means different things to different people

  3. Different people have invested their time in DIDs with various deeply-held ideas about what decentralization means.

  4. Although decentralization has a political element---many favor it for populist and/or libertarian ideals---there are structural and functional benefits of decentralization that provide value regardless of political inclination. For example, the (in)ability to avoid a single-point of failure is useful whether you are a crypto-anarchist or tasked with maintaining the security of America's innately distributed IT infrastructure.

  5. Appliers of the rubrics must evaluate based on their own requirements. In particular, not all rubrics will make sense for all applications.

Source of Credibility

  1. The editors of the Document are also involved in the following initiatives.

    1. Editors of the DID Spec, the DID Charter, the DID Use Cases document and the DID Resolution spec.
    2. The co-chair of the W3C Credentials Community Group, chairs of multiple DIF Working Groups, board member of INATBA, as well as leadership from the Rebooting the Web of Trust workshop.
    3. Developers and senior leadership from major DID implementers, including Evernym, Digital Bazaar, Danube Tech, Consensys, and Jolocom.
    4. The European Self Sovereign Identity Framework (ESSIF) which is part of the European Blockchain Partnership, building a European Blockchain Service Infrastructure
    5. ISO TC307
  2. Rubrics are proven to be useful for evaluating soft skills in education

  3. Endless debates about whether Bitcoin or Ethereum are actually decentralized.

Call to Action

After reading the Document, we want people to collaborate and communicate better about how DIDs and DID methods support decentralization.

  1. Avoid rabbit holes of decentralization in collaborative conversations. Instead, focus on the rubrics that most affect your desired outcomes.

  2. Write a blog post or present a talk on the decentralization rubrics that are most important for your most valued use cases.

  3. Create issues with suggestions and improvements for the Document.