Going BIG: The Open Identity Exchange Blockchain, Identity & Governance Forum

I’ve resisted jumping on the blockchain bandwagon. No doubt blockchain and DLT continue to be hot topics. But the conversation is now maturing.

Technical collaboration is happening at a rapid pace in places like the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF), a consortium formed earlier this year in a bid to promote interoperability and standards for blockchain-based ID systems. Serious contributions are focusing on a key piece of consortium success: governance.

I recently joined OIX members in presenting at MIT’s Workshop on Blockchain, AI and the Law. That event, together with great research on taxonomies, self-sovereignty, etc. by Omidyar, signals that traction on the role of governance in blockchain and DLT-based identity systems is now in play. Most importantly, several new members brought blockchain issues to OIX.

The crash of 2018 is coming. I believe the resilience, transparency and trustworthiness, or the lack thereof, will contribute to the downfall of many bitcoin-based consortia in 2018. While bitcoin is out of scope, DLT may enable verification to be done without needing to contact the issuer of the digital identity.

The potential to elevate and extend country-specific identity schemes to become globally verifiable with minimal effort is relevant to many OIX members. Many are seeing benefits in the ability for people to accumulate identity data about themselves, such as university degrees, professional qualifications, sports club membership, visas, inoculation evidence, etc.


The OIX Blockchain, Identity & Governance (BIG) Forum 

Accordingly, the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) is launching the “Blockchain, Identity & Governance” (BIG) forum in response to member requests and will be a public part of the OIX Member Forum. New OIX members like Evernym and Swirlds, and in collaboration with the Accord Project, will help focus the BIG Forum.

The OIX BIG forum is focused on the governance of identity systems that utilize blockchain/ DLT in the context of trust frameworks. They will look to develop governance models, examine the role of smart contracts and trust frameworks to establish the transparency and trust necessary for consortiums and systems to operate.

OIX is partnering with the Accord Project to develop a white paper focused on smart contracts that will be part of the OIX Trust Framework Series of papers. The OIX BIG forum will be informed by the Accord Project white paper to identify specific types of legal agreements that can be benefit from smart contracts. This type of work starts gathering the legal and contract expertise where the technologists are playing a more navigational than a driver role.

OIX’s focus is on the governance of blockchain/DLT implementations within trusted global identity systems. The points below highlight OIX’s BIG initiative:

  1. OIX membership includes leading experts in identity systems that know why it’s so important not to dump private information (even hashed or encrypted) onto a permanent ledger.
  2. Considered professional analysis concludes that the time is now right to engage the broader community in developing governance models.
  3. The OIX members understand the role of trust frameworks in enabling public/private sector cooperation. The Forum will focus on designing the trust frameworks to sit on top of a decentralized set of identity protocols.
  4. OIX has shown the value of testing of use cases with real people, taking the focus away from the technorati and into the use cases that bedevil our members.


What’s Next?

Members are welcome to join the Forum’s development of governance models through upcoming white papers and workshops. Next steps:

  1. OIX to launch Blockchain, Identity & Governance (BIG) forum in 2018.
  2. OIX and Accord Project to publish the Smart Contracts white paper.
  3. OIX and the CodeX Stanford Center for Legal Informatics at the Stanford Law School are planning workshop focused on Blockchain, Identity and Governance in Palo Alto in Q1 2018.

A Framework for the Future of Aviation and Trust

Aviation is changing drastically and a trust framework between airports, airlines and governments may be the hallmark of that change.

With number of people traveling set to almost double from the expected 4 billion this year to 7.8 by 2036, the airport operations and passenger facilitation that we know today will cease to exist. To meet this demand, airports will have to double their capacity in size and make more efficient use of infrastructure. Passengers will move faster, without friction through the airport to their flight. This seamless scenario starts with more of the travel preparation begun off airport.  Checking in by registering your identity on your mobile device and having your bag collected at home will begin the improved user journey. Once at the airport the passenger will be identified through matching their biometrics at required touch points like airside access, border control and boarding. The touch points at the airport will be passed at a walking pace, a seamless flow marked by an improved user experience with equally improved privacy and security protections.

The aviation industry is working to realize this picture of passenger journey today. There is one precondition they have to address: trusted data sharing between the many stakeholders. Stakeholders with competing plans, priorities and processes will have to cooperate to meet the demands of this changing world of aviation. The global aviation ecosystem requires these “teams of rivals” to collaborate to enable the passenger to pass airport touch points in a fast and secure way. Stakeholders will need to agree on the “tools and rules,” the business, technical and legal standards for the sharing of data. Aviation leaders have begun to organize themselves in agile governance structures to manage shared business, legal and technical standards. Those agreed standards will be memorialized in trust frameworks.

IATA’s OneID Task force has begun working with airlines, airports, governments and vendors to agree on the next generation of business, legal and technical standards. Airports, big and small, are updating operations in full cooperation with all stakeholders.  Industry leaders understand that the interdependence of airports to meet the increased privacy and security requirements will drive the necessary interoperability between airports. They’ve engaged with the Open Identity Exchange to learn how other industries are developing similar global trust frameworks. The seamless flow of passengers in airports and between airports is enabled by an analogous flow of data among stakeholders. The OneID Task Force is leading these teams of rivals and is taking up the challenge of developing a new set of “tools and rules,” the standards that will enable airports to offer a more secure, privacy protecting and seamless passenger journey in the future.



Annet Steenbergen
Annet Steenbergen is co founder of the first seamless passenger facilitation, the Aruba Happy Flow, advises the Government of Aruba and is consultant seamless flow. She also chairs IATA’s Passenger Facilitation Working group.

Don Thibeau
Chairman – Open Identity Exchange
Executive Director – OpenID Foundation