This is a proposed charter for a Decentralized Identifier Working Group, currently undergoing development by the W3C Credentials Community Group; this is the development version. It is available on GitHub. You may raise issues on this document issues to help further discussion.

Items (mostly URL-s), that will need update if and when the charter are accepted, are marked thusly.

Decentralized Identifier Working Group Charter

URL identifiers in use on the Web today (2019) require that the identifier is leased from an authority such as a Domain Name Registrar. The advent of Blockchains and Decentralized Ledger Technologies have led to innovations around a new type of URL, called a Decentralized Identifier (DID). DIDs have benefits over more traditional URLs:

W3C Members that would like to lean more about the motivations that led to this work may find the Primer for Decentralized Identifiers useful. There are also a set of Decentralized Identifier Use Cases that have been curated by the various organizations implementing and deploying this technology in commercial environments.

The mission of the Decentralized Identifier Working Group is to standardize the DID URI scheme as well as the data model and syntax of Decentralized Identifier Documents, which contain information related to DIDs that enable the aforementioned use cases.

Join the Decentralized Identifier Working Group.

Start date 15 April 2019
End date 15 April 2021
Chairs TBD
Team Contacts TBD (0.2 FTE)
Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: 1-hour calls will be held weekly
Face-to-face: we will meet during the W3C's annual Technical Plenary week; additional face-to-face meetings may be scheduled by consent of the participants, usually no more than 3 per year.


The Working Group will:

  1. Define the DID URI scheme.
  2. Recommend a data model and syntax(es) for the expression of Decentralized Identifier Documents, including one or more core vocabularies.
  3. Recommend a way of authoring specifications for DID Methods and protocols that are conformant with the data model and syntax(es).
  4. Concentrate their efforts on the identified use cases with a particular focus on enabling Identity and Access Management. Use cases from other industries may be included if there is significant industry participation.

Out of Scope

The following features and topics are out of scope and will not be addressed by this Working Group.

  • Authentication or Authorization Protocols
  • Browser APIs
  • Specific Implementations of DID Methods and Protocols
  • "Solving Identity" on the Web

Success Criteria

In order to advance to Proposed Recommendation, each specification is expected to have

  • At least two independent implementations of each of feature defined in the specification, and
  • a section detailing any known security or privacy implications for implementers, Web authors, and end users.

The group will maintain and advance a Test Suite allowing for testing of implementations.


More detailed milestones and updated publication schedules are available on the group publication status page.

Normative Specifications

The Decentralized Identifier Working Group will deliver the following W3C normative specifications:

Decentralized Identifiers v1.0

Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) are a new type of identifier for verifiable, "self-sovereign" digital identity. DIDs are fully under the control of the DID subject, independent from any centralized registry, identity provider, or certificate authority. DIDs are URLs that relate a DID subject to means for trustable interactions with that subject. DIDs resolve to DID Documents — simple documents that describe how to use that specific DID. Each DID Document contains at least three things: cryptographic material, authentication suites, and service endpoints. Cryptographic material combined with authentication suites provide a set of mechanisms to authenticate as the DID subject (e.g. public keys, pseudonymous biometric protocols, etc.). Service endpoints enable trusted interactions with the DID subject. This document specifies a common data model, format, and operations that all DIDs support.

The Credentials Community Group has developed a Final Community Group Specification for Decentralized Identifiers that has been shipped in multiple production-grade commercial systems that will serve as input for this document.

Note that the WG may decide, based on editorial and readability considerations, to spin off sections into separate Recommendations.

Other Deliverables

Other non-normative documents may be created such as:

Decentralized Identifier Use Cases v1.0

The Working Group will develop a set of use cases and requirements to underpin its work. Abstract use cases will be supported by real world evidence of applicability. The Credentials Community Group has developed a set of use cases and requirements that will serve as input for this document.


Note: The group will document significant changes from this initial schedule on the group home page.
Specification FPWD CR PR Rec
Decentralized Identifier Use Cases & Requirements (NOTE) May 2019 December 2020
Decentralized Identifiers Data Model and Syntax(es) June 2019 January 2020 July 2020 December 2020


For all specifications, this Working Group will seek horizontal review for accessibility, internationalization, performance, privacy, and security with the relevant Working and Interest Groups, and with the TAG. Invitation for review must be issued during each major standards-track document transition, including FPWD and at least 3 months before CR, and should be issued when major changes occur in a specification.

Additional technical coordination with the following Groups will be made, per the W3C Process Document:

W3C Groups

Verifiable Claims Working Group
Coordination on named graph indexing and other concerns regarding support for normalization and digital signatures.


To be successful, this Working Group is expected to have 6 or more active participants for its duration, including representatives from the key implementors of this specification, and active Editors and Test Leads for each specification. The Chairs, specification Editors, and Test Leads are expected to contribute half of a working day per week towards the Working Group. There is no minimum requirement for other Participants.

The group encourages questions, comments and issues on its public mailing lists and document repositories, as described in Communication.

W3C Members are invited to join this Working Group. Individuals who wish to participate as Invited Experts (i.e., they do not represent a W3C Member) should refer to the policy for approval of Invited Experts. The group also welcomes non-Members to contribute technical submissions for consideration upon their agreement to the terms of the W3C Patent Policy.


Technical discussions for this Working Group are conducted in public: the meeting minutes from teleconference and face-to-face meetings will be archived for public review, and technical discussions and issue tracking will be conducted in a manner that can be both read and written to by the general public. Working Drafts and Editor's Drafts of specifications will be developed on a public repository, and may permit direct public contribution requests. The meetings themselves are not open to public participation, however.

Information about the group (including details about deliverables, issues, actions, status, participants, and meetings) will be available from the Decentralized Identifier Working Group home page.

Most Decentralized Identifier Working Group teleconferences will focus on discussion of particular specifications, and will be conducted on an as-needed basis.

This group primarily conducts its technical work on the public mailing list public-did-wg@w3.org (archive) or on GitHub issues (and specification-specific GitHub repositories and issue trackers). The public is invited to review, discuss and contribute to this work.

The group will publish minutes for each teleconference at https://github.com/w3c/did-wg/Meeting/Minutes/ .

Decision Policy

This group will seek to make decisions through consensus and due process, per the W3C Process Document (section 3.3). Typically, an editor or other participant makes an initial proposal, which is then refined in discussion with members of the group and other reviewers, and consensus emerges with little formal voting being required.

However, if a decision is necessary for timely progress, but consensus is not achieved after careful consideration of the range of views presented, the Chairs may call for a group vote, and record a decision along with any objections.

To afford asynchronous decisions and organizational deliberation, any resolution (including publication decisions) taken in a face-to-face meeting or teleconference will be considered provisional. A call for consensus (CfC) will be issued for all resolutions (for example, via email and/or web-based survey), with a response period from one week to 10 working days, depending on the chair's evaluation of the group consensus on the issue. If no objections are raised on the mailing list by the end of the response period, the resolution will be considered to have consensus as a resolution of the Working Group.

All decisions made by the group should be considered resolved unless and until new information becomes available, or unless reopened at the discretion of the Chairs or the Director.

This charter is written in accordance with the W3C Process Document (Section 3.4, Votes), and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.

Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (Version of 5 February 2004 updated 1 August 2017). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis. For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.


This Working Group will use the W3C Software and Document license for all its deliverables.

About this Charter

This charter has been created according to section 5.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.