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Hyperledger announces new blockchain-based identity management infrastructure

Wed, 15 May 2019, 06:25 am UTC

Hyperledger has unveiled its newest project – a new blockchain-based identity management system.

On Tuesday, Hyperledger announced Aries, which it defined as a shared infrastructure of tools that will enable the exchange of blockchain-based data, support peer-to-peer messaging, and facilitate interoperable interaction between different blockchains and other distributed ledger technologies (DLTs).

“Hyperledger Aries is infrastructure for blockchain-rooted, peer-to-peer interactions. It’s not a blockchain and it’s not an application,” it said.

According to the official announcement, the Sovrin Foundation, a nonprofit that provides the business, legal, and technical support for the Sovrin Network, has been the primary contributors to the initiative.

In 2015, tech firm Evernym started designing a new blockchain, called Sovrin, to tap into the potential of blockchain technology for self-sovereign identity (SSI)—lifetime portable digital identity that does not depend on any central authority and can never be taken away.

Evernym’s Drummond Reed and Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger, launched Hyperledger Aries during CoinDesk LIVE on Tuesday. Behlendorf said that SSI tools like Aries help reduce the time taken to spin up identity systems, CoinDesk reported.

Hyperledger Aries includes:

  • A blockchain interface layer (known as a resolver) for creating and signing blockchain transactions.
  • A cryptographic wallet for secure storage (the secure storage tech, not a UI) of cryptographic secrets and other information used to build blockchain clients.
  • An encrypted messaging system for off-ledger interactions between clients using multiple transport protocols.
  • An implementation of ZKP-capable W3C verifiable credentials using the ZKP primitives found in Ursa.
  • An implementation of the Decentralized Key Management System (DKMS) specification currently being incubated in Hyperledger Indy.
  • A mechanism to build higher-level protocols and API-like use cases based on the secure messaging functionality described earlier.

Reed said the Hyperledger‘s tools are already being used to develop government identity projects. This includes the Verifiable Organizations Network – a public permissioned production ledger for SSI.

Hyperledger Aries is related to both Hyperledger Indy, which provides a resolver implementation, and Hyperledger Ursa, which it uses for cryptographic functionality. Aries will consume the cryptographic support provided by Ursa to provide both secure secret management and hardware security modules support, the release said.

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