Sovrin Web of Trust

Webs of Trust

Building Trust

  1. Personal knowledge — The identifier is personally known to you through interactions outside Sovrin. People close to me would be in this category. This category also includes identifiers like those for my employer or other entities who I interact with in the physical world and can thus establish a trust connection through means outside of Sovrin. If I know and trust the Web site of an entity, a well-known discovery scheme could let me know what identifiers they claim and consequently I’d gain trust in those identifiers. Such a system could piggyback on the PKI used for Web certificates.
  2. Verifiable claims — The identifier is verified by reliance on other trustworthy claims. This is analogous to how banks use KYC to establish trust in a person opening an account. They check other documents that they can trust (like a driver license or passport). They trust those documents by relying on trust established via the method described in (1).
  3. Web of trust — The identifier is introduced to me by someone I trust or who can be transitively associated with someone I trust. This category most closely follows the PGP Web of trust model described in the wikipedia article I reference above. Various entities have signed the certificate associated with the identifier and I can trace those signatures back to other entities I trust.
  1. Because the term “trust anchor” is heavily associated with PKI, it might make sense to use another one to avoid confusion.



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Phil Windley

Phil Windley

I build things; I write code; I void warranties