The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced that Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) v1.0 is now an official web standard. 

The new type of verifiable identifier doesn’t require a centralized registry and it will enable individuals and organizations to take better control of their online information while providing greater security and privacy, according to W3C. 

Users will be able to take email addresses and social network addresses along with them whenever they want to switch between service providers, and this information can last for as long as their controller wants to continue using them in a similar way to how some individuals can take their mobile number with them when switching carriers.

DIDs also enable the controller to verify ownership of the DID using cryptography, allowing for more trustworthy transactions online. 

“Fundamentally, Decentralized Identifiers are a new type of globally unambiguous identifier that can be used to identify any subject (e.g., a person, an organization, a device, a product, a location, even an abstract entity or a concept). Each DID resolves to a DID document that contains the cryptographic material and other metadata for controlling the DID,” W3C wrote in a blog post.

The foundational pillars of DIDs are:

  1. They do not require a central issuing agency and are decentralized
  2. They do not require the continued operation of an underlying organization (persistent)
  3. Control of DIDs, and the information they are associated with, can be proven cryptographically
  4. DID metadata can be discovered