Hyperledger Aries to Enable Blockchain-Agnostic, Self-Sovereign Identity
Focusing on Interoperability
In two years since the introduction of Hyperledger Indy in 2017, the scope of work within its development community has far extended beyond what was initially set in its proposal. To clarify and keep track of new and existing peer-to-peer interaction code for secrets management, verifiable information exchange, and secure messaging across different blockchains and other distributed ledger technologies, Hyperledger Aries was set in motion.
During a self-sovereign identity (SSI) webinar in June 2019, Nathan George of the Sovrin Foundation explained how Aries stemmed from the Hyperledger Indy project to embrace non-blockchain components of a decentralized identity platform. By focusing on the information exchange, Aries looks to provide an infrastructure of tools for enabling data exchange, peer-to-peer messaging, and facilitating interactions between different distributed ledger technologies while remaining blockchain-agnostic.
What is Aries?
Aries is the second project that spun out of Hyperledger Indy (the first was Hyperledger Ursa). It was proposed to the Hyperledger project in April 2019 and was later accepted into incubation on May 2. Similar to Indy and Ursa, the primary contributor of Aries is the Sovrin Foundation.
Aries is an infrastructure of interoperable tools for designing solutions that create, manage, and transmit digital credentials. It is a reference implementation of the agent, decentralized identifier (DID) communications, wallet, protocols, and key management technologies, which make decentralized identity possible.
Aries currently provides the following features:
- support for multiple blockchains through the resolver interface
- secure data store interface with a vetted cryptographic library
- encrypted messaging for off-ledger communication
- zero-knowledge proof verifiable credentials
- decentralized key management system
How it works
With the separation of the credentials exchange and agent-to-agent layers from Indy, Aries focuses on interoperability among different agents, wallets, and credentials. Through the pluggable resolver interface, this interoperability also extends to other DID networks, such as Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Sawtooth, etc.
“The agent architecture inside Hyperledger Aries doesn’t require centralization in order to do what you need to accomplish. It actually enables a whole broader spectrum of semi-managed services, because it allows this construct of delegation and has more infrastructure for key management than what we’re used to from cloud cryptowallet providers.” — Nathan George, Sovrin Foundation.
Want details? Watch the video!
In this video, Nathan George provides an overview of self-sovereign identity. He then talks about the history behind Hyperledger Aries and the work being done.
You can also check out his slides from the webinar.