IIW: a Second Timers Perspective

Alexis Falquier
Oct 24, 2019 · 4 min read
Day 2 Session Board

Around six months ago the Spaceman ID team attended their first Internet Identity Workshop; IIW XXVIII. You can read about our first timers perspective here. As soon as we left we knew we would be back, and we would try our best to attend every iteration of IIW that we could in the future. We attended our second IIW earlier this month; IIW XXIX.

Nat Sakimura, chairman of open ID, showing the biggest opening circle in IIW history. Opening circle is when all the participants get together in the morning to create the agenda for the day

The Spaceman ID team first started working in the Self Sovereign Identity (SSI) space about a year and a half ago. We dove head first into the community and technologies driving SSI forward, with a main goal to become a catalyst in making SSI available for any and all solutions through our easy to use suite of products. IIW is and will continue to be an important part of our path to success. When we attended last spring we were very impressed with what we experienced. Most notably the community that IIW has built for everyone working in SSI, an International operation working to keep organizations up to date and connected through a variety of mediums (working groups, virtual calls and foundations).

Drummond Reed, Chief Trust Officer at Evernym and Board Member of Sovrin, describing a session that highlights the type of collaboration that IIW promotes in the SSI space

In only six months we had become active participants in the community through call attendance and collaborations with other SSI companies. Our return to IIW brought back the same feelings we felt initially, this time though, instead of just watching and ingesting the conference, the Spaceman ID team actually participated and actively interacted at IIW. We even held a session where we gathered a collective of companies together in order to workshop a new standard protocol; a universal deep-linking and URI protocol for SSI mobile apps. This standard would allow for communication interoperability between SSI software solutions and mobile apps. From this workshop a set of guidelines were created, and Spaceman ID is now working on drafting the protocol to be published as a Hyperledger Aries RFC.

In addition to diving into the SSI community we also have been working incredibly hard on our products since the last IIW. Our goal, noted in the last sentence of our first IIW article, was to actually demo at our next IIW. We are incredibly proud to announce we were able to accomplish that! Spaceman ID showed the capabilities of cloud hosted wallets and how easily they can be implemented through an arbitrary driver. In the case of the demo we showed how one can get access to an Aries capable wallet simply through the use of SMS, no need to download any apps, no need to register to any site, one text and you can get the benefits of Self Sovereign Identity. We wanted to show the demo as an example of how easy it would be to implement our cloud custody wallet solution. The use of SMS piqued the interest of people and groups that are working towards making SSI universally available regardless of technological advancement. A good use case example is developing countries who have over 60% of mobile phone users on feature phones.

Alexis Falquier demoing the Spaceman ID cloud hosted wallets with SMS drivers

As much as we have progressed in six months it was even more notable how much the space as a whole had advanced. In only six months the tech in the space has advanced quite significantly, simple demos we saw last IIW were now fleshed out solutions. Hyperledger Aries was announced last IIW and now feels like its a project that has existed for years with how extensive and well developed it is. During this IIW we heard a couple of people note that the industry finally felt like it was progressing past its foundational building blocks and can now sustain real solutions, real products. It is starting to feel like the new age of Internet identity is right around the corner.

Fellow SSI Incubator cohort member Sebastian from Xerify showing the kind of discussions lead at IIW that ensure the successful future of SSI everywhere

Another reason why this IIW had such a tangible sense of progress was that this time around we were fortunate enough to be there as one of the companies taking part of the SSI Incubator. We are part of the first ever cohort along with four other incredibly diverse companies, both in solution and geographical headquarters, who are also working on SSI solutions. It was very cool to see these companies attend their first IIW and feel right at home where they too hosted sessions and presented demos. Just as we were, the cohort was impressed by the community around IIW and the collaboration between everyone. It is an exciting time for the SSI space and we at Spaceman ID are proud to be a part of it.

SSI Incubator cohort at IIW with Maya Kanehara, SSI Incubator Managing Director, [middle bottom row] and Heather Dahl, CEO of Sovrin [right bottom row]

Outside of these new experiences however, one thing that remained the same; we came out of IIW more knowledgeable and with new perspectives on how we can progress forward. We plan on applying the knowledge and momentum gathered at IIW to our development goals over the coming months. With all that said, once again, keep an eye out for Spaceman ID at IIW XXX either presenting a session or giving another demo.