Other Research

Blockchain Research Group Home

Decentralized Identity and Cryptographically Verifiable Credentials

Researchers are applying data models and protocols emerging from the internet identity community to ratify provenance of datasets and IoT assets, as well as undertaking pilot studies in using self-sovereign identity technologies and governance frameworks for birth registration in rural and urban communities around the globe. Building on software architectures covering the range of lightweight implementations of W3C protocols, to richer solutions based on the “Trust Over IP” framework, the Blockchain Research Group (BRG) at Notre Dame is actively involved in pushing the boundaries of digital identity technologies, combining emerging data models and design patterns with custom smartphone apps and Blockchain smart contracts to deliver ground-breaking research. BRG researchers play active roles in industry task forces and working groups, and have expertise in the use of verifiable credentials for non-human entities, as well as playing a leading role in the exploration of the use of biometric modes with digital credentials.

Some examples of areas the group is working on are described below:

Verifiable Badges for Tales in WholeTale

Reproducibility can be defined as obtaining consistent results when the same input data, computational steps, methods, code and conditional analysis are applied. Several standardization methods have been discussed by researchers, funding agencies and publishers to convert the publishing of research results to reproducible materials. Because of inconsistent experimental methods, incorrect statistical analyses and fraudulent activities, a significant number of scientific research results fail reproducibility tests. In order to overcome the reproducibility challenge, more and more publishers and researchers are attempting to define and implement reproducibility practices, recognition and reward schemes. Several journals and publications are using badging schemes to mark various facts related to a research material to guarantee reproducibility, openness and identify status of an artifact. Badging schemes assign a graphical badge to scientific articles that represent its compliance to standardized reproducibility concepts.

Verifiable badges for Tales project aims to develop a badging scheme which creates and issues the required level of badge to a Tale. The assigned badge will hold details such as the decentralized identity of the Tale author, issuer and unique attribute values of the Tale, verifiable proof submitted by the reviewer of the Tale. The assigned badge can be cryptographically verified using a peer to peer connection without the involvement of a third party. Another important advantage of a verifiable badge is that it is possible to disclose only required attributes from the credential to the verifier by creating verifiable presentation of the credential. The concept of decentralized identity and verifiable credentials can be combined with smart contracts and Blockchain so that the review process associated with each badge issuance can be audited and tracked. This provides a solution whereby it is possible to not only provide every tale with a verifiable badge but also track the associated review process for integrity and identify any attempt to tamper or bypass the process.

Verifiable Credentials for Chain of Custody of Design Flows

CRAFT Secure Vault provides a fully secure environment hosted in Amazon GovCloud which allows distributed design teams to collaborate and implement design flows. During the implementation process, members of design teams might belong to different departments of the same organization or even different organizations. Once a design flow is finalized, it is possible that the custody is transferred to a different organization. Hence, it is important to track design flow’s chain of custody so that any attempt to tamper the critical information related to design flow or the transfer of custody can be identified. It is possible to annotate the chain of custody using verifiable credentials. It can also be used to verify the authenticity of chip design by capturing uniquely identifiable details related to design and storing it in a verifiable credential. Verifiable proof sets can be added to the credential so that it can be ensured that all the parties involved in the transfer of custody have verified and digitally signed the agreement.


Barclay, I., Radha, S., Preece, A., Taylor, I. and Nabrzyski, J., 2020. Certifying Provenance of Scientific Datasets with Self-sovereign Identity and Verifiable Credentials. arXiv preprint arXiv:2004.02796.
Need more information?

For more information on the Blockchain Research Group, please contact Ian Taylor.