[EDITOR'S DRAFT] Motivation for Verifiable Claims Working Group Charter

The proposed mission of the Verifiable Claims Working Group is to make expressing, exchanging, and verifying claims easier and more secure on the Web. This document outlines the larger problem statement and goals that motivated the creation of the Verifiable Claims Working Group charter proposal. The Verifiable Claims Working Group Primer is available for a more general overview of the proposed charter.


verifiable claim
A machine-readable statement made by an entity that is cryptographically authentic (non-repudiable).
credential (aka attestation)
A set of verifiable claims that refer to a qualification, achievement, personal quality, aspect of an identity such as a name, government ID, preferred payment processor, home address, or university degree typically used to indicate suitability.
A design principle that strives to empower entities to reduce or eliminate being tracked, being correlated, and enables the subject to limit exposure of information to specific entities or specific periods of time.
A design principle for verifiable claims where the holder of a verifiable claim is in complete control of their identifier, where their verifiable claims are stored, and how they are used.

Problem Statement

There is currently no self-sovereign and privacy-enhancing standard for expressing verifiable claims (aka: credentials, attestations) via the Web.

These problems exist today:

Note that while the problem statement above is meant to provide the motivation for the work, that the asserted scope of the proposed charter is more narrow, focusing on the data model and syntax(es). Specifically, the scope has been narrowed by:

While the scope is narrow, the Working Group is also expected to not prevent future work that may more fully address the Problem Statement.


If successful, the Recommendations from the Working Group will increase some areas of interoperability between the entities that issue, store, and inspect verifiable claims.

The first goal is to create a standard way for users to assert their verifiable qualifications to a service provider, producing benefits such as:

The second goal is to ensure that users and their claims can be independent from service providers, producing benefits such as:

The third goal is to ensure that there is an interoperable standard capable of expressing verifiable claims that cuts across at least two industries, producing benefits such as:

The standardized technologies will, to the extent to which it is technically feasible, level the playing field for verifiable claims so that small actors or individuals can make use of the technology on the same basis as larger corporations, government, or institutions, without undue or unnecessary barriers.

For more background information about the work, please see the FAQ. There are also a set of focused use cases that are suggested as input to the group.

Proposed Charter

The proposed charter details the first step in making progress toward the problem statement and goals outlined above.