What are DIDs or Decentralized Identifiers. One of the pillars of SSI or Self Sovereign Identity

Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs)

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The W3C Standard for SSI Identifiers

Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) are a foundational concept in the world of digital identity and SSI or Self-Sovereign Identity system, being one of the main standars of W3C fot this technology, providing a means for self-sovereign, secure, and decentralized identity management. DIDs enable individuals, organizations, and devices to create unique, globally resolvable identifiers without reliance on central authorities or intermediaries. This wiki page offers an in-depth exploration of DID, their technical underpinnings, core concepts, and their significance in the digital identity landscape, with a focus on how Extrimian incorporates DIDs into its solutions.

Technical Aspects of a Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs)

What Are DIDs?

DIDs are a new breed of identifiers designed to empower users with full control over their digital identities. They are unique, persistent, and cryptographically verifiable strings that are not bound to any central entity. DIDs serve as the foundation for building self-sovereign identity systems by providing a way to reference and authenticate entities in a decentralized manner.

DID Methods

DID methods define how DIDs are created, resolved, and managed within specific decentralized networks or blockchain ecosystems. Each DID method is associated with a particular network, such as Ethereum, Sovrin, or Hyperledger Indy. These methods establish the rules and procedures for creating and interacting with DIDs within their respective ecosystems.

DID Documents

DID Documents are essential components of DIDs, containing key metadata and cryptographic material. They describe how to communicate with the entity associated with the DID and may include public keys, service endpoints, and verification methods. DID Documents are published on distributed ledgers or storage systems for public accessibility.

Anatomy of a Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs)

DID Method: 

The DID method is the prefix that specifies how the DID is managed and resolved. Each DID method defines its rules and mechanisms for creating, resolving, and updating DIDs. For example, the “did:ethr” DID method is used for Ethereum-based DIDs, while “did:sov” is associated with the Sovrin network.

Example: did:ethr:0x5f8Ff2f03d389c1D83d0b7B50784e4747Df28a7c

DID Method Specific Identifier: 

This unique identifier is generated according to the rules of the chosen DID method. It typically represents an entity or subject within a specific decentralized network or blockchain.

Example: 0x5f8Ff2f03d389c1D83d0b7B50784e4747Df28a7c

DID Method Specific Identifier Fragment (Optional): 

Some DID methods support additional fragments within the identifier, allowing for finer-grained addressing of resources or services associated with the DID.

Example (with fragment): 0x5f8Ff2f03d389c1D83d0b7B50784e4747Df28a7c#profile

DID Document

A DID Document is a JSON-LD (JSON for Linked Data) representation that provides essential information about a DID and its associated entity. This document typically includes:

  • Context: The context provides information about the namespaces and terms used within the document, facilitating semantic interoperability.
  • ID: The ID field specifies the DID to which the document belongs.
  • Public Keys: Public keys associated with the DID for cryptographic purposes, such as authentication and signature verification.
  • Authentication Methods: Specifies the methods or mechanisms used for authentication, including the public keys that can be used for authentication.
  • Service Endpoints: Service endpoints define how to interact with the entity associated with the DID. They can include URLs for communication or service discovery.

Here’s an example of a simplified DID Document:

DID Methods and Blockchain Integration

DID methods play a pivotal role in integrating DIDs with specific blockchain networks. These methods define how DIDs are created, resolved, and managed within their ecosystems. For instance, the “did:ethr” method is used for Ethereum-based DIDs and leverages Ethereum’s smart contracts for DID management.

DID Resolution

DID resolution is the process of transforming a DID into a DID Document, allowing clients to retrieve information about the associated entity. It typically involves querying a decentralized ledger or resolving service endpoints specified in the DID Document.

Core Concepts


The fundamental principle behind DIDs is decentralization. Unlike traditional identity systems that rely on central authorities, DIDs eliminate the need for intermediaries by enabling entities to create and manage their identifiers autonomously. This decentralization ensures security, privacy, and resilience in the digital identity space.

User Control

DIDs place control firmly in the hands of the identity owner. Individuals and entities have full authority to create, update, and manage their DIDs and associated data. This user-centric approach aligns with the concept of self-sovereign identity, empowering users to determine how their identities are used.

The DID Layers

Extrimian’s Utilization of Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs)

Extrimian recognizes the transformative potential of DIDs in the realm of digital identity. By incorporating DIDs into its solutions, Extrimian offers users greater control, privacy, and security over their digital personas. DIDs are a critical component of Extrimian’s commitment to decentralized identity management and its vision of empowering individuals and organizations with self-sovereign identity capabilities.

Learn more about this technology and digital SSI standard with the Extrimian Academy in this lessons:

Sources and References

For more technical information and resources on Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs), you can refer to the following sources:

DIDs represent a significant advancement in digital identity, offering a user-centric, secure, and decentralized approach to identity management. Extrimian is proud to be at the forefront of leveraging DIDs to shape the future of digital identity management.

Related Concepts

  • For more information on Verifiable Credentials (VCs), which can be associated with DIDs for identity claims and attestations, visit the Verifiable Credentials (VCs) Wiki.
  • Zero Knowledge Proofs (ZKPs) are cryptographic techniques that play a crucial role in enhancing privacy and security within decentralized identity systems. Learn more about them in the Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKP) Wiki.
  • Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) is the overarching concept that incorporates DIDs and other components to empower individuals with control over their digital identities. Explore the Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) Wiki to dive deeper into this transformative concept.

Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) represent a technical innovation in digital identity, offering a user-centric, secure, and decentralized approach to identity management. They are integral to Extrimian’s commitment to revolutionizing digital identity solutions for greater user empowerment and security.