Meeting the Aries Interop Profile & Our Commitment to Interoperability

From the onset, open-source and interoperability have been part of Evernym’s DNA. Many were surprised when we open-sourced the bulk of our intellectual property to Hyperledger Indy through our donation of code to the Sovrin Foundation in 2016.

Yet, we knew that building a “walled garden” was antithetical to what we were setting out to achieve. We had the realization that the only way self-sovereign identity (SSI) could truly become mainstream and change the world was through a community effort, powered by multiple interoperable implementations and vendor-agnostic standards around the world.

This belief still fuels how we operate as a company. It drove Evernym’s efforts to collaborate with other organizations to create the Hyperledger Ursa cryptographic library, the Hyperledger Aries standards for identity agent communication, the DIDComm standards for secure connections, and the industry-wide collaboration efforts we are involved in today.

Seeing these ideas evolve through the input of many experts has been rewarding—as has been seeing an ecosystem grow around both Hyperledger Indy and Sovrin. But, it has also created challenges.

Evernym is proud to be one of the first solution providers with enterprise customers and in-market use cases. Many of these customer projects were designed before the standards were finalized and approved. As a result, adopting the standards we helped create (some of which are still evolving) was a slow and measured process that required balancing our commitment to interoperability with supporting the live projects of our customers. Yet, interoperability is a goal we have never, and will never, abandon. Just as we need an open ecosystem of SSI solutions and developers, so too do we need a way for all of these systems to work together.

In December 2019, members of the Hyperledger Aries community agreed on the first “MVP” of interoperability, through the Aries Interop Profile v. 1.0. This interoperability profile defines the exchanges necessary for the basic SSI actions of issuing, holding, and proving so that solutions can interoperate. It also enables the use case of authentication without establishing a connection.

And today, we are proud to announce that all Evernym products will support the protocols included in Aries Interop Profile v. 1.0 as of May 2020.

This includes our Connect.Me mobile wallet app, our embedded wallet mobile SDK, “Verity 1.0” (LibVCX, which the majority of our customers are using today), and the new “Verity 2.0” (which will soon exit beta).

Maintaining real-world interoperability requires constant effort, especially with technologies that are new and still maturing. The Aries protocol tests still have significant gaps, so we also tested our products against open-source Aries agents and agents provided by other commercial vendors. Each interoperability target exposed problems with our implementation, problems with the target implementation, and places where the standards were ambiguous. Everyone across the ecosystem has proved sincere and helpful in resolving interoperability questions, but we are realistic in acknowledging that there is work to be done. As we find new problems, we will address them in future product releases, and we will continue our work to move the Aries and DIDComm standards forward.

If you would like to test that your product is interoperable with Evernym products and the Aries Interop Profile, please reach out to us.

We look forward to working with you and advancing interoperability together.

Richard Esplin
About the author

Director of Product Management at Evernym.