A Primer for Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs), 2021

A Decentralized Identifier (DID) is a new type of identifier. I is globally unique, resolvable with high availability, and cryptographically verifiable. DIDs are typically associated with cryptographic material: public keys, and service endpoints, for establishing secure communication channels. DIDs are useful for any application that benefits from self-administered, cryptographically verifiable identifiers: personal identifiers, organizational identifiers, and identifiers for Internet of Things scenarios. For example, current commercial deployments of W3C Verifiable Credentials heavily utilize Decentralized Identifiers. So they identify people, organizations, and things and to achieve a number of security and privacy-protecting guarantees. This document is an introduction to the concept of Decentralized Identifiers (Abstract, modified).