The Sovrin network for identity is now live and accepting transactions. Sovrin provides a global identity infrastructure that supports self-sovereign identity and verifiable claims. This blog post describes the launch ceremony that we conducted. This is the beginning of Identity for All.
This morning I participated in the launch of the Sovrin Network. About six weeks ago, we set up the Alpha network for testing. Validators participated in exercises to ensure the network was stable and could achieve consensus under a variety of circumstances.
This morning we transitioned from the Alpha network to the Provisional network. There are several important differences between the Alpha network and the Provisional network:
- All validator nodes on the Provisional network are being run by Sovrin Stewards who have executed the Sovrin Provisional Trust Framework (a legal contract) with the Sovrin Foundation.
- We do not intend to ever reset the ledger. All transactions on the provisional network are "in production."
In short, the provisional network is the real Sovrin network and is open for business. Transactions written to the provisional network will be part of the Sovrin ledger for all time.
The Launch Ceremony
Launching the provisional network wasn't as simple as pushing a button. Rather, launching a distributed ledger involves a ceremony that is designed to give everyone confidence that the network is secure and has no backdoors through the principle of diffuse trust. Multiple participants, in many locations, witness the process of creating the ledger's genesis block. The ceremony ensures that this is done with maximal transparency. Some launch ceremonies have gone to extreme lengths to achieve these goals.
In the case of Sovrin, almost 50 people participated in the launch ceremony from all over the world. The genesis block on the Sovrin ledger holds public identifiers and keys for six Sovrin Trustees and ten Sovrin Stewards. The entire ceremony was recorded and will be made available soon. The ceremony requires Trustees and Stewards who are part of the genesis block to verify their identifiers and keys and allows many parties to witness the incorporation of that information into the ledger. Doing so, provides evidence of the integrity of the ledger and the identities of those participating in its launch.
Now that there is a genesis block, the identifiers for trustees who weren't able to participate today along with those of stewards who join over the coming weeks will be written as new transactions on the ledger. The sandbox network is still available for non-production testing.
Over the coming weeks and months we'll be rolling out additional features and updating the trust framework to fill in a number of additional sections that must be completed, approved, and agreed to before the Sovrin network is declared ready for general availablity.
By the Numbers
Here's some information about the codebase for Sovrin network at launch:
- Slightly over 130,000 lines of code
- 721 tickets (stories, bugs) closed
- 37 contributors from: Italy, Austria, Luxembourg, India, Russia, Venezuela, Finland, USA, and others.
- Participants from six continents
- 1012 pull requests
- Approximately 17.8 person-years of coding and QA effort
Identity for All
This day has been a long time coming. I'm very excited to see Sovrin become a reality. I'm grateful to everyone who has worked hard for this day. Thanks especially to Timothy Ruff, Jason Law, and everyone at Evernym for their dedication and hard work. Thanks to the Sovrin Trustees and Technical Governance Board. I'm also grateful to the founding stewards who have made this possible.
Sovrin provides a global identity infrastructure that supports self-sovereign identity and verifiable claims. Over the coming weeks, we will put in place the means for issuing identifiers on the network and make available information on how people and organizations can start to use Sovrin. This is the beginning of Identity for All.
Update: Here's the recording of the Sovrin launch ceremony. Its not terribly exciting, mostly people certifying things and reading keys. But it is the official record. For reference, stewards were brought online at 1:18:47 and verifying consensus occurred at 1:22:16 in the video.