Verifiable Credentials Working Group Charter

This charter has been replaced by a newer version.

The mission of the Verifiable Credentials Working Group is to maintain the Verifiable Credentials Data Model specification and related Working Group Notes.

Join the Verifiable Credentials Working Group.

Start date 20 January 2020
End date 31 July 2022
Charter Extension See Charter History
Confidentiality Proceedings are public
Chairs Brent Zundel (Evernym)
Wayne Chang (Spruce Systems)
Team Contact Ivan Herman (FTE: 0.05)
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: On an as-needed basis, up to once every quarter
Face-to-face: none


The Working Group will maintain the Verifiable Credentials Data Model specification, which provides a mechanism to express a verifiable credential on the Web in a way that is cryptographically secure, privacy respecting, and machine-verifiable.

Out of Scope

The Working Group will not:

  1. Define browser-based APIs for interacting with verifiable credentials. This work may be performed by a future Working Group if there is interest, but is not required for the Working Group to be successful.
  2. Define a new protocol for attribute exchange. This work may be performed by a future Working Group if there is interest, but is not required for the Working Group to be successful.
  3. Attempt to lead the creation of a specific style of supporting infrastructure, other than a data model and syntax(es), for a verifiable credentials ecosystem.
  4. Attempt to address the larger problem of "Identity on the Web/Internet".


Normative Specifications

The Working Group will maintain the following W3C normative specification:

Verifiable Credentials Data Model 1.0
Latest publication: 19 November 2019
Reference Draft:
associated Call for Exclusion on 25 July 2019 ended on 23 September 2019
Produced under Working Group Charter:

Other Deliverables

Verifiable Credentials Use Cases
Status: Group Note
Last update: 2019-09-24
Verifiable Credentials Implementation Guidelines 1.0
Status: Group Note
Last update: 2019-09-24
Verifiable Credentials Extension Registry
Status: Group Note (after recharter)
Last update: 2019-07-03

Success Criteria

In order to update the Recommendation, each substantive change is expected to have at least two independent implementations.

Each substantive change should consider updating the section detailing all known security and privacy implications for implementers, Web authors, and end users.

To promote interoperability, all changes made to specifications should have tests.


This group is expected to coordinate with the Credentials Community Group on consensus-based proposals related to content changes for Verifiable Credentials Working Group Deliverables. The Chairs of this group may choose to reject proposals that are incompatible with this Charter.

For all specifications, this Working Group will seek horizontal review for accessibility, internationalization, performance, privacy, and security with the relevant Working and Interest Groups, and with the TAG. Invitation for review must be issued during each major standards-track document transition, including FPWD. The Working Group is encouraged to engage collaboratively with the horizontal review groups throughout development of each specification. The Working Group is advised to seek a review at least 3 months before CR and is encouraged to proactively notify the horizontal review groups when major changes occur in a specification following a review.

Additional technical coordination with the following Groups will be made, per the W3C Process Document:

W3C Groups

Decentralized Identifier Working Group
To help ensure alignment between DID and Verifiable Credentials use cases.
Credentials Community Group
Research, incubation, and consensus-based proposals related to content for consideration by this group.
Internationalization Core Working Group
Internationalization and localization review.
Privacy Interest Group
For privacy reviews.
Accessible Platform Architectures Working Group
To help ensure the protocols provide support for accessibility to people with disabilities.
Web Application Security
Develop technical and policy mechanisms to improve the security of and enable secure cross-site communications for applications on the Web. For security reviews, coordination is expected through the public-web-security mailing list.

This group will also collaborate with future W3C Working Groups developing authentication protocols.

External Organizations

IMS Global
Ensure that the badges being modeled and expressed by the Open Badges community are compatible with the Verifiable Credentials WG.
Credentials Transparency Initiative
Ensure that the credentials being modeled and expressed by CTI are compatible with the work of the Verifiable Credentials WG.
Ensure that the mobile driving licenses being modeled and expressed by the ISO SC17 WG10 community are compatible with the work of the Verifiable Credentials WG.

If the Working Group perceives the need for IETF review, W3C will arrange discussion through its IETF liaison.


To be successful, this Working Group is expected to keep the participants who contributed to the Recommendation, including representatives from the key implementors of this specification, and active Editors and Test Leads for each specification. The Chairs are expected to contribute half of a working day per quarter towards the Working Group. There is no minimum requirement for other Participants.

The group encourages questions, comments and issues on its public mailing lists and document repositories, as described in Communication.

The group also welcomes non-Members to contribute technical submissions for consideration upon their agreement to the terms of the W3C Patent Policy.

Participants in the group are required (by the W3C Process) to follow the W3C Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.


Technical discussions for this Working Group are conducted in public: the meeting minutes from teleconference will be archived for public review, and technical discussions and issue tracking will be conducted in a manner that can be both read and written to by the general public. Working Drafts and Editor's Drafts of specifications will be developed on a public repository and may permit direct public contribution requests. The meetings themselves are not open to public participation, however.

Information about the group (including details about deliverables, issues, actions, status, participants, and meetings) will be available from the Verifiable Credentials Working Group home page.

Most Verifiable Credentials Working Group teleconferences will focus on discussion of particular specifications, and will be conducted on an as-needed basis.

This group primarily conducts its technical work in GitHub issues. The public is invited to review, discuss and contribute to this work.

The group may use a Member-confidential mailing list for administrative purposes and, at the discretion of the Chairs and members of the group, for member-only discussions in special cases when a participant requests such a discussion.

Decision Policy

This group will seek to make decisions through consensus and due process, per the W3C Process Document (section 3.3). Typically, an editor or other participant makes an initial proposal, which is then refined in discussion with members of the group and other reviewers, and consensus emerges with little formal voting being required.

However, if a decision is necessary for timely progress and consensus is not achieved after careful consideration of the range of views presented, the Chairs may call for a group vote and record a decision along with any objections.

To afford asynchronous decisions and organizational deliberation, any resolution (including publication decisions) taken in a teleconference will be considered provisional. A call for consensus (CfC) will be issued for all resolutions (for example, via email and/or web-based survey), with a response period from one week to 10 working days, depending on the chair's evaluation of the group consensus on the issue. If no objections are raised on the mailing list by the end of the response period, the resolution will be considered to have consensus as a resolution of the Working Group.

All decisions made by the group should be considered resolved unless and until new information becomes available or unless reopened at the discretion of the Chairs or the Director.

This charter is written in accordance with the W3C Process Document (Section 3.4, Votes) and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.

Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (Version of 15 September 2020). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis. For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.


This Working Group will use the W3C Software and Document license for all its deliverables.

About this Charter

This charter has been created according to section 5.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

Charter History

The following table lists details of all changes from the initial charter, per the W3C Process Document (section 5.2.3):

Charter Period Start Date End Date Changes
Initial Charter 14 April 2017 31 March 2019
Update 2018-08-01 (plh): Updated Chairs and Team Contacts
Update 2018-09-12 (coralie): Updated Chairs
Charter Extension 1 April 2019 30 September 2019 2019-03-29 (kaz): Charter period extended till 30 September 2019
Proposed 15 November 2019 30 December 2021

(plh): AC vote for maintenance mode charter

Initial charter for maintenance mode WG 20 January 2020 30 December 2021

2020-01-10 (ivan): The Group is in maintenance mode (AC Vote ended)


2020-06-15 (ivan): Removed Matt Stone as a co-chair.


2020-07-24 (xueyuan): Daniel Burnett re-appointed as group Chair.

Rechartered 15 December 2020 30 December 2021 New Patent Policy

2021-01-28 (xueyuan): Brent Zundel and Wayne Chang appointed as group chairs, Daniel Burnett stepped down.

Charter Extension 30 December 2021 30 April 2022 2021-12-20: Charter extended till 30 April 2022
Charter Extension 30 April 2022 31 July 2022 2022-05-06: Charter extended till 31 July 2022