In June, W3C hosted a workshop to determine whether there were any aspects of blockchains that intersected with Web technologies, and if there were any specific technologies that were mature enough to consider for incubation toward standardization. We had lots of promising discussions and identified several next steps. You can read more details in the W3C Blockchains and the Web workshop report, released today.
Following the success of the workshop, we have begun to coordinate blockchain activities in the newly-formed Blockchain Community Group, which has chairs from Asia (Youngwhan “Nick” Lee), Europe (Marta Piekarska), and North America (Doug Schepers). The Blockchain CG has a regular coordination meeting on Thursdays, and is planning to start topic-specific short-term technical teleconferences as needed.
Blockchain is comprised of a broad set of cross-domain technologies, and thus our two chief tasks are to:
- monitor the work of other groups (Web Payments, Internet of Things, etc) to make sure we are aware of what is happening in those fields, as well as groups outside of W3C, so we can complement their work); and
- propose use cases beyond what is happening in existing working groups to ensure we identify the applications of blockchain that do and do not make sense. There is not yet consensus on which applications of blockchain technology are appropriate uses of the technology, but there is general agreement on a subset of useful applications, and these are the ones which we plan to dedicate resources to.
The Blockchain CG is intended partly to coordinate the activities of other topic-specific CGs, in addition to working on its own reports and deliverables. We will continue to work closely together with the new Blockchain Digital Assets Community Group (formed as an outcome of the workshop), and participate in the already-active Interledger Payments CG. Moreover we will collaborate with the Verifiable Claims task force of the Web Payments Interest Group.
As part of this ongoing coordination, we are planning an informal meeting during the W3C’s TPAC meeting in Lisbon, Portugal. It will take place on Tuesday 20th of September at 10:30–12:30, and will also have a short session during the Web Payments Interest Group f2f on Friday 23 September; the Interledger Payments CG is also meeting at TPAC, on Thursday, 23rd of September. Leading up to TPAC, we will build an agenda to make the best use the time we have together in Lisbon. If you wish to attend TPAC, you must be a member of one of the Community Groups or Working Groups meeting there, and register by September 2.
After the September face-to-face meeting, the Blockchain CG will continue with regular calls, and will incubate low-hanging fruit by beginning to draft specifications and build community interested in Recommendation-track work, perhaps including the Chainpoint specification, which was discussed in detail at the workshop.
We are also considering a second blockchain workshop, possibly on the US West Coast, where we will work on more technical aspects and specifications that can contribute to W3C standardization, with particular focus on client-side technologies.
By the end of the year, we hope to have laid the groundwork for possible candidates for formal standardization.
We encourage interested people and organizations to join the W3C Blockchain Community Group to keep informed about future developments. We are expanding the scope of that group to include coordination for our various activities around blockchains, including links to related specific-topic community groups, such as the new Blockchain Digital Assets CG.
This post was co-written by Marta Piekarska and Doug Schepers.