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This page is a preliminary draft of the ToIP Governance Architecture Specification, a Draft Deliverable of the GSWG. It is intended for editing of the content of the specification prior to moving the document into a GitHub repo (where we will convert it into a Markdown document following the process being developed by the Operations Team). 


To comply with the intellectual property rights protections in the charter of the ToIP Foundation (as required by all Joint Development Foundation projects hosted the Linux Foundation), all contributors to this Pre-Draft Deliverable MUST be current members of the ToIP Foundation and the Governance Stack Working Group (GSWG). The following contributors each certify that they meet this requirement:

  • Drummond Reed, Evernym
  • Scott Perry, Scott S. Perry CPA PLLC


In this document, the key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED",  "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.

All other terms in First Letter Capitals will be defined in the ToIP Governance Glossary to be published as specified by the Concepts and Terminology Working Group.


The purpose of this Specification is to specify the standard requirements that apply to all ToIP-compatible governance frameworks (GF) regardless of their layer in the ToIP Stack. 


The technical counterpart to this Specification is the ToIP Technical Architecture Specification.


The overall purpose of the ToIP Governance Stack is to enable users of the ToIP Technology Stack to make Transitive Trust decisions based on Governance Frameworks that include both Human-Auditable and Machine-Testable Requirements. While Governance Frameworks are expected to be specialized for all four layers of the ToIP Stack, certain interoperability Requirements apply to all ToIP-Compliant Governance Frameworks regardless of layer. The goal of this specification is to specify all of those interoperability requirements in one place.

ToIP Governance Metamodel Specification

The ToIP Governance Metamodel is a separate specification of the overall requirements for the structure and content of all ToIP-Compliant Governance Frameworks. All ToIP-Compliant Governance Frameworks MUST conform to the requirements of the ToIP Governance Metamodel Specification.

Identification Requirements

To support Transitive Trust across trust boundaries, ToIP-Compliant Governance Frameworks (GF) need to provide standard, persistent, verifiable identification of themselves, their Governing Authorit(ies), their Controlled Documents, and the ToIP Roles, Credentials, and other components they define.

The following MUST have Public Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) compliant with the ToIP Technology Stack:

  1. Governing Authority (GA)
  2. Primary Document
  3. All Participants fulfilling Roles defined in the GF (e.g., Issuers, Stewards, Trust Registries)

The following SHOULD have Public DID URLs compliant with the ToIP Technology Stack:

  1. Each Controlled Document
  2. Each Policy or other reference-able subcomponent of a Controlled Document

All of the DIDs and DID URLs specified in this section are subject to the following policies:

  1. The DID for a governance framework document MUST remain the same for all versions of the same target document.
  2. A new versionId parameter value MUST be assigned for every version of the target document.
  3. The GA MUST publish a policy stating the format and assignment policies for its version identifier values.
    1. This policy SHOULD be the same for all versions of all documents in the GF.
    2. It is RECOMMENDED to use sequential integers for every version starting with "1".
  4. A DID URL that includes a resource parameter with a value of true MUST return the target document directly.
    1. If this DID URL does not include a versionId parameter value, it MUST return the current version of the target document
    2. If this DID URL includes a versionId parameter value, it MUST return the identified version of the target document.
    3. If this DID URL includes a versionId parameter value for a version that does not exist, it MUST return a "Resource Not Found" error.

Verification Requirements

To support Transitive Trust, the following verification requirements apply to ToIP-Compliant Governance Frameworks (GF): 

  1. The GA MUST publish in its current DID Document a Digital Signature over the hash of the current version of its Primary Document.
  2. The GA SHOULD issue VCs to all Participants verifying the GF role played by the Participant.
  3. If the GA specifies certification policies, Certification Authorities SHOULD issue Certification VCs to Holders as directed by the GF.
  4. The GA or Certification Authorities SHOULD consider publishing either or both:
    1. Certification VCs to a Credential Registry.
    2. Role DIDs to a Trust Registry.

Transparency Requirements

To support Transitive Trust, a publicly-available ToIP-Compliant Governance Framework: 

  1. MUST be published on the Web.
  2. MUST publish its DID URL in its DID Document.
  3. MUST publish its Public Keys in its DID Document.
  4. MUST publish its Public Service Endpoints in its DID Document.
  5. SHOULD be published in all human languages spoken within its Trust Community.
  6. SHOULD be accessible under the W3C Accessibility Guidelines.

Technical Interoperability Requirements

To support the interoperability necessary for Transitive Trust, a publicly-available ToIP-Compliant Governance Framework:

  1. MUST specify technical interoperability using ToIP Specifications and ToIP Recommendations whenever possible.
  2. SHOULD specify interoperability using additional publicly available open standard Specifications if needed.

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  1. Minor updates:

    1. Replaced the term "Governance Authority" with "Governing Authority"
    2. Replaced the term "Master Document" with "Primary Document"
  2. Updates:

    1. Removed "Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility" section as that is covered by ToIP Governance Metamodel.
      1. Moved two of the relevant policies to the Transparency section.
    2. Changed ToIP Governance Metamodel from: a) a link to another wiki page, to b) a reference to a separate TSS.
    3. Minor wordsmithing changes for terminology consistency.
  3. Replaced "TSS" with "ToIP Specification" (which included renaming the wiki page).