This is the home page of the ToIP Governance Architecture Specification, a draft deliverable of the ToIP Governance Stack Working Group (GSWG). When this specification becomes a ToIP Approved Deliverable, it will be published as a PDF in the Tools and Specifications section of the ToIP website.


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 draft deliverable MUST be current members of the ToIP Foundation. The following contributors each certify that they meet this requirement:

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

Terminology and Notation

The keywords "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

All terms appearing in bold on this page are listed in either the ToIP Core Glossary (based on the ToIP Core terms wiki) or the ToIP Governance Glossary (based on the GSWG terms wiki.) For more information see the Terms Wiki page of the Concepts and Terminology Working Group.


The purpose of this ToIP specification is to specify the standard requirements that apply to all ToIP-compatible governance frameworks (GFs) regardless of their layer in the ToIP stack


The technical counterpart to this specification is the ToIP Technology Architecture Specification.


The overall purpose of the ToIP governance stack is to enable users of the ToIP technology stack to make trust decisions (especially those requiring transitive trust) based on GFs that include both human-auditable requirements and machine-testable requirements. While GFs are expected to be specialized for all four layers of the ToIP stack, certain interoperability requirements apply to all ToIP-compliant GFs regardless of layer. The goal of this specification is to specify those interoperability requirements in one place.

ToIP Governance Metamodel Specification

The GSWG has developed a single metamodel for GF documents called the ToIP governance metamodel. Because it brings together all requirements for the structure and content of ToIP-compliant GFs in one place, it is defined in a separate specification. All ToIP-compliant GFs MUST conform to the requirements of the ToIP Governance Metamodel Specification.

Identification Requirements

To support transitive trust across trust boundaries, ToIP-compliant GFs and their components and authorities need to be identified by persistent, verifiable globally-unique identifiers. 

  1. The following MUST have public DIDs compliant with the ToIP Technology Architecture Specification:
    1. Governing authorit(ies).
    2. Administering authority (if any).
    3. Primary document.
    4. All governed parties fulfilling roles defined in the GF (e.g., issuers, verifiers, trust registries).
  2. The following SHOULD have public DIDs or DID URLs compliant with the ToIP Technology Architecture Specification:
    1. Each controlled document.
    2. Each policy, rule or other normative subcomponent of a controlled document.
  3. All DIDs and DID URLs specified in this section are subject to the following policies:
    1. The DID for a GF document MUST remain the same for all versions of the document it identifies.
    2. A new versionId parameter value MUST be assigned for every version of the identified document.
  4. The GF MUST include one or more policies specifying the format for version identifier values and the process for assigning them.
    1. These policies 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".
    3. The use of minor version numbers (e.g., "1.1", "1.2", "1.3") is NOT RECOMMENDED.
  5. A DID URL that includes a resource parameter with a value of true MUST return the identified document directly.
    1. If this DID URL does not include a versionId parameter value, it MUST return the current version of the identified document
    2. If this DID URL includes a versionId parameter value, it MUST return the identified version of the identified 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 the verifiability needed for transitive trust, the following verification requirements apply to ToIP-compliant GFs: 

  1. The governing authority SHOULD publish a digital signature in its current DID document over the hash of the current version of its primary document.
  2. The governing authority or administering authority SHOULD:
    1. Register the public DID and all authorized roles for a governed party in a trust registry.
    2. Issue verifiable credentials to all governed parties serving in a role defined by the GF.
    3. Issue those same verifiable credentials in a publicly-available credential registry as specified by the GF.
  3. If the GF includes certification policies, the qualified certifying parties SHOULD:
    1. Issue certification credentials to governed parties as directed by the GF.
    2. Issue those same verifiable credentials in a publicly-available credential registry as specified by the GF.

Transparency Requirements

To support the transparency needed for transitive trust, a publicly-available ToIP-compliant GF: 

  1. MUST be published at a publicly-accessible URL.
  2. MUST have a DID.
  3. MUST publish the following in the corresponding DID document:
    1. An alsoKnownAs property whose value is the publicly-accessible URL.
    2. The public key(s) for the DID.
    3. All service endpoints specified in the GF.
  4. SHOULD be localized into all human languages required by its trust community.
  5. SHOULD be accessible under the W3C Accessibility Guidelines.

Technical Interoperability Requirements

To support the interoperability needed for transitive trust, a publicly-available ToIP-compliant GF:

  1. MUST specify technical interoperability requirements using ToIP specifications and recommendations whenever possible.
  2. SHOULD specify any additional technical interoperability requirements using publicly available open standard specifications or specification profiles.

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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).

    1. Changed all First Letter Caps terms into bold terms that can be looked up (as soon as we have them all entered) in the ToIP Core glossary or the GSWG glossary. (The next step, when we have the tooling from the Concepts and Terminology WG, is to turn all the bold words into hyperlinks to their definitions in ToIP glossaries).
    2. Adjusted wording to match content in the ToIP Governance Metamodel Specification and ToIP Governance Metamodel Specification Companion Guide.
  4. Made minor editing changes in preparation for GSWG comment review period.