What is the Lifecycle of Verifiable Credentials?

Lifecycle of Verifiable Credentials

Verifiable credentials blockchain are the need of the hour and are being adopted by organizations globally to fight data fraud. Being tamper-proof, anchored on a blockchain, portable, and secure, these digital certificates are gaining traction. But what is the lifecycle of verifiable credentials, and how do verifiers verify a credential?

Demystifying the Lifecycle of Verifiable Credentials

To understand the lifecycle of blockchain-based digital certificates, you must be familiar with the verifiable credential trust triangle. The triangle explores the relationship between the credential issuer, receiver, and verifier.

In a nutshell, an authorized issuer generates a verifiable credential, shares it with the intended recipient (receiver), and the verifier authenticates the claims (or declarations) made in the certificate.
The trust triangle also illustrates the lifecycle of a verifiable credential and the steps that follow. The only difference is that the lifecycle takes a more realistic approach to how things happen in the realm of verifiable credentials as opposed to the succinct trust triangle.

As such, the lifecycle includes a few extra steps like the storage of an issued verifiable credential in a digital wallet or credential repository and the conversion of the information held in the certificate into a more presentable (and easily verifiable) version. Wondering how that works? Let’s understand the lifecycle better with the help of an example.

Example to Showcase the Lifecycle of Verifiable Credentials

Suppose a university, AML, issues a verifiable credential to one of its students, Max, at the start of the term. This verifiable credential proves that Max is a PhD student at the university. As such, he should have access to the university’s various facilities like the library, art rooms, and cultural fests.
Upon receiving the credential, Max dutifully stores it in a digital wallet for safekeeping. After a few days of enrollment, he goes to the library to borrow a few course books for his project and other assignments. Normally, this process would have been quite simple (and vulnerable!) with Max (or someone pretending to be him) swiping his ID card (or a fake one) at the door or showing it to a security officer.

However, with verifiable credentials, the process is a little different, but incredibly secure and quick. Max goes to the verification system (verifier) to get his verifiable credential verified. The system starts the verification process and sends a request for the university-issued credential to Max’s digital wallet.

Once Max authorizes the request, the verifiable credential is turned into a verifiable presentation to make it easier for the system to verify its hash details on the blockchain. Then, the system verifies the details, including the claim, the issuer’s identity, and validity period. If all of these details seem in order, Max is granted access to the library. Else, his request will be denied.

The lifecycle keeps frauds out and attempts to eliminate individuals using digital certificates to deceive online systems and bypass their security measures. Interested in partnering with credential verification services? Sign up on ProofEasy today!