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What are Verifiable Credentials?

‌Verifiable Credentials(VCs) are digital documents that use cryptographic methods for making the data they contain tamper-evident and/or asserting the method by which it was derived.

We use credentials everyday to assert/prove that we are who we are, we have the abilities and access to tools and systems that we or someone else claims.

Examples of credentials we use everyday include

  • Driver's licenses that prove that we can operate a particular type of motor vehicle.
  • Government IDs and Passports that we use to prove that we are citizens of particular countries when we travel

The problem with physical credentials is that it is hard to express them in a verified machine-readable format for the Web.

Verifiable Credentials solve this problem by presenting these credentials for use on the web in a way that is cryptographically secure, machine-verifiable, and in many cases more privacy respecting.

Click the terms in blue to learn more about them

Format of a Verifiable Credential#

Verifiable credentials normally contains three components:

  • Credential Metadata - This normally describes the properties of the credential e.g. the issuer, expiry date and time.
  • Claims - A group of assertions made about one or more subjects
  • Proofs - Digital signature that can be used to verify the authorship of a credential

Example of a verifiable credential

{
"@[context](https://www.w3.org/TR/vc-data-model/#contexts)": [
"https://www.w3.org/2018/credentials/v1",
"https://www.w3.org/2018/credentials/examples/v1"
],
"[id](https://www.w3.org/TR/vc-data-model/#identifiers)": "http://example.edu/credentials/1872",
"[type](https://www.w3.org/TR/vc-data-model/#types)": ["VerifiableCredential", "AlumniCredential"],
"[issuer](https://www.w3.org/TR/vc-data-model/#issuer)": "https://example.edu/issuers/565049",
"[issuanceDate](https://www.w3.org/TR/vc-data-model/#issuance-date)": "2010-01-01T19:73:24Z",
"[credentialSubject](https://www.w3.org/TR/vc-data-model/#credential-subject)": {
"[id](https://www.w3.org/TR/vc-data-model/#identifiers)": "did:example:ebfeb1f712ebc6f1c276e12ec21",
"alumniOf": {
"[id](https://www.w3.org/TR/vc-data-model/#identifiers)": "did:example:c276e12ec21ebfeb1f712ebc6f1",
"name": [{
"value": "Example University",
"lang": "en"
}, {
"value": "Exemple d'Université",
"lang": "fr"
}]
}
},
"[proof](https://www.w3.org/TR/vc-data-model/#proofs-signatures)": { ... }
}

note

To Learn more about Verifiable Credentials and the other optional components, please visit https://www.w3.org/TR/vc-data-model/#dfn-credential