Unifying mDLs & Verifiable Credentials for Canadians

Mathieu Glaude

April 18, 2023
Northern Block and Canadian Bank Note enthusiastic about delivering a more convenient and intuitive solution for Canadian citizens, by unifying mDLs and Verifiable Credentials 

Northern Block Inc. and Canadian Bank Note Ltd. (CBN) are working together to create a more convenient and user-friendly solution for Canadians by combining different types of digital credentials, such as Mobile Driving Licences (mDLs), AnonCreds and JSON-LD Verifiable Credentials (VCs), using Hyperledger Aries technology. They plan to first focus on integrating mDLs and JSON-LD VCs into Hyperledger Aries wallets, and then work on offline verification using NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for data transfer.

Both companies recognize that different credential technologies are suitable for different use cases and have varying levels of adoption in the industry. Therefore, to make it easier for citizens and ensure interoperability, a consistent approach across all technologies is essential. 

Using Hyperledger Aries and various verifiable credential formats, such as AnonCreds and JSON-LD VC, is a great choice for government programs that aim to provide citizens with privacy-preserving high-assurance personal identity credentials. Aries is a technology that is well-suited for digital interactions where citizens want to build different types of relationships with their peers. Citizens can use the same set of VCs for various purposes, and these VCs may need to support privacy preservation or not, depending on the type of relationship they want to build. 

Mobile Driver’s Licences (mDLs) are gaining widespread acceptance and becoming more practical due to their standardization under ISO/IEC 18013-5 and the forthcoming 18013-7, which establish a unified framework for their development, issuance, and verification. As a focused use case, mDLs are specifically designed to address the unique requirements of driver’s licence management, including distinct data attributes, security features, and regulatory compliance needs. Consequently, they are better equipped to tackle the specific challenges and requirements of this application, offering increased utility in this context.

Northern Block actively engages in open source, standards, and conformance criteria communities, participating in organizations such as the Hyperledger Foundation, Trust Over IP Foundation (ToIP), the Digital Identity and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC – PCTF), and the Digital Governance Standards Institute. Northern Block recently showcased multi-VC format issuance and presentation flows, using AnonCreds and W3C JSON-LD credentials, as part of their commitment to interoperability, supported by funding from the Ontario Government. Northern Block is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario (www.northernblock.io).

CBN, a security solutions provider to over 40 jurisdictions operating in the passport, driver’s licence, and identity market, deployed the world’s first mDL for live transactions and was awarded the contract to supply an mDL to the Commonwealth of Virginia. CBN is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada (www.cbnco.com). 

Feel free to contact us directly for more information on this subject, or if you would like to collaborate.

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