SSI Orbit Podcast
Trust Spanning Protocol: Seven Key Pillars (with Drummond Reed)
By Mathieu Glaude
October 6, 2023

🎧   Listen to this Episode On Spotify   🎧
🎧   Listen to this Episode On Apple Podcasts   🎧


About Podcast Episode

In this episode, Drummond Reed, Director, Trust Services at Gen Digital, gives a great overview of the Trust Spanning Protocol (TSP), through its 7 Key Pillars.

For listeners of the SSI Orbit Podcast, you may recall Drummond talking about the TSP on some previous episode (#41 & #45). These initial episodes still remain great primers on the topic. But since those last episodes, lots of work has been done within the Trust over IP to start shaping what this ‘missing trust layer of the internet’ should look like. This podcast episode aims to use the recent Mid-year Progress Report on the TSP as a basis for the conversation.

Once again, Drummond is able to breakdown these somewhat technical concepts into easy to digest content, and does so as eloquently as usual.

As a side note, here is Part 1 of the blog post series: Net of Insecurity that is referred to during the podcast discussion.

The full list of topics discussed between Drummond and I in this podcast include:

  1. Internet’s Broken State: Is the internet considered broken due to issues with security, privacy, authenticity, and confidentiality (SPAC)? How does this relate to the work in the digital trust space, especially with Trust over IP?
  2. Trust over IP’s Role: How does the Trust over IP technology architecture address the internet’s shortcomings? Is the SPAC acronym a good framework for understanding the Trust over IP’s approach?
  3. Design Principles of Trust Finding Protocol: During the design phase of the trust spanning protocol, were there any trade-offs or concessions made, especially in terms of security, privacy, authenticity, or confidentiality?
  4. Pillar 1: Verifiable Identifiers: Explaining the importance of verifiable identifiers as the first key pillar in the design of the trust spanning protocol.
  5. Interoperability and Identifiers: Will endpoints need to support the same types of identifiers for interoperability? How does one endpoint evaluate another’s capability to support a particular identifier?
  6. Pillar 2: End-to-End Authenticity & Confidentiality: How does the trust spanning protocol ensure both authenticity and confidentiality in communications?
  7. Pillar 3: Direct Connections: How does the trust spanning protocol handle direct connections between endpoints using different types of channels?
  8. Pillar 4: Routing via Intermediaries: How does the protocol handle routing through intermediaries to ensure privacy and security? What might a practical implementation of this look like in the future?
  9. Pillar 5: Relationship Context Channels: How does the trust spanning protocol handle changes in the context of interactions between endpoints?
  10. Pillar 6: Text and Binary Encoding: How does the trust spanning protocol standardize the way endpoints communicate using text and binary encoding?
  11. Pillar 7: Trust Task Protocol Framework: What is the trust task protocol framework, and how does it relate to specific protocols for different types of trust tasks?
  12. Conclusion and Future: What’s next for the trust spanning protocol? Are there any regulatory movements, like the Digital Markets Act, that might influence its development and adoption?


About Guests

Drummond Reed has spent a quarter-century in Internet identity, security, privacy, and trust infrastructure. He is Director, Trust Services at Gen Digital, previous Avast after their acquisition of Evernym, where he was Chief Trust Office. He is co-author of the book, Self-Sovereign Identity (Manning Publications, 2021), and co-editor of the W3C Decentralized Identifiers (DID) 1.0 specification. At the Trust over IP Foundation, Drummond is a member of the Steering Committee and co-chair of the Governance Stack Working Group and the Concepts and Terminology Working Group. At the Sovrin Foundation, he served as co-chair of the Sovrin Governance Framework Working Group for five years.

From 2005-2015 he was co-chair of the OASIS XDI Technical Committee, a semantic data interchange protocol that implements Privacy by Design. Drummond also served as Executive Director for two industry foundations: the Information Card Foundation and the Open Identity Exchange, and as a founding board member of the OpenID Foundation, ISTPA,, and Identity Commons. In 2002 he received the Digital Identity Pioneer Award from Digital ID World, and in 2013 he was cited as an OASIS Distinguished Contributor.

Where to find Drummond?

➡️ LinkedIn:

➡️ X/Twitter:

Related Episodes

Want to Be a Guest?

Come Onto the Show

Stay Connected to Get The Latest Podcast Alerts

Introducing our groundbreaking Trust Registry platform

The ultimate solution for forging resilient trust ecosystems in today's digital landscape.

Trust Registry



Orbit Enterprise

Establish your own trusted digital interactions ecosystem with your customers, partners and suppliers

Orbit Edge Wallet

Hold and manage issued verifiable credentials securely and in a privacy-preserving way

Orbit Trust Registry

Empower your organization to establish credibility, verify identities, and foster secure interactions with confidence and ease.



Product Updates



Verified Person

Receive a verifiable credential from Northern Block


Try our new OpenID4VC demo

Energy and Mines Digital Trust

Organizational Wallet and Credentials

Receive, store and exchange organizational credentials within your ecosystem




OpenID4VC Demo

Exchange verifiable credentials over OpenID4VCI and OpenID4VP.




SSI Orbit Podcast

Self-sovereign Identity, Decentralization and Digital Trust


Insights and News from the Forefront of Self-sovereign Identity

Latest Content