Background

The Trust Over IP (ToIP) Foundation was launched in May 2020 with 27 original founding member organizations. It was gestated over the previous year as a confluence of multiple efforts in the digital identity, verifiable credential, blockchain technology, and secure communications spaces by people who saw the need to converge and create an interoperable architecture for decentralized digital trust. This culminated in a Linux Foundation paper called The ToIP Stack published in August 2019 and subsequently turned into a December 2019 article in a special edition of IEEE Communications Standards Magazine on decentralized digital identity.

In its first year, the ToIP Foundation grew rapidly to over 300 member organizations and individuals. It also doubled from four to eight Working Groups, with over a dozen deliverables slated for release by the end of 2021. This surge of interest in decentralized digital trust infrastructure shows no signs of abating, particularly after the June 2021 announcement of the EU Digital Identity Wallet initiative and Apple and Google’s announcements about beginning to accept digitally-signed credentials in their proprietary digital wallets.

Membership Structure and Governance

The ToIP Foundation is hosted by the Linux Foundation under its Joint Development Foundation legal structure. There are three basic membership classes—Contributor, General, and Steering. The work of the Foundation all takes place in Working Groups, within which there are Task Forces self-organized around specific interests. All ToIP members regardless of membership class can participate in all ToIP Working Groups and Task Forces.

The Foundation as a whole is governed by the Steering Committee (SC), which works by consensus. The Steering Committee has 25 available voting seats, elected by the Steering Committee for a three year term, with one third of the members cycling each year. It is comprised of a maximum of 15 representatives from Steering Members with over 100 employees and a maximum of 10 from Steering Members with less than 100 employees.

Meetings and Collaboration

The Steering Committee meets twice a month, with one plenary session and a second meeting to discuss a special topic.
Our monthly All Members Meeting is open to everyone in the Foundation and rotates between two formats:

  1. A Working Group Update meeting to encourage cross collaboration between working groups and task forces—and also assist new members in deciding where they would like to contribute and learn.
  2. A special topic meeting to “deep dive” on a topic of interest to the entire organization.
    All Working Groups, Task Forces, and Committees are open to every member and there is a robust calendar of meetings occurring in different time zones to support global participation. The meeting schedule is published on the ToIP Calendar page.

All meetings are held virtually in Zoom rooms and recorded for asynchronous viewing. We also collaborate in the ToIP Slack workspace (with channels for every Working Group and Task Force), on our Confluence wiki, and in collaborative spaces such as Google Docs and GitHub.

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