What Is MetaBlox Protocol? #

The decentralized identity (or DID), which is the type of credential that connects holders to MetaBlox Network, is a key component of the network’s overall blockchain-based authorization mechanism (read about the DID here).

This mechanism or ‘protocol’ refers to the total system of data inputs directly involved in connecting users to the OpenRoaming network. MetaBlox Network’s ‘DID+VC’ protocol allows users to access its WiFi in a decentralized, privacy-protected manner. The rest of this article will explain how DIDs fit into the entirety of MetaBlox Network’s protocol. This requires an explanation of verifiable credentials (the ‘VC’ in DID+VC).

Verifiable Credentials (VC) #

Besides the DID, the other major component of MetaBlox Network’s protocol is the verifiable credential. The main idea behind verifiable credentials is the identity credential, which proves the holder’s identity in order for them to access some specific service.

For example, the passport is the type of identity credential used to access travel services by verifying the holder’s identity. Identity credentials can also be used to prove the holder’s qualifications in a given area (for example, a university diploma or driver’s license).

Identity credentials like passports have been digitized in recent decades, as they now use scannable barcodes or alphanumeric codes to help identify the holder. Yet their underlying physical form has persisted (e.g passports are still made of paper).

In contrast with physical credentials that store digital identifiers, verifiable credentials have enabled the full digitization of identity credentials, doing away with the need for physical objects to hold them.The verifiable credential simply represents a standardized format for identity credentials.This format requires that verifiable credentials (VCs) have the following features:

-Cryptographic security

-Privacy-protection measures

-The ability to be verified by machines (e.g computers)

VCs can describe numerous identity credentials, like passports, academic diplomas, and drivers licenses. Organizations that issue these IDs (otherwise known as IDPs) can store the info needed for them cryptographically on VCs. So in contrast with physical credentials which list holders’ personal info, VCs conceal this sensitive information in a digital format that can only be ‘translated’ by a verification machine.

Before an organization that issues physical IDs can issue a VC, they must prove its holder’s identity using the personal info included on their physical ID for that organization. A VC may store some or all of this info, but it remains hidden when presented to a machine for verification.

VCs allow organizations (like banks or government agencies) to automatically verify user identities by using machine-based verification rather than human inspection.

Verifiable Presentations (VP) #

Instead of VCs themselves, Verifiable presentations (or VPs) are what is presented to verifiers in order for them to prove the VC holders’ identity. VPs are presentations of specific pieces of information encoded on one or more VCs. If all the information on a VC is presented, this too becomes a VP.

Instead of humans, VPs are presented to computers for verification. This greatly shortens the identification process by eliminating the need for a person to inspect a physical identification document.

Putting it all together: DID + VC/VP Authorization Process #

The way DIDs are used to connect to MetaBlox Network WiFi includes VCs and VPs as well (hence ‘DID+VC’). This overall authorization process–or protocol–occurs automatically on the MetaBlox app.

Below are the steps used by DID+VC protocol to connect users to Metablox’s WiFi OpenRoaming Network.

1. After the MetaBlox Network app is opened by a user for the first time, it generates a DID for them.


a. When the user comes within range of a MetaBlox Network router for the first time, the app sends a request for a VC to the WiFi operator hosting that router. This operator, which functions as an IDP, could be MetaBlox itself, or a partner operator using DID+VC protocol.

b. The operator reformats the information held on the user’s DID in order to meet the VC standards described above, allowing for the user’s identity credential to be computer-verified. The VC is then ‘signed’ with the corresponding DID, verifying that the VC is owned by the DID holder. This is equivalent to a credit card user signing their name on the back to verify that they are its owner.

3. As requested, the WiFi operator grants a VC based on the DID.

4. The app generates a VP based on the VC granted by the WiFi operator. The VP contains the information needed to establish a WiFi connection by interacting with a MetaBlox (or other participating) router. The app presents the VP to this router, establishing a WiFi connection.

This process occurs the first time a user connects to MetaBlox Network. After they are created during initial connection, the user’s VP, VC, and DID are stored on a blockchain. The VP is deployed again to reconnect the user to WiFi whenever they move back within range of a router using MetaBlox protocol.