Attestation Repository

Attestation Repository

Overview

An attestation repository is a dedicated location where attestations are submitted for storage, referencing, and analysis after they have been issued by an attester. Outfitted with a robust suite of tools and infrastructure, it enhances accessibility and user experience for both end-users and developers.

Sorting Attestations with an Attestation Repository

When an attester issues a new attestation, it can generally be submitted to two places: 'the wild', which is literally anywhere, or an attestation repository. The same holds true for verifiers and other observers who wish to reference or access any existing attestation. A system or construct that provides a consolidated location for issuing new attestations and referencing existing ones, an attestation repository ensures comprehensive monitoring and indexing, thereby enabling users to access attestations reliably as needed.

Sign Protocol provides attesters, verifiers, and other participants in the attestation ecosystem with dedicated attestation repositories, facilitating the convenient submission and referencing of attestations.

Infrastructure of an Attestation Repository

Attestation Repositories are typically equipped with certain infrastructure and tooling provisions that make the submission, referencing, and analysis of attestations more streamlined, convenient, and efficient. Some of these infrastructures and tools include, but are not limited to:

  • Attestation Explorer: Designed to enhance the discoverability and viewing of attestations, this tool is an integral part of the attestation repository. It typically contains features like search engines and attestation tracking. An example is SignScan, built for Sign Protocol, which allows users to track and view all attestations submitted to Sign Protocol’s attestation repository.

  • Attestation Indexer: Acting as a bridge between raw attestation data and meaningful insights, this software tool extracts attestation data from an attestation repository and transforms this data into a machine or human-readable form. Additionally, it builds a database with this transformed attestation data or similar construct to enable easy querying and analysis of attestations.

  • Attestation Client: This software tool provides a user-friendly interface and experience allowing end-users to seamlessly interact with the attestation repository for various tasks such as issuing new attestations, generating proofs and other metadata, or referencing existing ones.

  • Attestation API Framework: This is a set of software libraries and scripts that provide developers with the necessary endpoints and documentation to directly interact with the attestation repository. These frameworks allow them to innovate on top of the attestation repository to produce limitless solutions that leverage attestations.

Deploying and Hosting an Attestation Repository

For an attestation repository to become operational, it must first be hosted on a platform that meets its specific requirements. Currently, the prevalent platforms for hosting an attestation repository include blockchains, locally referred to as onchain platforms, and Data Storage solutions, locally known as offchain platforms. Information Exchange platforms represent a less popular option for hosting, still in the early stages of gaining popularity, and they also fall within the "offchain" category among blockchain/cryptocurrency folk.

Sign Protocol acknowledges and supports the two genres of platforms for deploying and hosting its attestation repositories:

  1. Blockchain Systems (a.k.a. Onchain Platforms)

These platforms are endowed with attributes that enhance the repository with desirable properties and provide robust guarantees. They are characterized by several features:

  • Censorship-Resistance: They resist attempts to control or suppress information.

  • Incentive Mechanisms: They encourage participation and cooperation among users.

  • Tamper-Resistance: They prevent unauthorized alterations.

  • Unrestricted Global Access: They allow anyone, anywhere in the world, to participate.

  • Liveness: They ensure that the system continues to operate and update.

  • Global Consensus: They ensure agreement on the state of the system across all participants.

  • Data Availability: They guarantee data is never withheld and always shared with all participants.

Typically, these platforms utilize distributed or shared ledgers, along with blockchain scripts (a.k.a. smart contracts), to record and verify all system updates. Their unwavering commitment to principles such as public access and open verification makes them an ideal choice for attestation repositories intended for public use. An attestation repository benefits from all the above characteristics, plus a good level of programmability, when it’s implemented and operated as a blockchain-based program.

Some notable examples of these platforms include Ethereum, Starknet, Zetachain, Polygon, among others.

NB: "Onchain Attestations" is a term used within the blockchain/cryptocurrency community to denote attestations issued to repositories hosted on blockchains. Consequently, blockchains are labeled as "Onchain" platforms within this context.

  1. Data Storage Platforms (a.k.a. Offchain Platforms)

These platforms are specifically designed for efficient data storage, boasting high bandwidth provisions and robust file systems to effectively manage stored data. Consequently, they are well-suited for hosting attestation repositories with high resource demands.

In addition to the aforementioned qualities, Data Storage platforms offer several key features that can be highly beneficial for an attestation repository, depending on its needs. Some of these features include:

  • Data Protection: This ensures the security and integrity of stored data through encryption, access controls, and data redundancy measures.

  • Central Administrative Controls: This refers to the centralized management tools and frameworks within the data storage platform, including user access management, data governance policies, and administrative oversight tools.

  • Jurisdictional Oversight: This aspect deals with ensuring compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and jurisdiction-specific requirements governing data storage, access, and usage. It involves features such as data residency controls, compliance reporting, and localization options.

  • Public Data Accessibility: This involves the mechanisms for making certain stored data accessible to the public while maintaining appropriate privacy controls and authentication measures. This can involve features like APIs, access portals, and permission settings for selective data sharing.

Ultimately, their defining quality lies in their ability to efficiently meet high bandwidth demands, rendering them ideal for storing and managing significant volumes of data. Furthermore, these systems prioritize data security, implementing state-of-the-art protective measures to uphold the integrity and confidentiality of the data.

Data Storage platforms typically strike a good balance between bandwidth abundance and security which makes them ideal options for attestation repositories that rich data storage (and security) needs. Some examples of these platforms include AWS, iCloud, ArDrive(from Arweave), among others.

It’s worth noting that not all Data Storage platforms prioritize features like data privacy, strict regulatory compliance, and centralized controls. Some, like ArDrive(from Arweave), focus on open and public data access, minimal regulatory oversight, no central controls, and etc.

NB: "Offchain Attestations" is a term used within the blockchain/cryptocurrency community to denote attestations issued to repositories hosted on non-blockchain solutions. Consequently, Data Storage platforms are labeled as "Offchain" platforms within this context.

  1. Information Exchange platforms (a.k.a. Offchain Platforms)

These platforms facilitate the distribution and exchange of data and information among multiple parties within a shared network environment. They serve various purposes for users and businesses, including communication, collaboration, and distribution, addressing diverse needs within the network.

Information Exchange Platforms are distinguished by their core features and qualities that enable efficient data handling and dissemination. These platforms are particularly suitable for attestation repositories requiring performant distribution of rich content across extensive participant networks. Some of these features and qualities include:

  • Lightweight Design: This streamlined design ensures high throughput and low latency, enabling rapid and responsive communication, collaboration, and distribution of information among users, even in high-traffic environments.

  • Versatility and Extensibility: These platforms excel in their versatility, being readily adaptable and extendable beyond their core functions to accommodate diverse user needs, all while maintaining a user-friendly approach. This is showcased in how these platforms usually serve as underlying infrastructure for consumer apps that cater to a variety of use cases, such as file sharing, instant messaging, internet forums, and even microblogging apps.

  • Data Redundancies: These platforms implement robust data redundancy techniques such as file fragmentation and replication to provide enhanced security and expedited data access, ensuring reliability even in adverse conditions.

  • Bandwidth Optimization: By leveraging distributed architectures and topology modes like federation, these solutions optimize data transfer and bandwidth usage, minimizing congestion and maximizing efficiency. The outcome is faster and more reliable communication and collaboration experiences.

Information exchange platforms are ideal for attestation repositories aiming for efficient data distribution, as well as extensibility features that facilitate versatile and user-friendly methods to engage and interact with attestations.

Some notable examples of these platforms include Git, Torrents, Farcaster, AT Protocol, among others.

NB: "Offchain Attestations" is a term used within the blockchain/cryptocurrency community to denote attestations issued to attestation repositories hosted on non-blockchain solutions. Consequently, Information Exchange platforms are labeled as "Offchain" platforms within this context.

Attest Anywhere

Regardless of your preferred platform, Sign Protocol offers attesters a diverse range of platform options for issuing attestations. This flexibility arises from the deployment of multiple repositories across various platforms.

For all your offchain attestation needs, Sign Protocol utilizes Arweave as its data storage platform.

For all your onchain attestation needs, explore the expanding list of supported blockchains by Sign Protocol, as we continually deploy repositories across various blockchain networks.

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