Industry Specification Group (ISG) Permissioned Distributed Ledger (PDL) Activity Report 2022

Chair: Diego Lopez, TELEFONICA S.A.

Analyzing and providing foundations for the operation of permissioned distributed ledgers, with the ultimate purpose of creating an open ecosystem of industrial solutions to be deployed by different sectors, fostering the application of these technologies. Contributing to consolidate the trust and dependability on information technologies supported by global, open telecommunications networks.

Distributed ledger technologies record transactions and their details in multiple places at the same time, eliminating the need for a centralized data store or administration functionality as with traditional databases.

Their ability to store any kind of data as a consensus of replicated, shared, and synchronized digital records distributed across multiple sites – without depending on any central administrator, together with their properties regarding immutability (and therefore non-repudiation) and multi-party verifiability – opens a wide range of applications, and new interaction models among those entities willing to record the transactions associated to those interactions through these ledgers. While distributed ledgers are mostly known because of their use as cryptocurrencies, there are many other uses besides those. Examples include so-called smart contracts, support to digital identity attributes, object tracking, or the verification of service level agreements.

While most ledgers in ICT are already centralized, recent approaches based on distributed ledgers can provide higher openness and better resiliency.

Permissioned (managed) distributed ledgers (PDL) in particular are suited to business-oriented use cases of industry and governmental institutions. From a technical perspective, PDL reduces the cost and delays of recording a transaction; other benefits include lower cost of a consensus algorithm, offline operation and the fairness properties among participants. In parallel, the legal benefits of PDL include the support from external legal agreements or the regulatory enforcement in critical sectors.

Our Industry Specification Group on Permissioned Distributed Ledgers (ISG PDL) is exploring the challenges presented by the operation of permissioned distributed ledgers. The group also addresses application scenarios, functional architecture and solutions for the operation of permissioned distributed ledgers, including interfaces/APIs/protocols and information/data models.

In 2022 ISG PDL released a further suite of deliverables to support industry and government institutions’ rapidly expanding need for PDL solutions.

Group Report GR PDL 006 describes the key elements of interoperability to exchange information between different ledgers, and to mutually use the information that has been exchanged.

Group Specification GS PDL 012 provides a PDL reference architecture framework, based on a further development of the ISG’s previously published Group Report GR PDL 003.

Group Specification GS PDL 013 considers the use of PDL to support distributed data management (for example distributed data collection, distributed data sharing and federated learning).

Group Report GR PDL 014 explores the non-repudiation challenges in Permissioned Distributed Ledgers, presenting various non-repudiation strategies/technologies and their viability.

During the year ISG PDL also released an update to its existing Group Specification GS PDL 011. This establishes architectural and functional specifications of smart contracts, presenting potential security threats and solutions to mitigate them.

In January 2022 ISG PDL members published ETSI White Paper #48 ‘An Introduction of Permissioned Distributed Ledger (PDL)’. Presenting a brief introduction on blockchain and distributed technology, the paper summarizes PDL work items and technologies that have been developed and are currently under development by the group. Describing selected use cases that PDL technologies can be applied to, it also discusses advanced distributed ledger technologies (DLT) with standardization potentials in future, such as redactable ledgers and payment channel networks.

During the year work meanwhile progressed on further deliverables, including:

  • A Group Specification on PDL reputation management, with publication anticipated by the end of 2022;
  • A Group Report evaluating the interaction between Smart Contracts and oracles;
  • A Group Report describing the features of a PDL to be applicable as a qualified electronic ledger in eIDAS;
  • A Group Report to define redactable distributed ledgers, investigate use cases where redactable distributed ledgers are useful and assesses existing solutions;
  • A Group Report analyzing potential PDL services to enable identity and trust service management;
  • A Group Report describing a wireless consensus network architecture.

See the full list of ISG PDL Work Items currently in development here.

ISG PDL continues to develop a number of Proofs-of-Concept (PoCs) in order to facilitate collaboration with research projects developing or incorporating distributed ledger technologies.

Find out more on the PDL technology page.