Like Shipping Containers, Verifiable Credentials Will Economically Transform the World

Large container ship carrying many shipping containers

This is part 2 of a 3-part series:

Part 1: Verifiable Credentials Aren’t Credentials. They’re Containers.


  • Verifiable Credentials (VCs) aren’t just functionally similar to shipping containers, they are economically similar as well, and will bring an explosion in global digital trade like shipping containers brought for global physical trade. The right container at the right time can change the world, dramatically.
  • Shipping containers caused a precipitous drop in shipping costs (over 95%) by bridging the physical contexts between ships, trains, and trucks; VCs can deliver a similar cost reduction in the digital realm, by bridging the contexts between organizations.
  • The transitive trust enabled by VCs enables cooperative network effects, which are even bigger than regular network effects.

If VCs Are Economically Similar to Shipping Containers, It’s a Big Deal

The comparison of VCs to shipping containers is much more than a passing one. This analogy, which I’ve been using in presentations and conversations for the last couple of months, has been a big improvement when teaching the basic concept of VCs from a functional standpoint. It is simple, clear, and everyone seems to quickly understand it, a rare breath of messaging fresh air in a world of confusing SSI lingo.

The Right Container = Economic Explosion

From $5.86 to $.16

There were many other containers in existence prior to 1956; why did this particular container make such a disproportionate difference?

VCs Do for Data What Shipping Containers Did for Physical Goods

VCs Unlock Global Network Effects

In Conclusion

Shipping containers were a once-in-a-lifetime improvement in global trade, forever bridging the physical barriers between ships, trains, and trucks. VCs are the shipping containers of the digital realm, bridging trust domain barriers between organizations, departments, and even internal silos.

GP, Digital Trust Ventures