Together, with other members of the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications Standards Committee, we conducted a survey on the standardisation of digital ledger technology. Within the survey, we have identified and categorised existing publications and working groups and have provided recommendations on where to focus future standardisation efforts.

​Standardisation can be defined as the process of establishing best practices within a particular domain, as well as providing an indication of a domain’s maturity. By adhering to specific standards, implementations can reduce the number of silos, seamlessly achieve interoperability with other solutions, improve and maintain security and decrease the risk of a fragmented ecosystem.

Standardisation is a pre-requisite for full enterprise adoption of DLT. We know that adopting a standardised approach can drastically reduce time spent on research and development and minimise the risks associated with DLT adoption. Much of the current fragmented landscape of DLT networks is built on technology with little to no built-in interoperability. For DLTs to interoperate on a native level, industry-wide standardisation on the underlying protocols and data formats is crucial.

​In our recent paper, Implementing Secure Bridges: Learnings from the Secure Asset Transfer Protocol, we use the analogy of a walled garden to describe DLT networks, which alludes to the inability for assets to flow freely between networks – which we know is one of the biggest barriers to widespread DLT adoption. The paper also looks at how reported security issues in proprietary solutions are a key motivation for standardisation on open protocols. An example of this is crypto bridges, which were exploited to steal over a billion dollars’ worth of assets in 2022 alone. The sheer scale of these attacks has been a catalyst for change and is a key driver of the standardisation on open protocols.

​A first version of the survey titled SoK: Distributed Ledger Technology Standardisation is available as a preprint, while further efforts to extend the work within INATBA is planned. The lists of publications and working groups are also available in an open GitHub repository, where we invite others to contribute to the discovery of new publications and working groups.

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“For DLTs to interoperate on a native level, industry-wide standardisation on the underlying protocols and data formats is crucial.”

Dr Luke Riley
Head of Innovation
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