13 February 2024

Web3 Battery Birth Certificate Credential Issuance & Verification

Use Case Deep Dive

1. Objective

In this blog, we delve into the increasingly important concept of Battery Birth Certificate (BBC) Verifiable Credentials (VCs) and their role in revolutionizing the global battery value chain. Our goal is to provide you with a thorough understanding of the following key areas:

  • Current challenges and information sharing gaps
  • Why it’s critical to enhance circularity and permissioned-traceability (for intended recipient, maintaining data privacy)
  • The need for a Web3 solution using the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) and Verifiable Credentials (VCs) standards
  • How MOBI Web3 Infrastructure (Citopia and the Integrated Trust Network) provides the scalable, standardized infrastructure needed for global battery information sharing and commerce. Both Citopia and ITN are made of federated networks of nodes. Together they create a decentralized marketplace framework for cross-industry interoperability

2. Introduction

As the world increasingly turns to batteries for sustainable energy solutions, we are at the cusp of an era where batteries are envisioned not just as passive energy storage units, but as autonomous devices, capable of communicating and transacting. This evolution towards batteries as their own agents unlocks unprecedented levels of efficiency and functionality, paving the way for numerous innovative uses and business models.

This evolution is especially significant in the context of the emerging EV battery sharing economy, where concepts like battery swapping, bidirectional charging, and decentralized grid storage are gaining traction. This new economic model promises significant benefits, opening the door to more circular and efficient battery lifecycles. However, realizing this potential hinges on overcoming trusted identity and data issues, critical information sharing gaps, and permissioned-traceability challenges in the global battery value chain.

2.1 The Need for a Digital Battery Birth Certificate Verifiable Credential (BBC-VC)

The battery value chain is a vast and intricate network involving hundreds to thousands of stakeholders, each playing a distinct role in the battery lifecycle. For a comprehensive list of these stakeholders, please refer to Section 5.

Driving circularity and bridging information gaps within this complex ecosystem will necessitate the establishment of a standards-based, decentralized Web3 infrastructure. Such an infrastructure will enable stakeholders to securely share (to intended recipients) and authenticate information about a given battery at every stage of its lifecycle.

Worldwide, policies like the EU Battery Regulation, the US Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, and CARB regulations mandate digital recordkeeping to meticulously track battery lifecycles and verify domestic contents, underscoring the growing necessity for a digital Global Battery Passport (GBP) — a comprehensive record that tracks a battery’s lifecycle from material mining through production, uses, and disposal.

Central to this GBP is the Battery Birth Certificate (BBC). (Note: We envision a battery’s GBP includes its BBC along with other verifiable credentials about its usage and lifecycle history). BBC-VCs are digital certificates that provide a comprehensive permissioned-traceable record of static battery information at its formation (“birth”). Information in the BBC-VC includes:

  • Battery Specifications: Battery capacity, chemical composition, and performance characteristics
  • Manufacturing Specifications: Ethical sourcing, production date, manufacturing facility, production batch, etc.
  • Quality Assurance: Information related to the quality control tests and certifications

2.2 Challenges in BBC-VC Implementation

Within the global battery value chain, countless public and private stakeholders operate with distinct processes for managing sensitive business and consumer data on centralized legacy systems. This fragmentation presents challenges in authenticating the history and uses of any given battery, particularly as it enters its end-of-life. However, in complex battery supply chain networks where trust incurs significant frictional costs, Web2 (centralized) solutions fail to provide adequate security, interoperability, and extensibility needed to enable secure data exchange and authentication between siloed stakeholders for BBC-VC issuance.

    Fig. 1 — A glimpse into the complex global battery value chain

    It’s important to note that Battery Birth Certificates do not only pertain to new batteries (first life) produced by a manufacturer. As batteries are repurposed for second life, a new BBC-VC has to be issued with old and new attributes, which further complicates the authenticity of the battery information.

    2.3 MOBI’s Web3 Infrastructure

    To help stakeholders tackle the pressing cross-industry interoperability challenges not only within the battery sector but also across various industries, MOBI has developed a member-owned and -operated Web3 Infrastructure comprising Citopia and the Integrated Trust Network (ITN).

    Rooted in World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) trusted identity open-standards, Citopia and the ITN are federated networks working together to form a secure and decentralized marketplace framework, offering standardized communication protocols for cross-industry interoperability. This unified framework serves as a common language, enabling organizations with diverse business processes and legacy systems to efficiently communicate and transact in a standardized manner without having to build and maintain new infrastructure, ensuring ease of adoption and scalability. As a result, stakeholders can securely share and authenticate data throughout the entire value chain, overcoming the barriers posed by traditional, centralized Web2 platforms.

    Using Citopia and the ITN, battery stakeholders can seamlessly implement the BBC as a Web3 VC to ensure that battery information remains verifiable, traceable (for the intended recipient), and tamper-evident across the battery’s entire lifecycle. This standards-based, Web3 approach promotes the end-to-end permissioned-traceability needed to effectively reduce the cost and complexity associated with BBC issuance and verification — empowering value chain resilience through enhanced circularity, data privacy, and cross-border compliance.

      2.4 Citopia Passport: Web3 Plug-and-Play

      In the MOBI Web3 ecosystem, each entity can self-create and manage its own unique and secure Citopia Passport (Web3 plug-and-play). Citopia Passports are Citopia Self-Sovereign Digital Twin™ (C-SSDT™) applications which can be used for private communication to intended recipients by issuing or verifying credentials. Each credential is signed with DID(s) anchored onto the ITN (making DIDs secure and tamper-evident). Citopia Passports are platform-agnostic standardized “universal translators” that work with any existing legacy system or web service to enable cross-industry interoperable communication through W3C decentralized identity framework.

      The battery’s Economic Operator (the organization responsible for putting the battery into the market) can create and control each battery’s Citopia Passport to encapsulate all the critical information and credentials of the battery, including the Battery Birth Certificate. This enables value chain stakeholders to communicate directly with the battery and have permission-access (data to intended recipient) to a comprehensive and up-to-date profile of each battery. Similarly, Citopia Passports provide the necessary tools for stakeholders to securely onboard, discover, and coordinate with each other across organizational lines. This helps to bridge information-sharing gaps while still ensuring that stakeholders’ proprietary data is protected.

      3. Use Case: Issuing and Verifying BBC Credentials

      The following implementation scenario of the BBC credential is for batteries as autonomous agents that can hold and present their own credentials (HOLDERs), when requested. An example interaction might be similar to that of Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri, where the end user can request specific information.

      3.1 Stakeholders

      In the evolving landscape of battery management and accountability, stakeholders can be categorized within the Web3 Verifiable Credential (VC) framework as ISSUERs, VERIFIERs, and HOLDERs (see Figure 2 below — a stakeholder can take on any of the three roles at any time). This collaborative approach ensures that the battery’s journey, from raw material sourcing to production, recycling, and reuse, is well-documented and can be permissioned-traceable by specific stakeholders.

      ISSUERS
      E.g. Battery Manufacturers, OEMs (Vehicle Manufacturers)

      ISSUERs are responsible for issuing credentials For this use case, it is the Battery Birth Certificate credential. In line with global regulations, the Economic Operator (any entity/organization that puts a battery into circulation) is responsible for providing the information pertaining to the battery.

      HOLDERS
      E.g. Consumers, Fleet Owners, Dealerships

      HOLDERs retain and utilize the credentials. For example, Consumers may rely on information contained in the BBC-VC to make informed decisions about battery maintenance and replacement. Fleet Owners and Dealerships may use the BBC-VC to track and manage batteries in their vehicles. HOLDERs may not be directly involved in issuing or verifying the credentials but are integral to ensuring that battery information is leveraged effectively.

      VERIFIERS
      E.g. Regulators, OEMs, Recycling and Repurposing Companies, Consumers

      VERIFIERs request and validate the credentials. The Battery Birth Certificate credential can be requested and verified to ensure that the battery information is from a trusted source and has not been tampered with.

      3.2 Expected Benefits

      • Enhanced Battery Quality Control: BBC-VCs provide a secure and verifiable means of tracking battery provenance and data to ensure the battery’s quality. This may helps in determining the value of the vehicle containing the battery
      • Improved Supply Chain Transparency: BBC-VCs enhance battery supply chain transparency (via permissioned-traceability), enabling stakeholders to trace the history and details of each battery
      • Reduced Counterfeit Battery Risk: By verifying the manufacturer of batteries, stakeholders can minimize the risk of installing counterfeit or substandard batteries
      • Compliance with Regional and Country-Specific Regulations: BBC-VCs provide visibility into the battery lifecycle needed to ensure compliance with regulations related to sustainability and circularity

      Fig. 2 — Role and Action of MOBI Web3 Ecosystem Stakeholders. A Stakeholder can take on any
      of the three roles (ISSUER, HOLDER, or VERIFIER) at any time

      3.3 The Economic Operator Creates a DID for Each Battery

      In accordance with global battery regulations, the Economic Operators (EOs) (1) are responsible for issuing the Global Battery Passport (GBP). Therefore, they are the ISSUERs in MOBI GBP implementation using W3C standards. Within the GBP there is a Battery Birth Certificate Verifiable Credential (MOBI BBC schema standard) along with many other relevant credentials forming the GBP.

      Each W3C Verifiable Credential (VC) is signed by the ISSUER DID (the EO in this use case) and the Verifiable Presentation (VP) is signed by the HOLDER DID (the Battery in this use case). The DID serves as each entity’s unique identifier. Secured by public and private keys, DIDs play a crucial role in ensuring the security and tamper-evidence of the credential.

      To create the battery’s DID, the ISSUER follows these steps by sending requests via their Citopia Passport (Web3 Plug-and-Play Universal Translator) while retaining their legacy system (see Figure 3 below):

      Step 1 in Figure 3: To create a unique DID for a battery, the ISSUER sends a “Create Battery DID” message from their legacy system to their Citopia Passport (contains Citopia Membership Credential)

      • The ISSUER Citopia Passport translates this message into Citopia standard messaging format
      • The ISSUER Citopia Passport sends the translated message/request to a Citopia Node. Citopia Node confirms ISSUER trusted identifier (DID) and verifies their Citopia Membership Credential. Once verified, Citopia Node requests the “DID Generation and Anchoring Services” from an ITN Node
      • ITN Node receives the requests and creates a unique DID for the Battery and anchors the DID onto every ITN node across the network for future use (verification and tamper-evidence). ITN Node sends a message back to Citopia Node containing the newly generated unique DID for a specific Battery (2)
      • Citopia Node relays this message to the ISSUER Citopia Passport
      • The ISSUER Citopia Passport sends the new unique Battery DID to the Battery Citopia Passport to hold/store

      Hover to zoom in on the diagram

      Fig 3 — Sequence Diagram for issuing and verifying of BBC credential: Interactions between
      ISSUERs, HOLDERs, VERIFIERs, Citopia, and the ITN

      3.4 The Economic Operator Issues the BBC-VC

      The ISSUER issues a BBC-VC (3) to the HOLDER (the Battery), following MOBI’s BBC standard schema, which includes details such as the battery’s specifications, manufacturing information, ESG compliance, and more.

      Step 2 in Figure 3: To create a BBC-VC for a unique battery, the ISSUER sends an “Issue BBC” message from their legacy system to their Citopia Passport (contains Citopia Membership Credential)

      • The ISSUER Citopia Passport translates the message into the Citopia standard messaging format and converts it into a VC signed with the ISSUER DID (based on W3C VC standard)
      • The ISSUER Citopia Passport then sends the BBC-VC to the HOLDER (the Battery as autonomous agent), which stores the BBC-VC in its Citopia Passport

      3.5 Verification of the BBC-VC

      The VERIFIER (e.g. consumer, regulator, mechanic, etc.) can request the BBC Credential from the HOLDER (battery) by communicating through their Citopia Passports, which leverage Citopia and ITN services to accomplish the following:

      Step 3 in Figure 3: The VERIFIER requests the BBC information by sending a Verification Request from their legacy system to their Citopia Passport (contains Citopia Membership Credential)

      • The VERIFIER Citopia Passport translates the message into the Citopia standard messaging format
      • The VERIFIER Citopia Passport sends the translated message/request to the HOLDER Citopia Passport
      • The HOLDER Citopia Passport authenticates the VERIFIER Citopia Membership Credential to ensure that the VERIFIER is authorized to access the information it is requesting (has the credential to access the data)
      • The HOLDER Citopia Passport creates and sends a Verifiable Presentation (VP) (4), which includes the BBC-VC signed with HOLDER DID, to the VERIFIER Citopia Passport
      • In order to verify the BBC-VC, the VERIFIER Citopia Passport sends a Verification Request to a Citopia Node, which performs the verification steps (the followings and others, depending on the use case) using ITN services:
        • Is the VP presented correctly?
        • Is the presenter’s signature valid?
        • Is the ISSUER’s DID linked to a legal entity credential?
        • Who is the DID subject, and is the presenter allowed to present a VP?
        • Other verifications
      • Citopia Node relays the verification to the VERIFIER Citopia Passport to confirm the following:
        • The HOLDER is authorized to act on behalf of the ISSUER
        • The VC was authenticated as the correct VC from the ISSUER

        4. Conclusion

        The implementation and integration of Web3 Battery Birth Certificates (using trusted identifiers and verifiable claims/transactions) in the global battery value chain promises a groundbreaking shift toward authorized-traceability (data to intended recipients), circularity, and compliance. This implementation not only streamlines the process of managing battery data but also ensures its accuracy and reliability, crucial for overcoming information fragmentation, effective battery lifecycle management, and environmental stewardship.

        Together, Citopia and the ITN offer cross-industry interoperability, an extensible framework that aligns seamlessly with existing legacy systems, promoting ease of integration and adoption. The use case explored in this blog post is just one of infinite possibilities that underscore the practical benefits of a Web3 approach. Citopia and the ITN provide standardized communication protocols and trusted identity services needed for stakeholders in every industry to unlock frictionless coordination for countless multiparty use cases.

        MOBI’s Circular Economy and the Global Battery Passport (CE-GBP) Working Group is currently developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for the GBP. To learn how your organization can get involved in these efforts, please fill out the Membership Inquiry Form on our website or contact us at connect@dlt.mobi.

          5. Ecosystem Stakeholders

          The following is a nonexhaustive list of stakeholders who may be involved in the Global Battery Passport ecosystem:

          • Mining Companies: Mine and extract raw materials
          • Processors and Refiners: Process and refine the raw materials required to create cathodes and anodes, essential components used in battery production
          • Manufacturers (Anode and Cathode): Manufacturers specializing in anode and cathode production utilize various materials to craft these vital components for batteries
          • Commodities Traders: Provide manufacturers with the active materials needed for anodes and cathodes, which manufacturers may purchase for their battery production processes
          • Regulators: Responsible for creating and enforcing regulations related to the transportation of dangerous goods and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics
          • Transport Companies: May transport various materials required for battery manufacturing, including raw materials, semi-finished and finished EV battery components such as cells, modules, and packs. They are also involved in transporting EVs, used/waste batteries collected for storage, and end-of-life (EOL) batteries for processing
          • Cell Manufacturers: Purchase cathodes and anodes and use them in the chemical process to manufacture battery cells
          • Battery / Module and Pack Manufacturers: Assemble cells into modules, and modules are further assembled to create usable EV batteries, often incorporating battery management systems (BMS) and cooling systems. Note: Cell, module, and pack manufacturing may be handled by separate entities or the same entity
          • EV Manufacturers/Automakers: Install batteries in EVs, manufacture and assemble the EVs, and sell them to distributors, dealers, and customers, often with warranties. They may also be involved in servicing and repairs under the manufacturer’s warranty and may assume responsibilities for EOL scenarios, including extended producer responsibility
          • Distributors: Act as wholesalers, supplying EVs to dealerships
          • Dealers: Sell EVs to customers and may also offer extended warranties and service contracts. Customers can sometimes buy EVs directly from the manufacturer. Dealers may also handle retired EVs
          • Lenders: Banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) collaborate to offer loans to customers interested in purchasing EVs
          • EV Owners/Fleets: Own EVs and their associated batteries. They may retire the vehicle or battery at a dealership or another designated location within the OEM network specified by the EV manufacturer
          • Body Shops: Certified body shops provide maintenance and repair services for EVs
          • Service Centers: Certified EV service centers specialize in servicing and maintaining EVs
          • Extended Warranty Providers: Offer extended warranties for EVs, covering components not included in the manufacturer’s warranty
          • Car Insurers: Cover costs for vehicle owners according to the terms of their insurance agreements
          • Battery Diagnostics Companies: These third-party companies offer services such as battery management system (BMS) monitoring, battery health diagnosis, and battery performance forecasting to EV manufacturers
          • Battery Swapping Companies: Battery swapping companies may be involved in cases where battery replacement or swapping is necessary
          • Collection Companies: Responsible for gathering used/waste (EOL) batteries
          • Storage Companies (incl. Scrap Yards): Store the used/waste batteries collected by collection companies
          • Sorting Companies: Sorting companies, which may operate at storage facilities, are responsible for sorting batteries based on their condition and suitability for various processes
          • Battery Testing Entity: At the end of a battery’s use phase, it may undergo testing to determine whether it can be reused, repurposed, or recycled. This testing can be performed by automakers, service centers, or sorting companies, depending on the situation
          • Waste Management Companies: handle waste generated throughout the battery supply chain, including waste from raw material extraction, production/processing processes, and manufacturing
          • Repurposing Companies: Take EOL batteries designated for repurposing and adapt them for alternative energy storage applications, such as stationary storage
          • Recycling Companies: Process waste batteries designated for recycling, extracting materials that can be used in battery manufacturing processes
          • Waste Disposal Companies: Handle EOL batteries that cannot be recycled, reused, or repurposed, typically disposing of them in landfills or using other appropriate waste disposal methods

          (1) An EO is defined in the EU Battery Regulation as any stakeholder that is responsible for putting a battery into the market, including Battery Manufacturers and Vehicle Manufacturers.

          (2) DIDs must be unique, similar to email addresses, to ensure that there are no conflicts or ambiguities when referring to specific individuals or entities, enabling secure and reliable identification in digital interactions.

          (3) Citopia Passport automates the process of turning a Battery Birth Certificate into a Verifiable Credential.

          (4) A Verifiable Presentation (VP) is signed with HOLDER DID. This digital signature (HOLDER DID) serves as a means for the VERIFIER to authenticate the VC using Citopia and ITN services.