Table of contents

  1. Intro
  2. Blobs
    1. Writing a Blob
    2. Reading a Blob
  3. Schemas
    1. Creating a Schema
    2. Writing a Schema
    3. Reading a Schema
    4. Schemas in Verifiable Credentials
    5. Schemas in Verifiable Presentations


Data Schemas are useful way of enforcing a specific structure on a collection of data like a Verifiable Credential. Data schemas serve a different purpose than that of the @context property in a Verifiable Credential, the latter neither enforces data structure or data syntax, nor enables the definition of arbitrary encodings to alternate representation formats.


Schemas are stored on chain as a Blob in the Blob Storage module of the Dock chain, so understanding blobs is important before diving into Schemas.

Writing a Blob

A new Blob can be registered on the Dock Chain by using the method writeToChain in the BlobModule class. It accepts a blob object with the struct to store on chain (it can either be a hex string or a byte array), and one of keyPair (a keyPair to sign the extrinsic with) or a signature (if you prefer to sign the extrinsic offline). In return you'll get a signed extrinsic that you can send to the Dock chain:

const blobId = randomAsHex(DockBlobIdByteSize); // 32-bytes long hex string to use as the blob's id
const blobStruct = {
  id: blobId,
  blob: blobHexOrArray,  // Contents of your blob as a hex string or byte array
  author: '0x...',       // hex part of a dock DID
const result = await dock.blob.writeToChain( blobStruct, keyPair);

If everything worked properly result will indicate a successful transaction. We'll see how to retrieve the blob next.

Reading a Blob

A Blob can be retrieved by using the method get in the BlobModule class. It accepts a blobId string param which can either be a fully-qualified blob id like blob:dock:0x... or just its hex identifier. In response you will receive a two-element array:

const chainBlob = await dock.blob.get(blobId);

chainBlob's first element will be the blob's author (a DID). It's second element will be the contents of your blob (blobHexOrArray in our previous example).


Since Schemas are stored on chain as a Blob in the Blob Storage module, the Schema class uses the BlobModule class internally. Schemas are identified and retrieved by their unique blobId, a 32 byte long hex string. As mentioned, the chain is agnostic to the contents of blobs and thus to schemas.

Creating a Schema

The first step to creating a Schema is to initialize it, we can do that using the Schema class constructor which accepts an (optional) id string as sole argument:

const myNewSchema = new Schema();

When an id isn't passed, a random blobId will be assigned as the schema's id.

<- "blob:dock:5Ek98pDX61Dwo4EDmsogUkYMBqfFHtiS5hVS7xHuVvMByh3N"

Also worth noticing is the JSON representation of the schema as is right now, which can be achieved by calling the toJSON method on your new schema:

>  myNewSchema.toJSON()
<- {"id":"0x768c21de02890dad5dbf6f108b6822b865e4ea495bb7f43f8947714e90fcc060"}

where you can see that the schema's id gets modified with getHexIdentifierFromBlobID.

Setting a JSON Schema

A JSON schema can be added with the setJSONSchema method. It accepts a single argument json (an object that is checked to be a valid JSON schema before being added):

>   const someNewJSONSchema = {
         $schema: '',
         description: 'Dock Schema Example',
         type: 'object',
         properties: {
           id: {
             type: 'string',
           emailAddress: {
             type: 'string',
             format: 'email',
           alumniOf: {
             type: 'string',
         required: ['emailAddress', 'alumniOf'],
         additionalProperties: false,
>   myNewSchema.setJSONSchema(someNewJSONSchema)
>   myNewSchema.schema === someNewJSONSchema
<-  true

Setting an author

An author can be added with the setAuthor method. It accepts a single string argument did (which can be a DID's hex identifier or a fully-quailified DID):

>   const exampleAuthor = 'did:dock:5CEdyZkZnALDdCAp7crTRiaCq6KViprTM6kHUQCD8X6VqGPW';
>   myNewSchema.setAuthor(exampleAuthor)
> === exampleAuthor
<-  true

Signing a schema

Signing a schema can be achieved by calling the sign method. It accepts a keypair param (a keyPair to sign with) and a blobModule object:

>   const keyring = new Keyring();
>   const keypair = keyring.addFromUri(randomAsHex(32), null, 'sr25519');
>   myNewSchema.sign(keypair, dockApi.blob)
>   !!myNewSchema.signature
<-  true

Setting a signature manually

A signature can also be manually added with the setSignature method. It accepts a single argument signature (an instance of Signature):

>   const keyring = new Keyring();
>   const keypair = keyring.addFromUri(randomAsHex(32), null, 'sr25519');
>   const sig = new SignatureSr25519(msg, keypair);
>   myNewSchema.setSignature(sig)
>   myNewSchema.signature === sig
<-  true

Formatting for storage

Your new schema is now ready to be written to the Dock chain, the last step is to format it properly for the BlobModule to be able to use it. That's where the toBlob method comes in handy:

>   myNewSchema.toBlob()
<-  {
      id: ...,
      blob: ...,
      author: ...,

Writing a Schema to the Dock chain

Writing a Schema to the Dock chain is similar to writing any other Blob. Once you've created your new schema following the steps above you can use the BlobModule methods to interact with the chain:

>  const formattedBlob = myNewSchema.toBlob(dockDID);
>  await dock.blob.writeToChain(formattedBlob, keyPair);

Reading a Schema from the Dock chain

Reading a Schema from the Dock chain can easily be achieved by using the get method from the Schema class. It accepts a string id param (a fully-qualified blob id like "blob:dock:0x..." or just its hex identifier) and a dockAPI instance:

>  const result = await Schema.get(, dock);

result[0] will be the author of the Schema, and result[1] will be the contents of the schema itself.

Schemas in Verifiable Credentials

The VCDM spec specify how the credentialSchema property should be used when present. Basically, once you've created and stored your Schema on chain, you can reference to it by its blobId when issuing a Verifiable Credential. Let's see an example:

>    const dockApi = new DockAPI();
>    const dockResolver = new DockResolver(dockApi);
>    let validCredential = new VerifiableCredential('');
>    validCredential.addContext('');
>    const ctx1 = {
      '@context': {
        emailAddress: '',
>    validCredential.addContext(ctx1);
>    validCredential.addType('AlumniCredential');
>    validCredential.addSubject({
      id: dockDID,
      alumniOf: 'Example University',
      emailAddress: '',
>    validCredential.setSchema(blobHexIdToQualified(blobId), 'JsonSchemaValidator2018');
>    await validCredential.sign(keyDoc);
>    await validCredential.verify({
       resolver: dockResolver,
       compactProof: true,
       forceRevocationCheck: false,
       schemaApi: { dock: dockApi }

Assuming that the blobId points to a schema taken from the previous examples, the verification above would fail if I the credentialSubject in the Verifiable Credential didn't have one of the alumniOf or emailAddress properties.

Schemas in Verifiable Presentations

The current implementation does not specify a way to specify a schema for a Verifiable Presentation itself. However, a Verifiable Presentation may contain any number of Verifiable Credentials, each of which may or may not use a Schema themselves. The verify method for Verifiable Presentations will enforce a schema validation in each of the Verifiable Credentials contained in a presentation that are using the credentialSchema and credentialSubject properties simultaneously. This means that the verification of an otherwise valid Verifiable Presentation will fail if one of the Verifiable Credentials contained within it uses a Schema and fails to pass schema validation.