MSP Identity Validity Rules

As mentioned in MSP description, MSPs may be configured with a set of root certificate authorities (rCAs), and optionally a set of intermediate certificate authorities (iCAs). An MSP’s iCA certificates must be signed by exactly one of the MSP’s rCAs or iCAs. An MSP’s configuration may contain a certificate revocation list, or CRL. If any of the MSP’s root certificate authorities are listed in the CRL, then the MSP’s configuration must not include any iCA that is also included in the CRL, or the MSP setup will fail.

Each rCA is the root of a certification tree. That is, each rCA may be the signer of the certificates of one or more iCAs, and these iCAs will be the signer either of other iCAs or of user-certificates. Here are a few examples:

        rCA1                rCA2         rCA3
      /    \                 |            |
   iCA1    iCA2             iCA3          id
    / \      |               |
iCA11 iCA12 id              id

The default MSP implementation accepts as valid identities X.509 certificates signed by the appropriate authorities. In the diagram above, only certificates signed by iCA11, iCA12, iCA2, iCA3, and rCA3 will be considered valid. Certificates signed by internal nodes will be rejected.

Notice that the validity of a certificate is also affected, in a similar way, if one or more organizational units are specified in the MSP configuration. Recall that an organizational unit is specified in an MSP configuration as a pair of two values, say (parent-cert, ou-string) representing the certificate authority that certifies that organizational unit, and the actual organizational unit identifier, respectively. If a certificate C is signed by an iCA or rCA for which an organizational unit has been specified in the MSP configuration, then C is considered valid if, among other requirements, it includes ou-string as part of its OU field.