Digital certificates can only be effective enablers of trade when all parties to a transaction have confidence in the certification authority that issued the digital certificate.
Trade is conducted globally and there will be times where a relying party will not be familiar with a certification authority and therefore may not feel confident in relying on a digital certificate they have issued.
To overcome this issue, certification authorities may be certified by a higher level certification authority that is more widely known and trusted.
This is known as a trust hierarchy and at the top of a hierarchy is the root certification authority, sometimes also referred to as a trust anchor.
The IdenTrust™ scheme is an example of a trust hierarchy. The IdenTrust™ organisation acts as a RCA and uses its own-signed digital certificate to certify a participating financial institution, which acts as certification authority. By doing this IdenTrust also states that they have qualified to the standards of the scheme.