Last week I wrote about the inherent tension between data privacy and portability , and suggested that one alternative could be an exportable”solitude context” that could travel with ported data. Such an approach, however, would need a notion of identity which is wider than a single account in one firm.
This isn’t a new idea. Since at least 2017, both Keybase and Blockstack have empowered social media users to attest to some linkage between social accounts along with a cryptographic identity. Here is what it looks like on Keybase, and here is what it looks like on Blockstack. Neither Keybase nor Blockstack are now promoting this regular front & centre, because it’s true a geeky thing that appealed (back in 2017) to individuality explorers, but not to mainstream customers.
But today, we’re beginning to see some new signs of life with this routine, and I believe we might be nearing some drivers that have the capability to bring it into mainstream scale. They are:
1/ Interesting . It might be that some type of social sport figures out a way to bring crypto identities . By way of instance, 2100 is a job that popped past fall, which let people issue tokens corresponding to their Twitter accounts. Interesting idea, although it appears to get lost some steam, at least for today. You could envision this taking off with social media influencers with big crowds, who are super good at finding ways to commercialize their online presence.
Combining fun and cash can be strong . And from that, I believe some of the more principled / architectural elements will become more evident and valuable with time.
Speaking of Keybase, where they’ve concentrated more recently is protected, encrypted messaging, as a consumer use case construction from the core infrastructure. Related, are two distinct projects called”Dmail” — dmail.io and dmail.online — the former allows you to encrypt emails that you send across unsafe channels (like Gmail or some other email client) and the latter is a complete system for sending emails. It is logical that this is going to be at the the middle of a driving consumer use case. Privacy is more of a mainstream feature each day, and it can not just be Apple that supplies it.
Compliance is where this post started, considering coming regulations about data portability, interoperability and privacy, and where I will end it. While I don’t anticipate that we’ll acquire direct advice towards cryptographic identity from authorities, it might be that cryptographic identity becomes evident within various compliance options.
By way of instance, all payments systems will need to follow so-called Know-Your-Customer (KYC), Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) and sanctions rules, for instance, so-called Travel Rule which requires that both senders and recipients of capital verify identities. On the surface, cryptographic identities are electronic bearer resources and would therefore appear to be at odds with formal identity systems. However, it might be that we come to use cryptographic identity elements (e.g., blockchain accounts, electronic signatures, as well as non-fungible tokens) in creative ways to satisfy a number of those requirements, vs. conventional methods employed by firms like Persona, Alloy and many others now.
It does feel as though your online identity, whether it is a bitcoin or a twitter manage, is a kind of property and must be handled as such.