Wearable identity on web 3 requires a native crypto solution, says Weiwu Zhang, co-founder of AlphaWallet.
Have you ever thought about how often you log in or out must? Because today, in Web 2, we constantly have to log in and out of different sites before we can read, buy, play or communicate. Watching some videos requires one set of credentials, verifying email or social media accounts another. In fact, something as simple as requesting flight details sometimes requires two or three different credentials. This iterative process of identity verification that we constantly have to go through on Web 2 isn’t just tedious. This is a clear indication of a much deeper infrastructure problem that will ultimately prevent the realization of a fully-fledged, intelligent Web 3.
A universal connection is not a solution
A frequently proposed solution to simplify navigation is a so-called “Universal connection“. It is a set of credentials that can be used seamlessly across all online platforms. While such a solution might make Web 2 more convenient, it misses the real problem.
The problem with a universal login solution is not the type of information for registration. This is the need to register in the first place. We all hate logging in again and again! If we want to create a truly intelligent Internet, we must first rethink the daily management of connections and disconnections.
We need to get rid of the login process that ties user data to third parties. Instead, we base our interactions on two of the most promising blockchain technologies: smart tokens and those who support them Smart contracts. With these flexible and decentralized tools, we can increase the level of trust between the user and the website and eliminate the need for logins and logouts.
Identity and Infrastructure on the Web 3
The concept of identity on Web 3 has been a hot topic for some time, perhaps due to the central role it already plays on Web 2. In today’s Internet, identity offers users the keys to the centralized walled gardens that govern the online world, we must first reveal our names, email addresses, dates of birth and other personal information.
This identity verification model not only allows Google, Facebook, Apple and Co. to access our information, but it also causes a number of other problems, including lack of interoperability. Because in the fragmented Web 2 infrastructure, the tangible and intangible assets we build on each platform are not transferable. Everything we are, create, buy or receive on a particular platform is forever tied to that platform. It also poses a significant security risk because if we lose access to our accounts for any reason, we also lose access to all assets associated with those accounts, including our online identities themselves.
A universal connection?
It’s tempting to think that a universal login process would solve all of these problems. After all, if we could use a unique identifier on the Internet, wouldn’t the logistical barriers between websites and online applications also disappear?
To some extent maybe. But a universal connection solution alone would not break down the barriers between knocking down the Walled Gardens of Web 2. It would only work as a general key for individual and separate areas.
“A truly smart and integrated Internet will only be possible if users can roam freely without having to register. This is where smart tokens and smart contracts come in.
You probably already know what smart contracts are – blockchain-based codes that automatically execute when certain conditions are met. Just like smart contracts, smart tokens are also located on a blockchain. They are also programmable and able to store data such as proof of identity in a way that can easily be implemented in smart contracts.
Unlike universal login, a smart token-based login process would eliminate the need for constant verification. Getting rid of this annoying requirement would be a big step towards a seamless and integrated Web 3, with no forms to fill out or promo codes to enter. Instead, all relevant information can be encoded into the tokens, which reside securely in users’ wallets. This information can then be verified using zero-knowledge cryptography. This allows smart contracts to verify data without sharing the details with a third party.
The dream of easy web connection 3
Imagine you are visiting an online game store with an identity based on smart tokens. You simply connect your wallet to your browser. There are two types of smart tokens in your wallet that belong only to you: a loyalty token and an identity token. The loyalty token contains information about your past purchases. The identity token stores information such as your name, age, and contact information, which is only accessible when needed.
- Instead of uploading an image of your photo ID or sharing your date of birth, your ID token would tell the seller via a smart contract that you’re over 18, for example. Registration is not required for this.
- Your wallet would also tell the smart contracts in the store that you own a certain cryptocurrency (e.g. ETH). This can be useful for granting discounts when buyers pay in these currencies. No registration is required for this either.
Since the relationship between tokens and smart contracts replaces the trust relationship between the user and the website, there is no need for login gateways or passwords.
No connection ? No problem!
Token-based identity verification is essential for a smart Internet. Because tokens are flexible, programmable and secure. Plus, they can be used on a wide range of websites, eliminating the need to log in.
This type of identity authentication will not completely replace login, nor is it necessarily necessary. But with websites and online apps ready to adopt a token-based authentication model, users can finally have a secure and seamless experience, all without logging in.
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