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Identity of the Blockchain: Perils and Promise


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Presented during the #Consensus2016 identity workshop, May 4th, 2016

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Identity of the Blockchain: Perils and Promise

  1. 1. Identity on the Blockchain: Perils and Promise Consensus 2016 Identity Workshop May 4th, 2016
  2. 2. Christopher Allen • The Past: Cryptographic Trust & Internet Privacy Pioneer – Enabled PGP, Digicash, Red Hat, etc. with cryptographic tools – Co-author Consensus Development’s SSL 3.0 reference implementation – Co-editor of IETF TLS 1.0, world’s broadest deployed security standard – CTO Certicom, early smart contracts work – VP Developer Relations, Blackphone / Silent Circle • The Present: Blockchain & Identity Architect – ID 2020 Board Advisor, United Nations Summit on Digital Identity (May 20th) – #RebootingWebOfTrust Design Workshop (May 21st & 22nd) – Principal Architect, Blockstream PGP: FDA6C78E
  3. 3. Blockstream • We believe in trustless and permissionless innovation – Open source “Elements” sidechain project – “Liquid” sidechain for capital efficiency & liquidity in bitcoin exchanges • We believe in fairness, openness and accountability – Interoperable markets and many blockchains – Trustable and secure fiduciary transactions across multiple blockchains • We’re in this together – We are committed to collaboration with the broader industry – We are open to learning from you
  4. 4. Identity on the Blockchain • Blockstream has no identity product – However, we have privacy & confidentiality enabling crypto tools, including: – Confidential transactions; zero-knowledge transactions; crypto blinding; etc. • Identity of the Blockchain is a two-edged sword – Best: Hold the powerful accountable for their actions – Worst: We weaponize identity as a tool against the powerless • We wish to be part of the growing dialogue about Identity on the Blockchain – For if we do not speak, solutions may emerge that don't meet our high standards – We wish to learn together how to better create appropriate solutions
  5. 5. Why now? • United Nations goal 16.9. targets legal identity for all by 2030 – Estimated 1.5bn people without a legal identity, 230m children under 5 yrs – 60m stateless people and refugees • Aadhaar Card Registered ~1bn Indian citizens – Violates some best practices of over a decade of first-world identity work – Few laws against profiling, discrimination, abuse by law enforcement, etc. – Biometric abuses — you can’t revoke a fingerprint • In WW II, more Jews died as % of population in Holland than in Germany • The same tools we use to protect a buyer, seller, trader, auctioneer, or a make a marketplace fair & transparent can also be use to defend the helpless!
  6. 6. Self-Sovereign Identity • Every individual human being is the original source of their own identity • Identity is not an administrative mechanism for others to control – No one may charge rent or be able revoke another’s identity • Each individual is the root of their own identity, and central to its administration • The role of names, citizenship, licenses & other credentials should be distinct
  7. 7. 10 Principles • Existence – Users have an independent existence — they are never wholly digital • Control – Users must control their identities, celebrity or privacy as they prefer • Access – Users must have access to their own data — no gatekeepers, nothing hidden • Transparency – Systems and algorithms must be open and transparent • Persistence – Identities must be long-lived — for as long as the user wishes
  8. 8. 10 Principles (continued) • Portability – Information and services about identity must be transportable by the user • Interoperability – Identities should be as widely usable as possible; e.g. cross borders • Consent – Users must freely agree to how their identity information will be used • Minimalization – Disclosure of claims about an identity must be as few as possble • Protection – The rights of individual users must be protected against the powerful
  9. 9. A Growing Dialog • These 10 principles are only a beginning… – Share your ideas & thoughts with me @ChristopherA – Post issues & pull requests at: • How can we better understand the problems and advocate solutions? – ID 2020 Summit on Digital Identity at United Nations May 20th – • What architectures support self-sovereign identity? – Second #RebootingWebOfTrust Workshop May 21st & 22nd – @ChristopherA