The most common form of online identification used today is an email address. When you create a new account at any website, you usually have to provide an email address as a basic form of identification. You can then login with your email address, or a username attached to your email address, when you come back to the site in the future. While this system has worked good enough in the early years of the Internet, there are two projects in the cryptocurrency space that are looking to completely change the way online identity works for everyone. Namecoin and Keyhotee want to create cryptographically secure online identities for everyone to use for authentication purposes on various websites.
Third Party Trust
Much like Bitcoin, Namecoin and Keyhotee are both nothing more than decentralized ledgers with a database of addresses. Those addresses are then attached to names, and someone can verify that they own a particular address by signing a message with the private key. The problem with the current system, especially after the NSA revelations, is that it requires third party trust. When you sign-up for Amazon with an email address, your email provider can also see everything that gets sent to you by Amazon. That third party usually has complete control over your online identity, and there's no reason to put that kind of trust in someone like Google or Yahoo. While finding a trusted third party made sense in the past, we now have the invention of decentralized ledgers.
Mining a Name
Another problem with centralized identities is that you can usually create as many of them as you'd like. This is why trolls on forums and message boards can never really be extinguished. It's also a reason that spam still finds its way into your inbox from time to time. One of the innovative creations from Keyhotee is that you can actually mine a name. When you mine a name or identity, you are basically paying money or using computer power to add reputation points to your name. When you're willing to use computer power or money to pay for your name, you're less likely to ruin the reputation of that name by being a troll or sending out massive amounts of spam. By adding some accountability to the identity creation process, the number of bad actors on the web could be somewhat diminished. Users who decide to only interact with people who have a certain number of reputation points would at least be able to avoid the trolls of the Internet.
Last modified (UTC): April 20, 2014 6:28 PM