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Ripple Joins DeRec Alliance, But is Security Really the Biggest Hurdle to Crypto Mass Adoption?

Last Updated 2 days ago
James Morales
Last Updated 2 days ago
By James Morales
Verified by Peter Henn

Key Takeaways

  • Ripple has joined the DeRec Alliance.
  • The alliance argues that a decentralized recovery protocol can help boost Web3 adoption.
  • However, key management is just one of the hurdles preventing mass adoption of decentralized technologies.

Mass adoption is often posited as blockchain technology’s holy grail – an imagined future where decentralized Web3 platforms finally eclipse their centralized Web2 predecessors. Although many in the crypto community are committed to this, there is no consensus on how to get there.

Now, however, key players from the Ripple, Algorand and Hedera platforms have joined forces to found the DeRec (Decentralized Recovery) Alliance. This organization intends to promote mass adoption by solving a key Web3 security challenge.

A Safety Net for Crypto Users

The DeRec Alliance launched in January with the goal of developing cross-platform security standards.

It says: “In order for the blockchain/DLT industry to go mainstream, it needs a safety net for users. It must be easy for a layperson to make sure they will never lose their keys, wallets, identities, or passwords.”

This guiding principle is rooted in a fundamental usability problem that has long plagued Web3. Because each blockchain has its own address scheme, there is no simple way to manage credentials across multiple platforms.

To solve this challenge, the DeRec Alliance has drafted a new blockchain-agnostic internet protocol that can be used to recover secrets, such as passwords or keys.

The basic idea is to split each secret up among a set of “helpers”. Each helper securing a share of the recoverable data. Meanwhile, the helper’s share reveals no information about the original secret and users are able to choose their own helpers.

Decentralized Security and Web3 Adoption

Commenting on Ripple’s entry  into the DeRec Alliance last week, Senior Vice President Markus Infanger said the protocol “addresses one of the biggest challenges facing mainstream crypto adoption”.

But is key management really that big of an issue?

Juggling credentials while maintaining good cybersecurity hygiene can certainly be a challenge. Indeed, there are many situations in which a decentralized recovery system would be useful. 

However, the protocol will have the biggest impact on existing crypto users, who are the most likely to struggle with multiple wallets and identities.

Nevertheless, DeRec could be an important piece of a larger infrastructure that helps working across blockchains to become easier. 

Building the Cross-Chain Future

Today, few people can reel off their IP address from memory or explain the intricacies of TCP data packeting. However, together, these two protocols underpin the internet as we know it. All that has happened is that they have faded into the background. 

It was through the adoption of TCP/IP that a group of preexisting networks were first able to work together. This, in turn, created what we now call the World Wide Web.  

In the early days of crypto, blockchain networks lacked an equivalent protocol suite. But efforts are underway to change that.

Solutions like LayerZero, the Internet Computer (ICP) and Chainlink’s Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP) come at the problem from the perspective of data transport. 

But just dozens of additional standards support TCP/IP in the modern web browsing experience, protocols like DeRec can support work between blockchains. 

In the end, mass crypto adoption will only happen when blockchains disappear – when users can plug into decentralized apps without having to worry about the specific format of their assets, identities and information. 

Password management isn’t the biggest hurdle to Web3 adoption. But it is part of the larger problem of fragmentation and user friction that currently holds the technology back.

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