Cointelegraph has reported recently on a number of recent efforts to link identification to the blockchain.
Bitnation, for instance, is a borderless, decentralized, voluntary type of blockchain-based governance that completely disregards nation of birth. In another case, a hacker named Christopher Ellis developed his “world passport” that uses a Bitcoin-like blockchain to identify people.
The project began in March of 2014 by offering a social solution for Bitcoin addresses and immediately experienced widespread use in its own community.
The announcement on Wednesday, however, included the following additions to the original project:
- open-sourcing a bunch more software to make it easy for developers to work with the OpenName protocol & directory
- extending the OpenName protocol to support decentralized authentication
Instead of simply offering a domain name system, OpenName is actually planning to offer and entire suite of tools for establishing an online, decentralized identity. The support for this project is impressive as well. Investors include Barry Silbert of SecondMarket, Naval Ravikant CEO and co-founder of AngelList ,and the investment firm SV Angel.
The company also revealed that they had already closed one seed round of funding that had been backed by Union Square Ventures.
But despite the funding success, the company emphasized that it is not about the money. Core developers Ryan Shea and Muneeb Ali explained in an interview:
“We feel like a lot of our investors are really true believers in creating open-source communities and a large developer platform where everyone can contribute. We don’t feel like funding itself is an achievement. It’s really about what you’re working on.”
The announcement of both the funding and the project itself was an attempt to let the community know that they had the support that they needed to complete the job, once begun. The job of convincing developers to support the system by actually using it on top of the namecoin protocol will not be an easy one.
OneName’s newest effort is an attempt to define the difference between the social networks that the program is trying to one up, such as Google Plus and Facebook.
The tools offered by this project essentially allow users to search a directory of profiles and then display them on their website. This means that users can register themselves without actually registering with OneName but still be indexed and their information will still be on the blockchain.
The second part of the project, OpenName Auth, provides a password-less authentication system for developers who do not necessarily want to deal with third party providers.
But OneName is not, at least for the time being, focused on providing any documentation for proving citizenship. Instead, the company wants it to be more broadly applicable, focusing on application login.
A similar project Windhover Principles, recently saw more than twenty companies operating in the digital currency industry pledge support to develop an identity solution that would be compliant with FinCEN’s Know-Your-Customer (KYC) compliance regulations. This, however, seems not to be the focus of OneName. Ali said about this:
“We are looking at it more as probabilistic identity, you connect a bunch of online presences, your Github or your Twitter, and it gives you a sense with a high probability that it is this person, but it’s not really verified by a government by a Social Security number.”
But it is not yet clear how far OneName will go with this particular project. Core developers see an enormous potential and imagine that it could eventually be extended to include KYC identity challenges.
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