What Web3 Identity Needs

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TL;DR: To create an open monetary system for the world, we need to guarantee web3 is usable by everyone. This means building an identification experience that’s intuitive, forgiving, and reliable, combining the best of web2 and web3. Our first step is to make it simple for anyone to assert a web3 (ENS) username for free, however there’s extra work to be done.

By Alex Reeve, Group Product Manager, Identity

If you’ve used crypto, you’ve in all probability experienced the nervousness that comes from sending tokens or NFTs to intimidating 42-character addresses like 0x2133a64a3bE8B64827B26B08e166d0b478bd09D3. To make this simpler, we labored with Ethereum Name Service (ENS) to permit users to say “name.cb.id” usernames utilizing Coinbase Wallet’s browser extension.

In order to create an open financial system for the world, we want to be sure that individuals from all walks of life can use web3. Fostering adoption of a human-readable username standard is a key a part of making web3 user-friendly for everybody. With this function, anyone can now declare a free “name.cb.id” web3 username to send and obtain crypto (instead of utilizing 42-character addresses), engage with others, and to use as the inspiration of their web3 identity.

While this is a vital milestone, your username is simply part of your on-line id. There are different identity-related gaps to fill earlier than web3 is usable by billions of people. While web3 has early promise, it’s often unintuitive, and it lacks viable ways of conveying and assessing trust and legitimacy. To fill these gaps, we need to mix the comfort of web2 with the privacy, safety, and management of web3.

When you create an account or sign up to a product, you’re utilizing your identity to gain entry. Identity is how merchandise and platforms represent people, handle access and authorization, and assess trust. Identity has three core elements:

1. Representation: how you’re represented as a consumer (e.g. your username and profile).

2. Access: proving that you’re the owner of stated identification (e.g. signing in) to get entry to the product.

3. Authorization: determining what you’re allowed to entry primarily based on who you might be.

With web3 right now, you’re represented by a pockets tackle or username like nick.eth or nick.cb.id. You entry web3 by using your seed phrase to configure your wallet or get well access to your pockets. Specific tokens or NFTs can authorize you to access exclusive communities, merchandise drops, and more.

Web2 firms have invested heavily in creating intuitive and handy id products. But the cracks in web2 identification are starting to present: the need to manage a quantity of accounts and passwords; having to fend off relentless spam; and the insidious lack of privacy, safety, and management.

Many of us have exchanged privateness, security, and control for convenience. We solely turn into aware of web2’s downsides when we’re impacted by a data breach, organizational overreach, or loss of access. But in today’s world, these events are becoming inevitabilities.

Basic customer needs are the identical for web2 and web3 identification. The difference is how they’re met. Web2 is centralized, offering comfort and suppleness at the worth of privateness, security, and management. Web3 is trustless and decentralized, but it has usability gaps. For web3 to thrive, we have to mix the most effective of each (flexibility and usability without sacrificing privacy, security or control) and create an experience that’s:

  • Intuitive. It must be simple for every user to transact and have interaction with others by way of human-readable usernames rather than intimidating 42-character addresses.
  • Forgiving. Every user wants safety, and they want a approach to get well access with out being reliant on safely storing a delicate restoration phrase — where a single mistake can value someone their livelihood.
  • Trustworthy. People want to have the ability to perceive whether or not the person or app they’re interacting with is trustworthy, and apps and other people want tools to demonstrate trust to others.

Web3 has the opportunity to address lots of web2’s flaws. With crypto, you management the keys to your identity and your security is in your personal hands. But let’s be practical: web3 as it exists at present is intimidating. So what do we, the web3 community, must build to make the advantages of web3 obtainable to everyone?

An id for the consumer.

We must make it straightforward to outline and manage moveable, interoperable, human-readable usernames that sit on rich, customizable public identities starting from nameless to totally public. Users should have the power to preserve a number of identities for different contexts (e.g. one for work and one for gaming).

Tools to assist everyone keep secure and really feel secure.

Today, web3 violates one of many cardinal laws of safety in that our identities are weak to a single level of failure: the recovery phrase. A compromised app, device, or a social engineering attack can result in id theft. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is the quintessential web2 example, and web3 will need an equal resolution that can protect every person.

Recovery for when something goes incorrect.

We’ve all forgotten a password at some point, and we shouldn’t expect recovery phrases to be any different. We can’t scale an ecosystem where dropping a restoration phrase can value someone access to their livelihood — customers want methods of regaining entry. Products like social recovery or the multi-party computation (MPC) know-how that powers Coinbase’s dapp wallet are creating more forgiving experiences that may enable broader web3 adoption.

Signals for belief and legitimacy.

Passports solely work because governments attest to their legitimacy. The utility of web3 identification may also rely on trusted parties attesting to the legitimacy of an identification. Users will want ways of amassing, managing, and communicating “attestations” that validate their credentials and legitimacy. Applications will want ways of both issuing and verifying the legitimacy of a user’s id and credentials.

Interoperability across web2 and web3.

Over time, the ideas of “web2” and “web3” will blur and users who are later on the adoption curve won’t see a clear distinction between the 2. They will count on to have the power to seamlessly entry each “web2” and “web3” from a single identity and set of credentials, and we have to allow that experience. Similarly, we have to provide customers with a chain-agnostic id that they will use across all of web3.

Building a strong web3 identity layer will require deep focus from sturdy teams that may build and iterate quickly. This will typically mean constructing and refining locally earlier than scaling globally (and in a decentralized way). Coinbase and organizations like us must embrace this long-term vision from the beginning: open source, open standards, and shut collaboration with the broader web3 ecosystem.

Most importantly, we can’t lose sight of the core promise of web3 identity. We need to build in a method that prioritizes privateness, safety, and management for the user whereas being intuitive, forgiving, and reliable.

We’ve began this journey with organizations like ENS and Verite to allow a free web3 identity (cb.id) for everybody, and we’ll continue increasing our identity choices. Watch this space: this is only the start of an thrilling new chapter for id and web3 for Coinbase and for the web3 community at large.

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