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Verifying Identity in Decentralized Ecosystems

Feb 01, 2021

In an anonymous, decentralized online world, how do you prove who you really are? It’s a big challenge, and it’s something that Sergey Nazarov, Co-founder of Chainlink, set out to solve.

In October 2020, Chainlink announced an exciting collaboration with Unstoppable Domains to allow users to verify their identity by linking their decentralized identity (i.e. a blockchain domain name) to their Twitter account.

Identity verification in blockchain ecosystems

A big challenge that companies in the blockchain space face is being able to verify who users are in a decentralized economy. How do you prove who you are in a world built on anonymity?

In Episode 1 of The Unstoppable Podcast, Sergey talks about how we’re making this possible by linking social media profiles and other online identifiers back to a blockchain domain name. This can deliver a whole host of benefits, such as:

  • Allowing users to send cryptocurrency more reliably,
  • Giving organizations the tools to interact more effectively and securely with entities on the decentralized web, and
  • Bringing the two worlds together — a step that will be essential to successfully bring decentralized technology into the mainstream.

How does Chainlink work?

Right now, it’s tough to create smart contracts that pertain to information located off the blockchain. That’s because this requires off-chain data in a format that’s compatible with blockchain.

Chainlink uses something called oracles that act as a middleman, connecting data from off-chain sources to blockchain-based smart contracts. By using decentralized computing to create definitive truth, Chainlink allows users to verify things about the real world — from price data on goods and services to information about the weather.

This ability to accurately confirm events and information located in the off-chain world would otherwise be challenging in a fully decentralized space, and it massively expands what smart contracts can be written about. Smart contracts are no longer limited to data located on blockchains.

Doing this opens up a wide range of possibilities and could shape the future of the decentralized web.

The future for verifying decentralized identities

The ability to accurately verify identity in a decentralized ecosystem could drive a shift toward a more decentralized web.

This would be fairer, more democratic, and less in thrall to powerful centralized entities like Google and Facebook. It’d be easier to verify data, challenge misleading and harmful information, and promote truth and transparency.

In other words, it would be a major step toward the kind of internet we all want to spend time on, and a way to truly realize the original lofty values of the online world.

To find out more about Chainlink, check out their website here, and listen to our interview with Sergey Nazarov on The Unstoppable Podcast. You can also learn more about the collaboration with Unstoppable Domains and what it means here.

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