W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-credentials@w3.org > April 2018

Re: "Decentralized Identifiers": Bitcoin Cargo-Culture and Land Grabbing for the Top Level Names

From: Steven Rowat <steven_rowat@sunshine.net>
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2018 09:21:16 -0700
To: "Jordan, John CITZ:EX" <John.Jordan@gov.bc.ca>, "public-credentials@w3.org" <public-credentials@w3.org>
Cc: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Message-ID: <81b54665-cfae-a3ac-adf0-1206e5a3c9c7@sunshine.net>
On 2018-04-09 9:02 AM, Jordan, John CITZ:EX wrote:
>For example, government
> (which I work for), underpins the economy by being the source of
> truth for identity (both persons and legal entities) and setting
> the ground rules (e.g. laws) for economic activity. Our incentives
> are quite different and not a source of revenue but an enabling
> prerequisite to a functioning economy. I would encourage the
> community to think broadly about this and recognize that we need to
> keep working at creating conditions which encourage the full
> participation of government in the establishment of digital trust
> for people and legal entities which, in my personal opinion, is
> strongly needed.

This is a wonderful ideal, that government is a source of truth and 
laws in a way that will encourage the "establishment of digital 
trust". Since you work in government, I'm happy that you're committed 
to it. But IMO it's a big stretch to assume that government is 
generally functioning like that in our world. There are many people of 
all ages and types, including academics who have studied it, who 
present evidence that there is something fundamentally mismatched 
between that ideal and the current situation.

They describe a revolving door between upper levels of corporate 
executives and upper levels of regulatory government; food and 
pharmaceuticals are egregious examples. There are also vast arrays of 
lobbyists and campaign contributions supported by the corporate rich 
or by those who are independently wealthy. And so the laws enacted by 
governments, in these and other areas, are fundamentally guided by 
monied needs in ways that are destructive of general human health and 
happiness. Corruption of this and other kinds is creeping to the 
highest levels (Trump, Putin, and others). Fixing this political 
problem has become an emergency.

Government will surely still be necessary in a DID/blockchain identity 
based world, but guiding how the DID system is implemented to suit all 
the current practices of government, many of which are unethical and 
deceptive, might be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I'm more hopeful that some of the things that are wrong with 
government might be able to be corrected by DIDs, rather than the 
effect going in the other direction.


> John
> ´╗┐On 2018-04-09, 6:02 AM, "Manu Sporny" <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
> wrote:
> On 04/09/2018 03:56 AM, Dennis Yurkevich wrote:
>> What are the economic incentives for implementers to store DIDs 
>> forever?
> Fundamentally, nothing is free and these decentralized systems
> need money to operate. In every one of these systems, nodes are
> compensated for participating in the network on an ongoing basis.
> Fundamentally, if you run a node, money goes into your bank
> account. That's the economic incentive.
>> What stops method implementers not creating centralised and non
>> SSI systems?
> Nothing can stop that. The only thing the standards provide for is
> that if such a system were to be built, it will be technically
> interoperable with the larger system (but would lack some of the
> decentralized characteristics that those of us in this community
> would like to see). Market forces may doom such a centralized DID
> Method, but that happens in the future... which is hard to predict.
> :)
> -- manu
> -- Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu
> Sporny) Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc. blog: Veres One
> Decentralized Identifier Blockchain Launches 
> https://tinyurl.com/veres-one-launches
Received on Tuesday, 10 April 2018 16:21:30 UTC

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