Re: Question on use of base64 vs base64url in modern specifications

I'm not sure I understand when a key would be ephemeral.  In DID use cases,
there are interactions that could be done machine to machine using QR codes
or some other mechanism.  I'm not sure I understand the draw-back of
allowing for an encoding that's human readable even if ti's unlikely to be
used often or ever.  Base58 and Base58-check are well tested encodings that
are fault tolerant and the latter provides error detection.  As was
mentioned in a previous email by Christopher, the future will likely be
bech32 (see bip32 which provides
error correction as well.  However, bech32 is not as well understood as
base58 and there are still bugs being corrected:


On Sun, Apr 26, 2020 at 2:12 PM David Chadwick <>

> On 27/04/2020 06:22, Dmitri Zagidulin wrote:
> >
> >     IMO, saying it's "multicodec / multibase" is about a billion times
> >     better than saying "its base64 / base58".
> >
> >
> > Absolutely agree there. Multicodec and multibase are, I think, a must,
> > in terms of clarity, future-proofing, and so on.
> >
> > I do want to say something about the merits of base58 for all key
> > representations and anything DID-related. Also, I agree with your 3
> > layer approach. Except that to me, 3rd layer is not optional.
> >
> > > Layer 3 represents why i dislike base58... who cares if "I" and "l"
> > look similar...
> >
> > We care. We *all* care, eventually. Because despite all of our best
> > actions to prevent humans from ever dealing with raw key material or
> > DIDs (and we *should* do our best to prevent that, it should always be
> > mediated by convenient software)... there WILL come a point where
> > you're typing in your key or DID or whatever, from backup. You WILL be
> > reading that gobbledygook string to your uncle over the phone. Yes,
> > those cases will be exceedingly rare. But when they do happen, you
> > will be intensely glad that you can tell a lowercase L from an
> > uppercase i.
> But if the key is ephemeral then it wont even be exceedingly rare, it
> will be never. So we dont need human readability for machine-only used
> ephemeral keys
> Kind regards
> David

Received on Sunday, 26 April 2020 19:37:34 UTC