W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-interledger@w3.org > February 2016

Re: Registry Services [via Interledger Payments Community Group]

From: Stefan Thomas <stefan@ripple.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:21:51 -0800
Message-ID: <CAFpK0Q1i7SVR4cgQemvUfBBFg4ykgH_mgjhWFhmbhHTHaF+T9Q@mail.gmail.com>
To: Interledger Community Group <public-interledger@w3.org>
Here are my two cents on the identifier issue:

Right now in the ILP prototype, destinations are expressed as URIs. From
OpenID we know that exposing the user to URIs as identifiers was a terrible
user experience that users strongly reject.

At Ripple we used to have identifiers like
this: rHb9CJAWyB4rj91VRWn96DkukG4bwdtyTh and we introduced Ripple names
which look like this: ~bob (pronounced "ripple Bob")

This might look reminiscent of Twitter usernames (@bob) or Square cashtags
($bob), which is no coincidence - the colleague <https://angel.co/gregkidd>
who strongly advocated for these names at Ripple was also a first round
investor in Twitter and an advisor at Square.

The lesson I took away from that whole experience was that creating a
namespace like that without a central operator is hard. Namecoin is trying
to do it, we were trying to do it, I'm strongly against making either
effort a dependency of Interledger.

That leaves the "next best thing" which is federated identifiers.
[username]@[domain.com] Email uses them, OpenID Connect adopted them in
their OpenID Connect Discovery spec
<https://openid.net/specs/openid-connect-discovery-1_0.html>. Ripple used
them as a hack <https://wiki.ripple.com/Federation_protocol> while we were
working on Ripple names. They were extremely easy to build, developers had
an easy enough time adopting them, they are the most decentralized thing
that is actually production-ready and users have an ok time using them.

Identity is very hard and I applaud anyone who is working to create better
solutions. But I've learned not to make a new identity protocol a
dependency of your new payments protocol.

For any peer-to-peer payment solution on top of Interledger *today* that
requires an identifier, I would recommend an [account]@[ledger domain]
looking thing, e.g. bob@superpay.com which resolves to an ILP URI via
webfinger. With any luck the scheme will get popular enough such that email
providers let you set a wallet provider and your actual bob@gmail.com email
address will redirect to your wallet. I'm fully aware of the awesome work
that Manu Sporny, Mozilla (Persona) and many others have been doing on a
scheme that doesn't require cooperation from the domain holder (Gmail in
this case), but I don't think those efforts are production-ready today. The
same goes for decentralized identity networks like Namecoin and identi.fi.

If you disagree, you don't have to convince me or anyone else, you just
have to build a prototype of a protocol on top of ILP using whatever
identifier you think is better. Once we have both options implemented,
it'll be easier to decide which one we like.

On Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 3:48 AM, W3C Community Development Team <
team-community-process@w3.org> wrote:

> Hello,
> Are there discussions around registry services ? I assume to handle
> transactions
> across ledger, one needs to identify the addresses and the ledgers. To
> interface
> with existing ledgers, we would need account number, servicing bank
> identifier
> ...
> Thanks,
> Stephane
> ----------
> This post sent on Interledger Payments Community Group
> 'Registry Services'
> https://www.w3.org/community/interledger/2016/02/10/registry-services/
> Learn more about the Interledger Payments Community Group:
> https://www.w3.org/community/interledger
Received on Thursday, 11 February 2016 02:22:46 UTC

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