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Thoughts on Discovery

From: Adrian Hope-Bailie <adrian@hopebailie.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2016 11:58:59 +0100
Message-ID: <CA+eFz_Jye4jmN7dVnRX8W+2hhA3AnE_LXX7_TGCPMYB2ky12bg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Interledger Community Group <public-interledger@w3.org>
There have been some good discussions around the correct technology for the
discovery of a receiving account (ledger).

The current proposal is to to use WebFinger (
https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc7033) which is the basis for discovery in a
variety of web based protocols such as OpenID Connect.

There has been a proposal to use JSON-LD however it is unclear at this
stage how this would be done as JSON-LD is not a protocol, it is a data
format for linked data.

There have also been suggestions to explore other existing lower level
discovery protocols such as DDDS based on DNS.

I've been having this debate for about 10 years in various groups related
to payments, identity and other more obscure use cases. The reality is that
there is no one discovery protocol appropriate for all use cases.

In an ideal world there would be an entirely decentralised registry (noting
that DNS is not) that could be used as the primary source of truth for
resolving a human readable identifier into something that can be used by a
machine to accomplish some specific goal.

I don't believe it's the goal of this group to solve this problem but if we
feel the current proposal of Webfinger is inappropriate for resolving an
account@ledger identifer into a ledger address then let's find a a better

But, before we get into a religious debate about the choice of technology
I'd suggest we agree on what the requirements and design goals are for this
discovery protocol.

This discovery protocol is intended to be simple and form part of a basic
application layer payments protocol we're developing called OWPS which also
has a stated design goal of being simple and addressing only a select set
of use cases.

As I have stated in a separate thread, nothing prevents us from taking the
plunge and trying to develop a far richer application layer protocol that
incorporates more complex systems of discovery.

Finally, if there are alternative proposals to WebFinger please let's see
them in action. All of the Interledger code is being developed in the open
so it should be possible to fork the project you're interested in and
implementing an alternative proposal for everyone to review.
Received on Monday, 28 March 2016 10:59:27 UTC

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