Re: [foaf-dev] Credentials Community Group

On 08/02/2014 04:26 PM, Anders Rundgren wrote:
> AWWW is great but the competition in the form of centralized 
> super-providers can offer
> * Convenience

Out of your list, this is really the only value-add that a centralized
super-provider can provide. However, this is true for any super-provider
technology that competes with AWWW. I don't see a new argument here,
it's the same one that's been used to argue against the Web since its

The other three items either are 1) already being built into the web
platform as we speak, or 2) unnecessary for any of this stuff to become
a success.

* Trusted UI - unnecessary
* Strong user authentication - WebCrypto, U2F
* Secure key storage - U2F

Your argument isn't lost on me, though. Yes, these super-providers are
among the most powerful organizations in the world, yes they have a lot
of money, yes they have armies of engineers. That said, for some reason,
they keep picking to deploy their products on the Web and continue to
contribute to the Web's core architecture. These large organizations
also re-use good Web technologies if it suits their purposes.

To give you a concrete example, there was no large organization backing
JSON-LD. Almost the entirety of the technical work and standardization
of that technology was done by volunteers (and Digital Bazaar's paid
engineers). We sunk several hundred thousand dollars of our own money
into the standard (a fantastic ROI, considering the uptake of JSON-LD).

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Yandex are among the companies that now
use JSON-LD. They use it because it solved a problem for them in an
elegant way. The same could be true for the Web Payments work as well as
the Credentials work. Time will tell, but we've done this before against
worse odds.

Success depends primarily on making sure the right incentives are in
place for the big players:

> Can a comparatively crippled decentralized web platform without any 
> visible big-vendor support really make a change?

What Kingsley said. The Web platform has done just fine w/o big backers
kicking off new projects. The big-vendor support typically doesn't come
in the beginning, it comes at the end, after the technology is almost
fully baked. I know of a very large number of Web technologies that were
created by individuals or small companies, only later to be picked up by
the technology giants. The giants help the stuff scale, and they do so
out of self-interest. This stuff almost always starts out as a small
initiative run by a few people.

As for no visible big-vendor support... have you looked at the
participants in the Web Payments Workshop? There are numerous
big-vendors in that list... and some of them have already committed
engineers toward whatever future work we may do:

I can tell you one thing for certain. No other spec work that I've been
involved in has ever had the sort of support we have going into the Web
Payments and Credentials work. Unfortunately, I can't talk about the big
companies that are committing engineers yet, but you'll see who they are
in time.

In summary, new Web technology doesn't need a big backer during its
development to be successful. The vast majority of successful
technologies didn't have that sort of support. That said, the Web
Payments and Credential work do have big backers already, and who they
are will become clear after the "official" work begins at the end of

The big question to you is, what's the alternative?

-- manu

Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: The Marathonic Dawn of Web Payments

Received on Sunday, 3 August 2014 01:25:30 UTC