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Re: A Decentralized Hashtable for the Web

From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Wed, 04 Nov 2015 00:58:34 -0500
Message-ID: <56399E8A.4010205@digitalbazaar.com>
To: Web Payments CG <public-webpayments@w3.org>
On 11/03/2015 04:47 AM, Asbjørn Ulsberg wrote:
> 2015-11-03 5:33 GMT+01:00 Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>:
> 
>> The current approach for the WebDHT is to loosely couple
>> identifiers and the keys that you can use to prove that those
>> identifiers are yours.
>> 
>> For example, the WebDHT enables you to specify a set of keys or
>> other identifiers that should have write access to the entry in the
>> DHT. This means that even in the event of a key loss, you can
>> recover that identifier by asking people (or services) that you
>> trust to associate a new device/keypair with the identifier.
> 
> I'm sorry if this has been mentioned already, but what you describe 
> sounds a lot like Keybase. How does WebDHT compare to it?
> 
> https://keybase.io/

I love keybase.io. It is quite different from WebDHT. Here are some of
the differences between WebDHT and my understanding of how keybase.io works:

* Keybase is centralized. WebDHT is distributed.
* Keybase is about identities. WebDHT is about identifiers.
* Keybase provides a simple way to look up and trust keys, based on
  known public identities (Twitter, Github, etc.). It's convenient, but
  that convenience comes with a big downside: You have to trust
  keybase.io. The WebDHT is designed to be trustless.
* Your identity on keybase.io is tied to that domain. All lookups
  depend on that domain. So, if Keybase goes away, so does all your
  identity information. The WebDHT doesn't depend on any single company
  to be around forever.

So, where Keybase depends on other social web services to publish and
verify key information, the WebDHT just depends on the public key
information being available in the WebDHT.

You can put other information in the WebDHT entries associated with a
particular decentralized identifier (the data format is very flexible).
So, you could build keybase.io on top of the WebDHT if you wanted to
associate identifiers w/ Twitter accounts or Github accounts. However,
that's just an example of what can be built on top of WebDHT.

Fundamentally, WebDHT is low-level tech that you could use to build a
distributed version of keybase.io. Or you could use the WebDHT to build
an identity/credential ecosystem on top of portable identifiers. Or you
could build truly portable financial payment accounts on top of the WebDHT.

Think of the WebDHT as something that's akin to DNS or HTTP. It's a
protocol that enables you to build many different types of applications
on top of it that have a requirement for decentralized identifiers.

-- manu

-- 
Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: Web Payments: The Architect, the Sage, and the Moral Voice
https://manu.sporny.org/2015/payments-collaboration/
Received on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 05:59:06 UTC

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