The Accountless Internet

Enter Ethereum

For the past three years I’ve spent an increasing amount of time using applications built on Ethereum, but it wasn’t until I had to switch password managers that I realized that Ethereum (and Public Key Infrastructure more broadly) enables the accountless internet of my dreams. Throughout my time using Ethereum based apps I never had to log in anywhere. I never had to create a new account for each new app. There’s something magical about how well this works in practice, something much more magical than any email based magic-link could ever be. The most hassle I’d encounter was clicking the ‘Connect Wallet’ whenever I visited a new app, and instead of roaming the web holding on to a massive and ever increasing keychain, I now just had to hold on to a single account’s information, my seed phrase.

Emergent Identity

What do I mean by emergent digital identity, and what does Ethereum’s accountless internet experience have to do with it? Digital Identity has been a hot topic for years, and there’s been enough written about it that you don’t need me to tell you about it or its history. What I will tell you is that its 2021 and there’s still no global digital identity, the dozens of efforts to establish even national digital identity throughout the years have generally failed. I believe that a global digital identity will eventually exist, but it will be an emergent phenomena as opposed to a directed effort to create one, and I believe Ethereum accounts have the best opportunity to be the foundation from which a global digital identity emerges.

The current state of the internet
The future state enabled by the accountless internet

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Jon Kol

Jon Kol

Some dude. Likes to think out loud. Building the modular interoperability layer at @ Hyperlane