Google, Apple and Facebook move aside — Ethereum will offer users control over their data with a new sign-in method

Google, Apple and Facebook move aside — Ethereum will offer users control over their data with a new sign-in method
Representative imagePixabay
  • The Ethereum Foundation and Ethereum Name Service are looking to offer users an alternative to Google, Apple and Facebook as a common sign-in method across the web.
  • Two of the most important bodies backing the development of the Ethereum ecosystem have shortlisted Spruce Software to build the new ‘decentralised’ system.
  • Systems that use Ethereum wallets for identification aren’t unknown and are used on NFT platforms often.
Trusting tech giants Google and Facebook with personal information has become risky business with cases of user data being left vulnerable increasing with time — the most glaring example being the Cambridge Analytica scandal. However, doing without them is not an option for most people in their day-to-day lives.

As an alternative, the Ethereum Foundation (EF) and the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) — two of the most important bodies fueling the development of the Ethereum blockchain — are looking to develop a ‘decentralised’ solution. Rather than using Google, Facebook or Apple accounts to sign into other services, they want to offer a ‘sign in with Ethereum’ alternative.

The Ethereum ecosystem already has tens of millions of monthly active wallet users signing with their cryptographic keys for financial transactions, community governance, and more.

Statement by Spruce

Simply put, giving information to tech giants and then using those same accounts for other apps is ‘centralised’. While it allows users to avoid passwords and provides a level of security, it also hands over data on their Internet activity to these firms. Ethereum, on the other hand, does not. It isn’t controlled by a for-profit organization, meaning there’s no one to profit from your data, at least on paper.

The foundation had put forth a request for proposals for creating a ‘sign-in with Ethereum’ system recently and a proposal from identity software firm Spruce has come out as the winning idea.

The security of these [Ethereum] wallets has been proven across billions of dollars of digital assets at stake — not theoretical security, but real tests in production. These secure wallets can also be used to sign in to Web2 services.

Statement by Spruce


How will ‘sign with Ethereum’ work?

According to Spruce’s announcement, the company will work with ENS and EF closely to ensure that signing in with Ethereum is compatible with current standards in the industry. “We will be working closely with the teams at EF and ENS, ensuring that development will happen in the open, ample consideration is given to existing bodies of related work (existing implementations, EIPs, OpenID, IETF, W3C, etc.), and that the final result will be friendly to implementers while remaining vendor-neutral,” the company said.

To be clear, Spruce isn’t really starting from scratch. The company noted that services like OpenSea and Gitcoin already allow users to sign in with their Ethereum wallets instead of using other accounts. The company’s system will look to ‘standardize’ this system across the web.

The company is also inviting the Ethereum community to join in on the discussions around this system. It has created a server on chat platform Discord and will be taking feedback using the same.

The system also brings one of the core benefits of blockchains and Web 3.0 applications to the internet — that of building decentralized systems across the web. By using an Ethereum wallet to confirm one’s identity, the system theoretically takes away that power from a government or large organization, which has been a central promise of public blockchain systems from day one.

For a more in-depth discussion, come on over to Business Insider Cryptosphere — a forum where users can deep dive into all things crypto, engage in interesting discussions and stay ahead of the curve.

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