Hackernoon logoEthereum’s Biggest Need In 2018: Interview with Fabian Vogelsteller by@zinc_ship

Ethereum’s Biggest Need In 2018: Interview with Fabian Vogelsteller

Luke Shipley Hacker Noon profile picture

@zinc_shipLuke Shipley


In a poll by the founder of the Aragon project (Luis Ivan Cuende), Identity was voted the most important need for Ethereum…


If the need is so great then what are we doing about it? Ethereum’s Lead dApp developer is on the case. Fabian Vogelsteller who created the Mist Browser and pioneered ERC20 + Web3.js has created identity standards - ERC725&35.

There are lots of projects working on identity solutions for Ethereum and Blockchains in general. Some consider idnetity to be one of the holy grails. Fabian is trying to tie these together with ERC standards to, well, standardise the solutions and help bring silo’d projects together.

I first heard about ERC725 & 35 when Fabian unveiled the standard at the London Ethereum meetup in September 2017 (slides). This helped crystallise some ideas for the R_Block team about the longer term vision for R_Block’s network. R_Block collects work experience data and allows workers to own it in a decentralised network. Workers have the last CV they’ll ever need and full control over when and who accesses their work history proof. The presentation helped R_Block realise what they were creating for workers was a unique work digital footprint. This is a powerful identity proof that very few other identity documents can provide. Information about the credibility of someone’s character in their work life.

R_Block even changed their mission statement last year to incorporate the standard…

“To transform R_Block into the world’s first careers ledger & anonymous hiring ecosystem. Establishing Workers as the rightful owner & controller of their careers data. To become the industry standard for proof of employment history & performance across careers and beyond. Utilising Web 3.0 to create a proof of credibility identity claim compatible with ERC725 (16).”

The standard maybe little known by the mainstream crypto enthusiasts especially since the standard hasn’t been formailed yet. But the Ethereum Developer community has responded in force with a mammoth string of suggestions and positive feedback on the ERC repo: https://github.com/ethereum/EIPs/issues/725.

The standard is very important our project R_Block and so we asked Fabian if he would make a digital guest appearance on our blog for an interview. He kindly accepted…

1. What do you think the timeline for the standard will be to be formalised & get an EIP?

The important part is that people deploy it and experiment. There is not formalisation deadline, same as the ERC 20 was around for 2 years und widely used before we standardised it. The same will happen here. Only experimentation will show what works and what doesn’t and slight changes need to be made along the way.

2. What industries/apps/use cases do you think will be the first to crystalise these ERC standards?

Attaching Formal verification proofs would be a great use case for ERC 735. For ERC 725 i would like to see not so serious use cases first, like gamer identities, or social network claims, before we start to ask institutions to attach claims officially.

3. We think that in Web3.0 everybody will have the option to own their data digitally. How do you envisage people will manage their identity in Web3.0?

There will be many claim data storages, which also is a great opportunity for businesses. Other data will be held with the claim issuer itself. And some will be stored on decentralised data storages like Swarm or IPFS, encrypted or open. Obviously this data access needs to be standardised too, but this is not part of ERC 725. Some data could also be in zero knowledge proof containers, where the container will validate certain inputs without revealing the contained data itself.

4. We envisage identity wallets in which users can secure their claims. Such as their R_Block profile with work/careers data. What types of general purpose tooling are we expecting people to build that will need to work?

Good identity interfaces and little signer apps, which allow to proof actions in the real (or online) world, like web logins etc. We also need good and secure data containers, and a access systems based on a identity owners allowance. And obviously many more hardware devices, which make working with private keys a breeze.

R_Block as an identity proof with lower level security concerns than things like passports or birth certificates might be one of the better first use cases. This is an important part of our roadmap in 2018.

Fabian said about R_Block… “The idea sounds good, but I am not fully convinced by the website design :)”. Thankfully the Web Designer has recently been demoted to writing blogs.


Luke Shipley

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