Margarita Khartanovic of Binary District took to the Hard Fork stage at TNW2019 this morning to talk with Charles Hamel, Opera’s crypto product lead, and Aron Fischer, product developer for Ethereum. The topic of conversation? Realistic use cases for dapps (decentralized applications).
According to Hamel, the next big dapp use case isn’t even financial, it will be identity-based.
Both Hamel and Fischer agreed the industry has a long way to go before we start seeing people regularly share their identity with websites via the blockchain. Indeed, it won’t happen overnight, but what they both referred to as “self-sovereign identity” could be blockchain’s killer dapp.
But there are challenges to overcome.
Opera has already integrated a cryptocurrency wallet in the latest version of its web-browser, and is teeing itself up to further integrate blockchain functions as time goes on. Hamel said identity systems are certainly on the horizon for future versions of Opera.
Before people will realistically start using blockchain-supported web 3 systems, like identity management, the systems need to be simplified – a lot. Fischer said that by the time people are using blockchain regularly, they won’t even know that’s what they’re using. That’s what developers need to strive for when designing blockchain applications, he continued.
What’s more, blockchain won’t be the be all and end all of these systems. Rather, it will be just one component of broader systems that use conventional technologies like TCP/IP protocols, HTTP protocols, and so on.
For Hamel, the dream is to let people control and own their identity online. He’s working at Opera to try to bring this to reality. Indeed, if the web-browser is successful Hamel says that one day we will be able to log in to websites and services without revealing our full identity.
It’s the very essence of the cypherpunk manifesto. The “selective reveal” of one’s identity.