Decentralised identity is the Sign In With Google equivalent for the physical world, except you are in control of your data.

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Dilbert Strip for October 2010

We are all used to registering or authenticating using our Facebook/Google/Apple accounts. These have become so ubiquitous its hard for a developer to imagine building a user registration flow today without these options. The benefits of these are twofold — convenience (no need to fill forms) and security (trusting FB/Google rather than an unfamiliar product). The user is spared the hassle of remembering yet another account and the developer can skip building a standalone user authentication system.

Now how can we build such a system for handling our most important documents, like driver’s license or passport. The ideal system would let a service verify our identity without giving it any access and lets the user remain in complete control of their data, enter Decentralised Identity. …

A short guide on how to prepare yourself for a career in blockchain

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Courtesy — Dilbert Comics

This article is inspired by a recent webinar I conducted on Career Paths in Blockchain. I was pleasantly surprised to receive many queries after the webinar, and this is my attempt to answer most of them from a beginner’s perspective.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list/method, just my observations, and experience from the past few years in this space. The software industry in general values skills more than credentials and as such, there is very less gatekeeping, if you are talented, nothing can stop you.

Blockchain is one of the most in-demand skills right now , but if you are looking to get started in Blockchain only because of this — don’t. The most valued job will change every few years, making a career choice on this metric alone is not a wise decision. …

Why and what is asset tokenization?

The word itself is self-explanatory, the idea is to create a digital twin of assets like cars, properties, bond certificates, etc. and to break up these to a number of tokens. Kind of like how the stock market functions, but instead of breaking up corporations, we are dealing with physical assets. A person who owns one of these tokens, in turn, becomes the owner of a part of the physical asset.

The concept of asset tokenization is particularly important in today’s sharing economy — we rent out homes on Airbnb and can earn money using our cars on Uber. …

I got a chance to attend the Mozilla Festival 2018 and it was a great learning experience.

About MozFest

Mozilla Festival or MozFest, brings together coders, journalists, teachers, hackers — anyone and everyone working towards a healthier internet. This year’s MozFest was held in London at Ravensbourne University from 26th October to 28th October with the theme of “Your Data & You”.

We had applied to Mozfest in early August to facilitate a session under the ‘Decentralization’ space. Our session was titled ‘Decentralised Publishing’ and it focused on suggestions to improve the current model of publishing and reporting.

Focusing on the core idea of an open internet, we envisioned a system where publishing is completely decentralised and anonymous. One where there was no central point of attack and the author cannot be traced. This would help journalists and whistle-blowers to safely and swiftly disseminate reports. …

Everyone has a hero. But the closer you look, their heroism and lustre fades away to reveal an individual who had to make false promises and cut corners to achieve the heroic feat.

There is this person you admired and considered your role model. You want to emulate their lifestyle and achieve what they achieved, at-least try to, in your own modest way.

So you set out to study their life, the hardships they faced and the challenges they overcame, and chances are you won’t like everything that you find. As you learn more about their life, through podcasts or books, their life tends to lose some lustre. They are no longer the hero you envisioned them to be. They had to cut corners and often do a shady thing or two to get where they are today. …

Blockchain technology thrives on transparency and immutability, both of which seem directly opposite to user data privacy.

Its 2018 and the two buzzwords you must have heard by now is Blockchain technology and GDPR. Blockchain constructs an immutable ledger of data that can be viewed and verified by anyone. The data on Blockchain is intended to stay forever, by design any change in already written data corrupts the ledger and invalidates the entire chain. GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation is a regulation in EU law that guarantees user’s some basic rights regarding their personal data stored online. You can view the complete official GDPR document here. …

Blockchain technology has come a long way since Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin white-paper. People have since realised the potential of this technology and have found use cases for blockchain in so many different fields. Although not all are feasible, the one area that blockchain technology will surely disrupt is the financial services industry.

Even without the use of blockchain, payment services like WeChat and Alipay in China are disrupting the financial service model. The young Chinese are now less reliant on banks for payments and financial services, and the banks around the world have started to take note.

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Financial institutions have started paying attention to Blockchain. They do not want to be caught of guard by a new wave of payment systems. Illustration by thebankey

Since the birth of blockchain was to power a decentralised currency system, people soon began exploring the potential of Blockchain in the banking and financial services industry. A lot of blockchain platforms have been developed each trying to accomplish a different mission. But banks and other financial institutions do not want the entire blockchain package. They need the immutability and consistency but only need to share the data to those involved in a transaction unlike blockchain that exposes a transaction to all the members in the chain. …

Globalisation and cross-border trade is one of the greatest achievements of mankind. We can now expect a product to be delivered to our doorstep from anywhere in the world in fifteen days. However international trade has a lot of barriers which slows down the process and increases unnecessary cost. One major issue is the handling of documents which is subject to fraud, human error, and delay which leads to mishandling shipping and unnecessary costs inherited. Documentation is numerous and plenty in an international business transaction.

Technology has transformed almost every industry, better and efficient technology can save time and money for every business. With the advent of blockchain technology, its time to revisit the process of cross-border trade. Before explaining how blockchain can optimise cross border trade, here is a quick summary on how blockchain works. …

I’m a Blockchain Engineer, which means I develop blockchain based software for a living. But like all others working in this field, I cannot emphasis enough about the over-hype surrounding blockchain right now. It is being touted as the solution to all world problems including the refugee crisis. Blockchain is NOT a magic solution to all of humanity’s problems.

Blockchain technology works in some cases and is utterly useless in some others.

Many people (and entire companies) use the word blockchain to imply some magical solution that ensures their data will never be wrong and that all stakeholders can conduct smooth transactions. …


Stanly Johnson

I write about blockchain and tech.

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