[DG-BSC] Blockstack identity services

James Hazard james.g.hazard at gmail.com
Thu Aug 4 09:11:25 CDT 2016

JimW - yes, IAMAL, but that's my understanding.  Merkel is the root.

Patrick - I was unaware of Zittrain's work on this balance of security.  If
you have link ... ?

If banks or other "regulated databases" (phrase from Circle) act as hosts
and intermediaries, the platform could fine-tune the balances between
oversight and privacy.  Parts can be encrypted end to end, so the bank and
others know very little.  Parts could be encrypted on the way to the bank
and then decrypted and recrypted as appropriate.

Of course, any hub could act in this role, and I am not pitching on behalf
of banks.  But, as a lawyer looking to piece together a solution, banks
have the advantages that they are highly regulated, quasi-local, already
custodians of our creepiest data, and numerous (as opposed to telcos and
e-commerce giants which will bump into monopoly issues).  There is a
long-standing relationship (in civil law systems there is even a general
principle of bank secrecy).  It is imperfect, and abused, but their is a
conversation chain of bank and regulator, with legislature, customers,
activists and public.  They are nodes with lots of edges.

A shared record format enables portability and open source would make it
cheap to be a bank - giving the customer leverage and keeping
intermediaries focused on their mission.

I did a sketch of what it might look like to treat (all of) banking as a
file system -
The context is French banks and an effort by "LaBChain" - the French
finance industry's exploration of blockchains.  So I used French examples,
and demonstrate how they could be helpful to enterprise formation and
capitalization by curating legal documentation.  Here the "identities" are
bank accounts, "roles" that are well-anchored in local law.

On Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 9:30 AM, Jim Willeke <jim at willeke.com> wrote:

> All of the technologies we are speaking about are Distributed Database
> or Distributed Ledger Technologies  (DLTs) and more specifically a type of
> Hash Tree or Merkel Tree <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkle_tree>.
> There are many common examples besides the crypto-currencies including
> BitTorrent, GIT, and many NoSQL databases.
> --
> -jim
> Jim Willeke
> On Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 5:50 AM, James Hazard <james.g.hazard at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Hi Patrick,
>> Great message.  My father, who taught and practiced law, said the
>> conversation should start with where you want to be.
>> That seems to me to be more or less the P2P, PDS, MIT Connection Science
>> vision.  Each of us has our formal existence in databases under our
>> control.  Each of our records interoperates with all of our other records.
>> We can store them at trust providers (e.g., banks) like we do with cash,
>> and carry only what we need.  An app, on phones and anywhere else we want
>> it, allows us to transact with anyone - or any thing - else.  To have
>> different accounts for different roles.  To have our information be only in
>> the places that it must be to interact with the network.  This has lots of
>> parallels with email.
>> The rules of engagement - the stuff that good lawyers put into documents
>> for smart clients - is clear, fast, free.  We navigate bureaucracy - and
>> weigh the trade-offs - like we use Waze.
>> In this view, blockchains are a tool for syncing records.  So are IPFS
>> and Interledger, and git, and all of the existing or new payment systems.
>> Blockchains, with their methods for peer-based consensus on the state of
>> the record and their anti-double spend appear useful - necessary - when
>> there is no 3rd party trust provider - or the trust provider can't be
>> reached. The IoT is full of those use cases.
>> This - which just came across my twitter feed - seems quite good at
>> exploring when a blockchain is necessary (though perhaps the thinking does
>> not include the possibility of a multiplicity of blockchains, used like
>> email threads). https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-do-you-need-
>> blockchain-decision-models-sebastien-meunier  (Is the reference to our
>> Bart Suichies?).
>> All this is independent of, but a powerful driving force for, my project
>> and concern, bringing the dynamic of open source collaboration to the
>> negotiation and codification of legal forms.  Codification of boilerplate
>> (@gendal's "prose") indirectly codifies the law, and enables a
>> decentralized Waze approach to bureaucracy.
>> All good, Jim
>> On Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 6:09 AM, Patrick Curry <patrick.curry at bbfa.info>
>> wrote:
>>> Hi James,
>>> Interesting.  Good discussion, thanks.  I offer a few comments.
>>> Block chain refers to a specific, defined technology.  Blockchain is a
>>> trademark.
>>> Do we mean solutions or requirements?  Are the solutions technology
>>> specific or general solutions to a business problem, where a block chain
>>> may feature as part of the solution set?
>>> If we replace Proof of Work with PKI Federation, which is attractive &
>>> desirable in many situations, do we still have a block chain?  My block
>>> chain colleagues believe that we still do, and there is an ongoing
>>> discussion about how PoW might be measured to achieve some sort of LoA that
>>> could map, in policy terms, to PKI and create a basis for for BC - PKI
>>> federation.
>>> The voting process presents several complexities, some of which could be
>>> addressed by an underlying trust fabric.  There hasn’t been much discussion
>>> about this yet, but it will definitely be moving there later this year as
>>> the UK government has just approved its first BC provider to be listed in a
>>> catalogue service available to all UK gov organisations.
>>> A feature of BCs being used in regulated settings is that the regulator
>>> (regulators in many cases, particularly internationally) requires to have a
>>> voting node and so gets to see all traffic.  Regulators haven’t woken up to
>>> this yet, but I am expecting to see them require the development of
>>> rulesets that are embedded in the process in the BC with decision authority
>>> (signature), i.e. a smart contract.   I don’t understand why this would be
>>> a bug. A feature or a factor, yes.
>>> Ref data management, the smart contract is a feature of permissioned
>>> block chains because of how the cryptography works. It’s hard to see how
>>> this functionality could be replicated easily in other existing
>>> technologies.  Instead, what is beginning to happen is that companies link
>>> their ERP etc to the block chain.  The ERP provides the internal business
>>> functionality and logic, the block chain DLT provides the external
>>> interoperability & contract integrity. The smart contract runs on the
>>> chain, not on in the enterprise app.  This satisfies the supply chain
>>> requirements where a centralised enterprise solution would/does not.
>>> Agree about data replication.  Depending on the nature of the business
>>> requirement and use cases, data minimisation is one of the privacy
>>> principles.  Proofs of concept on some Zero Knowledge Proof mechanisms have
>>> been completed and a couple are moving to bigger pilots.  ZKP and other
>>> anonymised attribute assurance mechanisms are attractive and suitable
>>> options for block chain privacy requirements.
>>> Interesting that you mention Zittrain.  His work on trusted
>>> intermediaries has come up in international discussions of lead industries,
>>> law enforcement and govs, as a way to address policy collisions on public
>>> safety and privacy.  The discussions are more about encryption and key
>>> management; block chains haven’t yet been discussed, but they might be.   I
>>> agree about JSON.  I’d be interested in knowing more about your and Eve’s
>>> work in this area.  is there anything you can share?
>>> regards,
>>> Patrick
>>> Patrick Curry
>>> Director
>>> British Business Federation Authority - BBFA Ltd
>>> M: +44 786 024 9074
>>> T:   +44 1980 620606
>>> patrick.curry at bbfa.info
>>> www.bbfa.info – a not-for-profit, self-regulating body
>>> On 3 Aug 2016, at 15:08, James Hazard <james.g.hazard at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Though "Blockchain" is in the title of this discussion group, it need
>>> not be in all of the solutions.  "Blockchains" have large privacy and data
>>> security challenges built into maintaining consensus on the state of the
>>> ledger (database).  Most real life situations have available a range of
>>> alternative means of validating the state of the ledger.  For instance, a
>>> regulator.
>>> So, we might view it as a bug, rather than a feature, if a "smart
>>> contract" solution requires execution on a blockchain.
>>> Organizations and humans will want to be able to efficiently manage
>>> large numbers of ledger entries, in efficient databases (SQL, graph, IPFS),
>>> not blockchains.  They will need to be able to run the smart contracts on
>>> those other platforms.
>>> Data replication should be minimized, and temporary to the extent
>>> possible.  This will, I think, also be required by GDPR.
>>> The necessary point of agreement, the waist of the Zittrain hourglass,
>>> is very small - a format for ledger entries.  CommonAccord asserts (I
>>> assert on its behalf) that the key to this is ... key/values, a way of
>>> resolving references, and inheritance.  For good reasons, JSON is a likely
>>> to be the most common "punctuation" (Eve's word) for exchange of ledger
>>> entries.  Our current rendering engine uses plain text and carriage
>>> returns.  That is the lightest "punctuation" and may be the best for
>>> collaboration on big texts, notably for collaboration among lawyers and
>>> regulators on Github.  It closely parallels the presentation of software
>>> source code.  But this barely matters.  What matters is a common approach
>>> to linking and inheritance.
>>> On Wed, Aug 3, 2016 at 6:53 AM, John Wunderlich <john at wunderlich.ca>
>>> wrote:
>>>> Domenico;
>>>> As soon as the use case makes Alice's role that of a "Citizen" a whole
>>>> raft of non-technical issues arise that should be addressed. How do you
>>>> implement privacy protection into the architecture to avoid abuse by
>>>> authoritarian regimes? If I think of all the cases where I'm asked to
>>>> present government issued ID as proof of identity, and then ask, "Would it
>>>> be a good thing if there was an permanent audit trail available to the
>>>> government (any state agency) of all those interactions?"
>>>> I would restate your problem definition to see if we can design a wide
>>>> identity ecosystem use case for managing citizen identities that enables
>>>> (or better, only works if) citizens control their own identities.
>>>> (PS, see my signature block below, apropos of this issue)
>>>> John Wunderlich,
>>>> Sent frum a mobile device,
>>>> Pleez 4give speling erurz
>>>> "...a world of near-total surveillance and endless record-keeping is
>>>> likely to be one with less liberty, less experimentation, and certainly far
>>>> less joy..." A. Michael Froomkin
>>>> _____________________________
>>>> From: Domenico Catalano <domenico.catalano at oracle.com>
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, August 3, 2016 4:47 AM
>>>> Subject: [DG-BSC] Blockstack identity services
>>>> To: <dg-bsc at kantarainitiative.org>
>>>> Hi all,
>>>> maybe, you already know blockstack id technology for identity services,
>>>> at blockstack.org <https://blockstack.org/docs/how-blockstack-works>
>>>> I think it’s quite useful for investigation and for defining use cases.
>>>> I was wondering whether we can provide a wide identity ecosystem use
>>>> case for managing citizen identities.
>>>> Consider the following high level use case:
>>>> - The Citizen is identified by a Blockchain-ready Registry.
>>>> - The Citizen requests to register with the Registry through a specific
>>>> mobile app, which provides the necessary cryptographic key pairs with which
>>>> the request is signed.
>>>> - The Registry includes the request in the blockchain which is
>>>> distributed among the nodes, as smart contract.
>>>> - The mobile app and the cryptographic keys are now able to provides
>>>> strong authentication mechanisms for citizen online access.
>>>> Citizen Identity can be enriched through the blockchain nodes (special
>>>> nodes) interactions which provide attribute/profile attestation.
>>>> I hope it’s useful for further discussions.
>>>> Thanks
>>>> Domenico
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