For every Web3 developer building the next world-changing app, there's a marketer or communications professional working alongside them to make sure that the world-changing app not only makes it out into the world but is also understood by the world. Ask any non-technical professional in this field what the most challenging part of their job is and you’ll often hear, “Understanding what the heck has got our developers so excited.”
In this fast moving industry, keeping your knowledge up to date is at a premium & it’s not uncommon to leave a conversation feeling like you knew less than what you thought going in.
To help you understand what the heck your passionate crypto friends are talking about, we're launching this series of short articles to explain common Web3 concepts in simple & clear language.
Today we're tackling privacy in Web3.
When people talk about privacy nowadays, they often confuse it with secrecy, or the act of concealing yourself entirely. In the Web3 space, privacy is understood to be based on informed consent and aided by technological advancements like Verifiable Credentials (VC), Trusted Execution Environments (TEE), crypto wallets, blockchains, and Zero-Knowledge Proofs (ZKP). Each of these relate to a different part of the privacy puzzle (which we’ll get into throughout this series), but the overarching goal is the same - ensuring that the information you share is only available to the person(s) or organization(s) you’ve selected and for the purposes you’ve defined. This philosophy of data privacy and control is known under the name of Self-Sovereign Identity or SSI. It’s a future conception of digital identity & privacy that gives individuals control over the information they use to prove who they are to websites, services, and applications across the web.
In Web1, we had to create a myriad of username & password combos to access our digital worlds. In Web2, we rely on the tech giants to be purveyors of our identity and safeguard our privacy. We use Facebook, Google, Apple (and more) to login into sites and create a more unified digital experience at the cost of giving all the data control to multinational corporations. In Web3, the user regains control of their data & blockchains replace corporations the trusted intermediary. This has a number of important benefits:
Blockchains provide complete transparency of your data when you connect to them, which isn’t always ideal in every circumstance. This means that every time you connect your wallet to a new service or product, your entire transaction history & activity are revealed to said third party. Offline, this can be roughly equivalent to going to the store to buy groceries, and revealing all your banking transactions to the cashier - somewhat of a transparency overkill.
“Privacy allows us to bring our necessary self, rather than needing to bring our whole self to every situation and context.”
Having privacy maintained in Web3 requires implementing certain tools. We believe it is possible and crucial to achieve a programmable, retro-manageable disclosure of private data. The Litentry Protocol creates the infrastructure required for privacy-preserving interactions in Web3 that the ID Hub takes full advantage of. The highly anticipated ID Hub by Litentry will serve as a place to manage, issue, and present different aspects of digital identity. Taken together, our ID Hub will enable you to create to presentations of specific aspects of your digital identity suited for every context; truly unlocking the power of privacy. We imagine a world where we:
These features will allow you live in a world on your terms - rather than being forced to reveal more than necessary. Especially given that we increasingly live in a world where governments and corporations increasingly encroach on our right to privacy, being able to choose how much data is shared is nothing short of a revolution. We hope that we can bring about a fundamental change in how we think about who gets access to our information, how they receive that access, for how long and for what purposes. In short, our ‘identity dashboard’ on the ID Hub will finally allow anyone to make their identity tangible without being seen.
For a deeper dive into our privacy approach, check out our Privacy in Litentry series on Medium.