Coinbase Gets More Serious About Decentralized Identity Solutions With Acquisition of Startup Distributed Systems

Siamak Masnavi

On Wednesday (15 August 2018), Coinbase announced that it had acquired a small San Francisco-based startup called Distributed Systems, with the startup's five employees joining Coinbase's Identity team. 

The CEO of Distributed Systems, Nikhil Srinivasan, took to Twitter on 25 June 2018 to explain through a series of tweets what his startup was working on:

This is how Alex Kern, the CTO of Distributed Systems announced on Twitter the news about the acquisition by Coinbase:

On his post on the Coinbase blog, B Byrne, the product manager for Coinbase Identity, used the following example to explain the motivation for decentralized online identity solutions:

"Think about how this applies to something like a Social Security number. Every time you want to prove who you are with your SSN, you need to give away a copy of it. That copy has exactly the same power as the original, so when there’s a data breach with copies of your data it puts your identity at risk. A decentralized identity will let you prove that you own an identity, or that you have a relationship with the Social Security Administration, without making a copy of that identity. If you stretch your imagination a little further, you can imagine this applying to your photos, social media posts, and maybe one day your passport too."

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He then explained that Coinbase was going to explore how and where this technology should be used:

"Blockchain technology that powers cryptocurrencies offers a new way to let us all be “verified” everywhere we go on the internet, feeling safer about our interactions with others and opening the door to the experiences that require trust. We’ll need to be deliberate about how and where we apply this technology. We’re going to have new questions to answer about anonymity, privacy, and how permanent the different pieces of our identity should be. But ultimately, decentralizing online identities will transform our relationship with technology."

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Featured Image Credit: Image via Coinbase

Basic Attention Token Will Be Listed on Crypto Exchange Gemini Later This Month

Digital asset exchange Gemini, which was founded in 2014 by the famous Winklevoss twins, announced on Monday (April 6) that it will soon be adding support for the trading of Basic Attention Token (BAT).

In a blog post published earlier today, Gemini said it will be allowing of BAT deposits into Gemini accounts starting at 09:30 Easter Time (or 13:30 UTC) on 24 April 2020, and mentioned that trading would "follow soon thereafter."

Here is how Gemini describes BAT:

"Basic Attention Token is the native currency token of the Brave Browser, which is built to provide a more efficient and effective mechanism for connecting and rewarding users, advertisers, and publishers.

"Brave blocks unsolicited ads and tracking by default and rewards users with BAT payments when they opt-in to view ads.

"Users can then directly or indirectly contribute BAT to the sites they visit while enjoying a faster, more secure browsing experience, all of which is accomplished without revealing a user’s browsing history or preferences.

"Brave and BAT were created by Brendan Eich, who developed the Javascript programming language and also is a co-founder of Mozilla."

This is the first time that Gemini is adding support for a new digital asset since December 2018 (when it listed Bitcoin Cash), and this move by Gemini will bring the total number of cryptoassets it supports to six (the others are Btcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Zcash).

Gemini pointed out that "BAT deposits to existing Gemini Ethereum addresses are not supported", and that instead, in order to deposit BAT, "you must first create a new Ethereum deposit address by logging into Gemini and going to the Transfer page."