Ah! You’ve struck on one of my favourite areas of the SAFE Network, Identities and ecommerce. The plans and possibilities are really exciting… buckle in, and I’ll give you my take.
The first thing to note is that a user of the Network only ever needs one ‘Account’ (aka login). That means just one set of credentials to remember—a password and passphrase. Then within this account, they can create as many identities, or SafeIDs, as they need. We know people wear different hats in life, personal, professional, family, hobbies, temporary. All of these different identities can be accommodated and separate, but still allow all the data to be readily accessible, and organised.
When using identities on the network, there are four main modes of operation:
This is a way of using your regular IRL identity on the network, so you are discoverable by friends, or readily identified professionally, for example.
SafeIDs allow this via a unique handle, such as @JimCollinson, plus a
Name which need not be unique, plus a fully customisable profile.
The ability to create new SafeIDs whenever you wan, allows you to use the Network pseudonymously. This could be through persistent a pseudonym, or through throw away ones. So if you want to separate our different parts of your life, or have different identities when using different apps or sites, we’ve made that very straightforward.
These identities are not linked to your ‘Account’ or to other identities in way that is readily discoverable by other users or apps, but as others have pointed out, that could possibly still be inferred through a pattern of use.
Should you need to publish or edit data anonymously, then we give you the ability to do that. It’s done in such a way that there is no identity associated with it, so the identity could not be reused by mistake.
Data that you publish anonymously can still be accessed and organised by you at an account level though; you’ll be able to see a history things you’ve edited anonymously for example, all in one place, it’s just that this is only available to you, and not anyone else.
This is the mode you find yourself in by default but the way, many users will choose not to create an identity at all, and that’s fine.
Also just a reminder that browsing and reading data from the network is always anonymous. There is no way for this to be tracked, monitored, or monetised. You don’t even need to create an account for this.
Anonymous Data Drop
And should you want to—and admittedly this is a bit more of a niche use case—you can also just drop data on the network anonymously, with no identity, nor with it even being accessible via your own account login. In essence it would just ‘appear’ on the network at a random unique URL. What you would then do with tis URL would be up to you.
So this is a way to, say, whistleblow data onto the network without the susceptibility to—and I’m sorry for the grim reference here—a rubber-hose attack.
One thing thing about SafeIDs and the identities you use on the SAFE Network that gets me really amped, and it’s not always immediately understood, is that they are not siloed in apps, or, sites or services: they span the entire Network. That’s the awesome sauce that a decentralised internet, and the power of linked data provide! Just a few (but by no means all) of the upsides:
- I won’t need to create an account or identity for each new site or app I use
- I can choose to use as few or as many identities as I want, yet I can have access to them all in one place.
- I can interact all over the network, but see all replies in one place should I choose. I’m not confined to a single UI.
- I can be tagged with my SafeID (by someone typing @JimCollinson) anywhere on the network, and I can be notified about it, leap in to see it in context, or just consume it via a feed or UI on my choice. Again, no siloing of data here. And again, joy-upon-joy, we get this whole thing network-wide, with conversations started in a channel desired by the sender, and with a context appropriate for the recipient.
- We get global—network wide—contacts management, that’s always up-to-date. So If I update something about my Identity, like me street address for example, then this gets updated for everyone.
- As a consumer, on the network, I can verify sources across multiple sites (e.g. news outlets) and have them all referenced in a single timeline.
- As an app developer, I don’t need to worry about dealing with people’s private data any more… no more login screens, password handling or GDPR to worry about. That’s all taken case of by the network, with personal data handled by the users themselves, I don’t deal with that any more. All I need to be concerned with is creating useful software.
- The list goes on!
And since you are mentioning ecommerce I should mention what gets me excited there—did I mention I was excited?
Of course in your example you are asking about anonymity and physical shipping, which is always going to have it’s concerns, when crossing the boundary between the online and meatspace. But… there are reasons to consider why the SAFE Network could be really transformative for ecommerce, and in particular for small and independent traders, as well as shoppers too. And that is down to network wide Identities and the secret sauce of linked data. Picture this with me:
First of sending and receiving Safecoin is super easy. I have a nice, human readable identity for myself, like @jimcollinson, and send and receive Safecoin from that address, privately. No fears of losing things, worrying about who does what with the secret key.
It’s as easy as
Pay @jimcollinson 100. That’s it.
And if I wanted to do this anonymously, that’s doable too. We’ve created a mechanism where an intermediate one-time wallet is created for you. Simple.
So, apart from just the raw usability of this Safecoin itself, the amazing thing is what Safecoin and the other features of Safe Network combine to enable. For traders and individual websites, it’ll be really easy to enable commerce and accept payments for my wares, it’s all built in to the network…
…and as a shopper I can go on a shopping spree network wide, with a single shopping basket, in a really easy way, not have a million logins. When I’m ready to check out, I click once to pay, and all these disparate traders get paid, with no middlemen involved.
Plus, now with linked data, their contact information, and my shipping information is always up-to-date, not siloed all over the place. If I have ordered from 50 different merchants on the way, I just update my address on my own profile, and they all have it instantly. And of course, that’s only accessible to the merchants I choose to share it with, and I can turn off the tap to that data at any time I like.
I could go on! Did I answer your question there?