AstroX: building Web3 Identity Service for 8 billion users
We are the AstroX, a team of blockchain developers and enthusiasts. We’d like to share some of our ideas and our vision for Blockchain/Web3 here.
First of all, let us introduce our first project: AstroX ME, a Web3 Identity Service.
What is identity service and why is it important?
The core concept of the Web3 Identity Service is to let users easily manage and control their data without any third-party intermediary, such as Facebook, Google, or Apple, etc.
By using cryptography, the Web3 Identity Service allows users to log in to Websites and Apps without using usernames and passwords, and to authorize/deauthorize decentralized applications (DApps) to access their personal information or crypto assets while maintaining privacy.
AstroX ME is built on top of Dfinity’s Internet Identity (II)
Dfinity launched its mainnet in early May, along with its Identity system called Internet Identity(II). Through Dfinity’s II, people can create and link identities using multiple trusted devices, such as Yubikey, Ledger hardware wallet, or their smartphone.
AstroX team is excited about II and has conducted extensive research since its launch. While we found out II is a very powerful technology, there are still some major pain points preventing normal users from using it smoothly.
Pain Points of using Internet Identity
1. Most people don’t have Yubikey to connect to their PC or smartphones. In the meantime, biometric supported devices are not commonly used by end-users, especially for those who use PC and laptops.
2. WebAuthn used in the project is still a relatively new and experimental feature supported by modern browsers(Chrome/Firefox/Edge/etc.). Moreover, the required browsers won’t be compatible with legacy devices, thus rendering low usability.
3. The Identities are created by trusted devices. For the sake of information security, the private keys for generating identities are stored and locked inside the security chip of these devices. If the devices fail to operate, the identity may never be recovered.
4. After an identity is created, the identity number generated needs to be safely stored. If the user loses or forgets the identity number, she will not be able to log in.
Dfinity recently updated II with a new feature to recover users’ identities by using recovery phrases and user numbers to address some of those pain points. While it might be helpful for some tech-savvy power users, normal users are more susceptible to errors and carelessness. Frequent coping and pasting phrases could easily lead to unsafe situations.
Therefore, we believe more innovations are needed to strike a better balance between usability and security.
AstroX’s unique value proposition: bringing the existing crypto users to Web3
Internet Identity is yet to become prevailing even in the crypto space. The difference between wallet keys and identities is hard to fathom for many people and to understand the combined usage is even harder.
The team members behind the AstroX have been building tools and solutions for different blockchain projects for years, and also received multiple ecosystem grants from them (respectively Zilliq, Harmony, Polkadot). We fully understand that the commonality of all successful projects is great usability for both end-users and developers.
For developers, documentations and toolchains to manage dependencies are as important as blockchain technology itself.
Satisfying the needs of existing blockchain developers and crypto users is our priority at AstroX. A feasible way would be by providing them with the familiar tools they have been using already, such as Metamask and other popular wallets as Identity providers. It will greatly lower the barrier of entry for core users and attract them to Web3.
The next step would be to integrate the Web2 Identity systems such as Email and Social accounts. Hence a greater scale of Internet users from the non-crypto world will be drawn to Internet Computer.
AstroX ME identity service
To provide a more comprehensive solution on top of Internet Identity, we are building AstroX ME, an enhanced version of identity service. The product is:
1. Integrating Metamask/Web3 log-ins with Internet Identity, thus creating more inclusive access available to everyone and with no requirement to own Yubikeys.
2. A mobile app that uses an equivalent system to the WebAuthn system and biometrics on mobile phones. The product has the potential to be compatible to earlier versions of smart devices and OS.
3. An advanced identity managing panel, allowing users to CRUD(create, read, update, and delete) their identities easily, and allow or disallow Dapps using a whitelist and blacklist.
4. Allowing customized features for each identity, such as avatars and alias. Different social identities can be used in different scenarios.
5. Integrating Web2 identities, such as email address, cell phone number, and Google account.
Our product will be open-sourced. More technical details will be published in the future
What can you expect from AstroX in the long run?
Building on top of the Web3 identity service is just a start. We are aiming to be the aggregator of the Web3 system, and our mission is to bridge the Web2 and the Web3, and to build products bringing the mass internet users to the Web3 universe.
We will deliver our mission in the following steps:
1. Aggregate current crypto and web system
2. Expand to mobile internet and IoT devices
3. Cross the network boundary to the Web3 universe
Each stage has specific projects to build and products to release.