To blockchain or not to blockchain?

[Update December 2023: Qui Identity is now Confirm]

That’s a conversation we had when we started building Qui. And since we like to build in the open and get feedback from outside our own echo chamber, I thought I’d explain why and see what you think.

Many in the tech community look to a traditional blockchain as the foundation of a user-controlled verified identity (a.k.a. Decentralized Identity) solution. Seems sensible. Blockchain and crypto fit in that space where people and technology merge to do what governments or other centralized authorities have previously done. A blockchain makes information verifiable by anyone, so you can trust that what you see is correct without having to rely on an organization.

However, there are some problems.

Platform: What is the root of trust? Once you build on a blockchain, you’re tied to it. And with different people building solutions on different blockchains, you end up a victim of platform wars.

Scalability: Many popular blockchain mechanisms are slow to reach consensus. The number of transactions that can be committed in a given period is highly dependent on the underlying consensus mechanism.

Cost: Blockchains grow very large in size and are often reliant on enormous memory pool services to achieve performant implementation at scale.

The ideal technology for Qui’s plans would be portable and self-certifying; a technology with which we can stop relying on external platforms to verify claim authenticity.

Enter KERI: Key Event Receipt Infrastructure.

At its core, KERI is a set of protocols for secure key management and exchange. To its advocates, KERI has the ability to “repair the internet.” I’ll share a link in the comments where you can get a quick overview of KERI, but in brief, KERI doesn’t require a universal ledger or any shared resource to be a root of trust. Everything you need to verify the authenticity of a claim is contained within the claim data graph itself.

In KERI, each portable identifier and its claims are managed by its own microledger and sidechains. We’re confident that KERI will allow for portable identity with no practical limit to performance or scalability, in a way that provides people with certainty around claim authenticity and with independence from any vendors’ infrastructure.

In my next post, I’ll dive deeper into the features of KERI that make this technology so compelling.

Here’s an explanation of KERI, from Krijn Soeteman