Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is considering using blockchain technology to allow internet users to log into various services with a single set of credentials, a move that could eliminate third parties from the process.
Blockchain login could replace Facebook Connect
Mark Zuckerberg revealed that he is currently exploring blockchain technology to create an alternative product to services like Facebook Connect, the company’s single sign-on (SSO) application. Zuckerberg made this known in an interview with Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain, where he admitted that he has not figured out a way to make it work yet.
“A use of blockchain that I’ve been thinking about, though I haven’t figured out a way to make this work out, around authentication and granting access to your information to different services. So, replacing the notion of what we have with Facebook Connect with something that is truly distributed,” he said.
Zuckerberg noted that with the blockchain login, users could take their information, store it in a decentralized system, and use it to log into platforms without going through an intermediary. He added that the service would appeal to software developers who do not want to rely on corporations that can cut them off from their services.
Blockchain login has pros and cons
Zuckerberg said that despite the quality features such a service would offer, there could be potential drawbacks. He cited a scandal that affected Facebook last year when Cambridge University gave out data to a developer who in turn sold that information to Cambridge Analytica. The incidence was a violation of Facebook’s policies, and the developer was banned from the platform.
The lesson here is that a fully distributed system empowers individuals, but there would be issues of consent since people might not know when they are giving permission to institutions, Zuckerberg explained. He further questioned the Facebook community’s need for the blockchain service. He said, “The question is, do you really want that? Do you have more cases where, yes, people would be able to not have an intermediary but there’d be more instances of abuse and recourse would be much harder?”
The Facebook CEO further acknowledged the huge technical challenges presented by decentralization. He admitted that decentralization would be harder for companies like Facebook, which have an intense computation system. However, he believes it could be done since they have the resources needed.
Facebook making strides in blockchain development
Facebook recently increased its efforts towards blockchain development by hiring staff from Chainspace, the startup behind a smart contracts platform. In December 2018, the social media giant revealed that it is developing a stablecoin that will allow users to exchange funds via WhatsApp. These developments were recorded after Facebook opened a unit dedicated to the exploration of blockchain technology in May last year.
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