TBD’s Web5 takes a different approach than Web3 on how to build a properly decentralized internet, with Bitcoin being the single blockchain used in the project.

Jack Dorsey’s Bitcoin-focused TBD business unit, a subsidiary of Block Inc., announced Friday that it is building a new decentralized web: Web5.

Web5 is based on the assumption that Web3, the idea of building a decentralized web with blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, has the right intentions but is using the wrong tools.

Web5 leverages Bitcoin, the decentralized monetary network, and a plethora of sound computer science technologies to create a new ecosystem of decentralized identities, data storage and applications in which the users are in control of their personal information.

Fairly decentralized developments in the internet over the past couple of decades such as BitTorrent and Tor have shown that blockchain technology is not a necessary component for decentralization. Rather, the blockchain has only proven to be needed for a very specific purpose – mitigate the double-spend problem to successfully bring peer-to-peer money to the digital realm with Bitcoin.

TBD’s Web5 is made up of software components and services such as decentralized identifiers (DIDs), decentralized web node (DWNs), self-sovereign identity service (SSIS) and a self-sovereign identity software development kit (ssi-sdk). These components let developers focus on building user experiences while more easily enabling decentralized identity and data storage in applications.

Decentralized Identifiers

Web5’s DID component leverages ION, an open, public and permissionless second-layer DID network that runs atop the Bitcoin blockchain. It is based on the deterministic Sidetree protocol, which requires no special tokens, trusted validators or additional consensus mechanisms to function.

A DID is essentially a globally unique persistent identifier that doesn’t require a centralized registration authority and is often generated and registered cryptographically. It consists of a unique uniform resource identifier (URI) string that serves as an ID with additional public key infrastructure (PKI) metadata describing the cryptographic keys and other fundamental PKI values linked to a unique, user-controlled, self-sovereign identifier in a target system such as the Bitcoin blockchain.

ION only allows DIDs to be deactivated by their owners, being hence censorship-resistant, and includes registry capabilities to support decentralized package managers and app stores. The decentralized network can in theory process thousands of DID operations per second.

Decentralized Web Node

The DWN leveraged by Web5 is a reference implementation of the Decentralized Identity Foundation’s DWN draft specification. Two people from Block have contributed to the specification: Moe Jangda as a contributor and Daniel Bucher as an editor.

According to the specification, a DWN is a mechanism for data storage and message transmission that participants can leverage to locate public or private data linked to a given DID. It enables the interaction between different entities that need to verify the identity of each other in order to transfer information to one another.

“Decentralized Web Nodes are a mesh-like datastore construction that enable an entity to operate multiple nodes that sync to the same state across one another, enabling the owning entity to secure, manage, and transact their data with others without reliance on location or provider-specific infrastructure, interfaces, or routing mechanisms,” per the specification.

Topology of decentralized web nodes. Source: DIF.

TBD’s goal is to produce a first version of the current draft specification along with a reference implementation by July 1, 2022.

Contributions from the development community are welcome. Interested developers can submit proposals as pull requests to the GitHub repository. Likewise, issues can also be submitted on the same GitHub repository.

Self-Sovereign Identity Service

Web5’s SSIS is a web service that wraps the ssi-sdk.

The SSIS interacts with the standards around verifiable credentials, credential revocations, requesting credentials, exchanging credentials, data schemas for credentials and other verifiable data, messaging using DWN and usage of DIDs.

The SSIS facilitates everything related to DIDs and verifiable credentials. Source: TBD.

“Using these core standards, the SSIS enables robust functionality to facilitate all verifiable interactions such as creating, signing, issuing, curating, requesting, revoking, exchanging, validating, verifying credentials in varying degrees of complexity,” per its webpage.

Self-Sovereign Identity SDK

The ssi-sdk encapsulates standards related to self-sovereign identity.

A preliminary view of the SDK’s vision. Standards included are under active development and are therefore subject to be added or removed. Source: TBD.

“The ssi-sdk intends to provide flexible functionality based on a set of standards-based primitives for building decentralized identity applications in a modular manner: with limited dependencies between components,” per its webpage.

This content was originally published here.

New York’s Senate just voted to place a two-year moratorium on the bitcoin mining industry preventing new applications and renewals for carbon-based mining.

New York’s State Senate has passed a in a 36-27 vote placing a two-year moratorium on proof-of-work (PoW) cryptocurrency mining with fossil fuels, the method used for mining bitcoin.

The moratorium placed by New York states:

New applications will not be accepted, nor will new permits be issued “​​for an electric generating facility that utilizes a carbon-based fuel and that provides, in whole or in part, behind-the-meter electric energy consumed or utilized by cryptocurrency mining operations that use proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions.”

This marks the first attempt of a U.S. state to restrict the rights of private businesses to choose what they are allowed to dedicate computational resources towards. Nic Carter, a partner at venture capital firm Castle Island Ventures, posited this question on the matter:

“Will red states respond and ban computation taking place in their borders used for pornography, Netflix, and Disney? Is a world where the state itself decrees what is an acceptable use of electricity or not one you really want to live in?”

Renewals can not be processed “if the renewal application seeks to increase or will allow or result in an increase in the amount of electric energy consumed or utilized,” which means businesses not expanding infrastructure or energy consumption can still seek renewal.

In addition to governing bodies attempting to regulate private rights to computation based on resources used, there was a last-minute change in the committee originally assigned to vote on this matter. Earlier this year, the Environmental Conservation committee was referred to on March 21 to deliberate on the matter, but on June 2, the committee was switched to Energy and Telecommunications. The sponsor of the bill, Senator Kevin Parker, happens to be the chairman of the Energy and Telecommunications committee.

The day of the vote, the committee was switched which caused uninformed senate members to decide the private rights of businesses who, aside from the author of the bill, weren’t even playing a direct role in the discussion up until the day of voting.

Foundry, a financial services company assisting in bitcoin mining infrastructure, released the following statement echoing the earlier concerns detailed by Carter and Foundry:

“We sincerely hope that Governor Hochul will not sign this bill into law, as it represents the clear targeting of one industry among hundreds across New York State. States like California and Washington are studying this issue to understand the technology before taking drastic steps to limit its growth.”

New York intends to conduct an in-depth study during the moratorium concerning bitcoin and other PoW based cryptocurrencies and their effects, if any, on the environment. The bill will now head to the Governor Kathy Hochul’s desk to be signed into law, unless she should choose to veto the bill.

For those interested, refutations of common misconceptions concerning the environmental impact of bitcoin can be found at the Bitcoin Policy Institute

This content was originally published here.

KenGen, Kenya’s largest energy producer, plans to deliver excess geothermal energy to bitcoin miners in the region.

  • Kenya’s largest producer of electricity intends to deliver excess geothermal energy to bitcoin miners.
  • Geothermal energy in the region is estimated to be above 14,000 MW with 10,000 MW located along the Rift Valley circuit.
  • Over 80% of KenGen’s power is renewable energy, but it does not openly disclose excess capacity.

KenGen (Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC), the leading supplier of electricity in Kenya, wants to provide excess geothermal power to bitcoin mining companies, according to a report from Quartz Africa.

“We have the space and the power is near, which helps with stability,” KenGen’s geothermal development director, Peketsa Mwangi reportedly explained in an interview.

Kenya is the top producer of geothermal energy in Africa delivering over 14,000 megawatts (MW) of power with the equipment capacity of only 863 MW. Along the Rift Valley circuit alone, an estimated 10,000 MW of geothermal energy lies largely dormant.

Miners looking to take advantage of this offering have already approached KenGen to discuss the offer and “Some have requested to start with 20 MW and upscale later,” said Mwangi.

Considering there are no bitcoin mining firms currently in Africa, it is reported that those interested in the offering are expected to be mainly from the U.S. or Europe.

Currently over 80% of KenGen’s produced power is provided from renewable energy sources like hydro and wind, in addition to geothermal usage. However, KenGen does not openly disclose its excess power capacity.

The publication reported KenGen stated that by offering clean energy, the company hopes to contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions often associated with mining bitcoin. However, the government of Kenya has taken a completely different approach to bitcoin and digital currency due to its fear of scams in the broader market.

Previously, the central bank of Kenyareleased a document detailing its desire to research a central bank digital currency (CBDC). However, the central bank did note that through the success of M-Pesa, a mobile banking service, Kenya’s recent experience in innovation may be put at risk if they create a CBDC without good cause.

“The usefulness of technology does not lie in its uniqueness but in its ability to solve a pressing societal problem. A case in point has been the rise of mobile money in Kenya that has placed our country as a cradle of innovation in Africa.”

This content was originally published here.