We ask builders in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space what they think of the industry…and throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!

This week our 6 Questions go to Kim Hamilton Duffy, director of identity and standards at the Center Consortium – an open source technology project designed to create a more inclusive global economy.

Kim is a leader in the emerging field of decentralized identity and has designed successful open source projects such as Verite, Blockcerts, and the Digital Credential Consortium Toolkit.

1 — Which countries are doing the most to support blockchain, and which will be left behind?

Rather than assessing this through the narrow lens of whether certain crypto transactions are taxed, I wonder if countries are supporting innovation in blockchain – and, more broadly, decentralized architectures – in a collaborative, responsible way. and sustainable that can benefit individuals and businesses.

A recurring theme: regulatory clarity is essential for people and businesses to build and innovate with confidence. But it must be based on nuanced and balanced approaches that appeal to a range of stakeholders – technologists, regulators and privacy experts – and must be scalable enough to adapt to emerging technologies. Anti-patterns – that is, examples of uneven, overly restrictive, or reactive approaches – include banning specific implementations or types of mining.

2 — What is the main obstacle to the mass adoption of blockchain technology?

It is shared between interoperability, user-friendliness and trust.

Fortunately, we go beyond the discussion of which blockchain will “win,” understanding that different features of blockchain may be better suited to different use cases. But it underscores the importance of interoperability – and for that, open standards and protocols are key.

The other aspect is the need to improve usability and trust, which are closely related. Despite the transparency enabled by blockchain-based technologies, the technical barriers to entry and the overwhelming amount of information to be absorbed make these benefits unattainable for many. Figuring out how to prioritize the user experience to convey trust (by analogy, you can think of the “browser lock” icon signifying a secure connection) will be critical to success.

3 — Have you ever purchased a non-fungible token? what was that? And if not, what do you think will be your first?

Yes! The first NFT I hit/bought was a Crypto Coven… then I ended up hitting and buying a few more. I fell in love with the aesthetics and thoughtfulness of the project. It was clearly a labor of love – so much care went into creating the design elements, attributes, and mythology that formed each individual witch. Even the contract code was beautifully written.

Additionally, his Discord is an incredibly positive and supportive place, also featuring some of the best Web3/Ethereum tech talk.

4 — What is the least likely thing to happen on your to-do list?

Being swarmed and attacked by a growl of over 100 pugs is probably near the top. A more modest goal is to get a pie in the face, a 1970s slapstick comedy. Yet somehow that hasn’t happened yet.

5 — If you didn’t need to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

I would spend more time writing. Decentralized identity standards and technologies are new, and it’s difficult for people to access information through an objective lens, not a commercial or vendor one. Although the technical specifications are available, they are not accessible to a wider audience. More importantly, these do not provide the context and tribal knowledge of the many years of deliberation that culminated in the design decisions.

The risk of deploying transformative technologies understood by a privileged few is that they cannot be adapted and refined with other experts (privacy, regulation, etc.) whose input is critical to adoption. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the line between technical solutions and what’s needed for real-world adoption, and I’d like to take more time to write about it.

From a more personal point of view, I spent at least four hours a day practicing Bach’s Cello Suites.

6 — What is the future of social networks?

I am convinced that we are on the way to more decentralized foundations of social media networks, where your data, your connections, your reputation and your experience are increasingly under your control – and not under the control of a company that is incentivized to treat you like the product.

Christine Lemmer-Webber, a leader in decentralized identity (particularly the integration of capability-based approaches), was also a pioneer of decentralized social media efforts, including Mastodon and ActivityPub. This work continues and thrives through efforts like BlueSky.

The challenge, of course, will be to identify sustainable models to support these networks. This introduces an exciting opportunity to develop new approaches that do not rely on aggregating huge silos of data, but rather ones that respect privacy and informed consent.