We’re excited to announce the launch of SimpleID. As we mentioned when we first started discussing this idea on the Blockstack forum a little more than a month ago, we wanted to improve the experience of users logging into Blockstack applications. Another major goal was to make it easy for developers to add multiple Web 3.0 technologies into their apps without having to dig through documentation and npm packages from tons of different locations.
Well, we’ve done just that!
At launch, developers can add Blockstack, IPFS via Pinata, and Ethereum functionality to their apps—all through SimpleID’s easy to use API and SDK. We also have support for Textile (which is built on top of IPFS), but that is geared specifically to mobile apps and still needs to be documented. Best of all, Blockstack authentication and Gaia storage are free through SimpleID. If you’d like to use other Web 3.0 modules, the upgrade cost is just $9/month.
Why Consider SimpleID
You can give your users the username and password authentication they expect while still taking advantage of the power of user-owned storage and decentralized identity that Blockstack enables.
To get a sense for the power SimpleID gives you, take a look at these benchmarks from Graphite:
Sign Up Process:
Sign In Process:
As you noticed in the video, Graphite has both the regular Blockstack sign in/up flow enabled along with SimpleID. We believe many Blockstack developers would and should choose this option as it allows for easy interoperability if you already have users who have signed up for your app through the Blockstack Browser. It also keeps your application App Mining eligible. Which brings us to our next topic.
Unfortunately, for the time being, Blockstack has decided that the use of SimpleID would be treated the same as using a third-party authentication provider. While SimpleID is certainly a third-party, it’s disappointing news considering the previous discussions from many people on alternative options to authentication that use Blockstack’s underlying protocol (which SimpleID does). But the decision is made, so here is what you need to know:
Is your app still eligible for App Mining if you use SimpleID?
Yes, as long as you have the regular Blockstack authentication flow included in your app.
Will New Internet Labs (NIL) take away points for using SimpleID?
Yes, unfortunately, even if you are using SimpleID with just Blockstack and no other Web 3.0 module includes, NIL will still take points from you. You should weigh the end user benefits against the loss of points and impact it could have on your ultimate App Mining ranking here.
Is It Decentralized?
SimpleID is a custodial solution. So you as a developer are putting trust in what we’ve built, and end-users are putting trust in SimpleID. But we’ve made sure that end-users don’t have to both trust all the apps that use SimpleID plus trust SimpleID.
This is accomplished much the same way Blockstack accomplishes it today. The user’s master keychain is never exposed to the developer. Only app-specific private keys and app-specific information is exposed.
For the end-user, we email their password encrypted mnemonic, which means they can restore their account directly from the Blockstack Browser the same way they do today with Blockstack’s emails.
No user data aside from the encrypted mnemonic is ever stored on SimpleID’s database. All user content is pushed through the user’s chosen storage hub. So every user gets complete control over their data. In our eyes, we’ve matched the decentralization enabled by Blockstack with this release. We will iterate and improve over time, but even if SimpleID goes away, users will still be able to access their data. That’s the key to decentralization.
As of today, Graphite, Referenda, and the web/mobile app version of Stealthy all plan to add support for SimpleID. We hope you will too. Please let us know if you have any questions!