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Digital identity in crypto: A conversation with XGo ID and ENS

More convenient identity layer solutions and bringing more crypto non-natives into the industry — here are the key takeaways from the X Space with XGo and ENS.

Presented by XGo

Cointelegraph’s latest X Space gathered Web3 experts to discuss the challenges of building innovative blockchain projects, the convergence of Web2 and Web3, and ways to lower the barriers to entry in crypto. The invited speakers were Khori Whittaker, executive director at ENS Labs (Ethereum Name Service) and Josh Cowell, head of product at XGo ID.

One of the solutions to improve the crypto user experience that Whittaker talked about is ENS, which allows randomly generated letters and numbers from crypto addresses to be converted into more easily recognizable words, such as a person’s name or a brand. This can replace dozens of wallet and website addresses, receive any cryptocurrency, token or NFT, and store an avatar or other necessary data for use across multiple services. “Instead of logging into a DApp with a wallet, you use just one name. This human-readable phenomenon is crucial to create a better UX,” he said.

XGo focuses on crypto-payment infrastructure, or as Cowell describes it, “it’s the glue between different service providers in centralized finance (CeFi)decentralized finance (DeFi), smart contracts and people.” XGo is leveraging ENS’s advanced top-level domain technology in its minimal viable product (MVP), allowing users to use an XGo ID across 12 networks, with more to come.

“I’d love to get people right into Web3, but it’s hard to do that,” Cowell said. “It’s not just a bad user experience. Before you can operate in the crypto world, you have to get over technical hurdles and get some understanding of Web3, so it makes sense to take intermediate Web 2.5 steps.”

He cited XGo as an example of Web 2.5, where users can link different chains and wallets within a mobile app under a single, unique XGo ID. “It’s a human-readable string that can be similar to your name, your X handle or your email address. We offer flexibility: You can use full custodial addresses, or a bunch of different noncustodial ones, or a mix of both,” added Cowell. “The roadmap is to take the ENS technology beyond IDs and integrate with virtual cards, Google Pay, Apple Pay, fiat, add more networks, have more efficient peer-to-peer payments and access absolutely everything with one ID.”

Cowell frequently referenced the phonebook analogy throughout the discussion. He outlined the historical progression of technology, identifying three distinct phases. The first phase featured traditional telephones and phone books, enabling people to connect. The second phase emerged during the internet era, characterized by internet addresses and email as the primary means of communication. Finally, Cowell asserted that the third phase is unfolding with the advent of blockchain technology.

In this third evolution of human networks, value is transmitted instead of just communications and data. IDs can now function similarly to both bank accounts and traditional identification documents, representing separate ways for IDs to evolve in Web3. “I’m more focused on the payment side of things and want to bring a true address book to the blockchain, like XGo ID, where you have the address book with all your addresses in one place,” Cowell said.

Cowell explained the importance of decentralized IDs: “There’s also a lot of speculation around ID these days, which is similar to what cryptocurrencies or other crypto businesses have gone through. We need to bring utility to the crypto space, make ID functional and not another item to trade.”

Whittaker noted that one of the latest ENS features, ENS Name Wrapper, demonstrates such functionality by allowing users to manipulate subdomains on their ENS names: “Users can create subdomains for various purposes. For example, if you are a business, you can create a subdomain just for receivables and another one for payables.”

“I see crypto as an abstract system with different layers. At the bottom, we have the transaction layer, then the access layer, and above that, the identity layer. While some projects succeed in the second layer, we’ve seen very few in the last one, and it is the identity layer that needs to be solved before we get to mass adoption,” said Cowell. Whittaker added: “To get there, and in terms of innovation, we have to start thinking like a user and about users and the user journey to solve the hurdles. The mass users aren’t going to get through them on their own.”

Both guests emphasized the importance of collaboration in the crypto space. “ENS is helping us realize our dream with a lot of technical expertise,” said Cowell. “In addition to XGo, we have a large community of developers building with ENS,” said Whittaker. “This is a fantastic ground for new products, services, and builders who can use each other’s products and services, and get visibility, feedback and support. We have weekly calls with our ecosystem group that governs our decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), where members present their projects and share updates.”

“Building with a community behind you is great,” added Cowell. “For a long time, there weren’t that many participants from outside the crypto space joining Web3, but now we see major players in the game like PayPalVisa and Shopify. My hope is that more non-crypto natives will provide more crypto solutions, which will lead to mass crypto adoption.”

Source : Cointelegraph.com