6 questions for Kim Hamilton Duffy from Center – UKTN Magazine

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We ask the builders in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on 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 Center Consortium – an open-source technology project designed to create a more inclusive global economy.

Kim is a leader in the emerging decentralized identity field 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 are lagging behind?

Rather than judging this through the narrow lens of whether certain crypto transactions are taxed, I think about whether countries support innovation in blockchain – and, more broadly, decentralized architectures – in a collaborative, responsible, sustainable way. that can benefit individuals and companies.

A recurring theme: regulatory clarity is essential for individuals and businesses to build and innovate with confidence. But this must be based on nuanced, balanced approaches that attract a range of stakeholders – technologists, regulators and privacy experts – and must be sufficiently future-proof to accommodate emerging technology. Anti-patterns — that is, examples of approaches that are unequal, too restrictive, or reactive — include banning specific implementations or types of mining.

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

It is divided between interoperability, usability and trust.

Fortunately, we are moving beyond the discussion of which blockchain will “win”, recognizing that different blockchain characteristics may be best suited for different use cases. But this underlines the importance of interoperability – and for this open standards and protocols are essential.

The other aspect is the need for improved usability and trust, which are intertwined. Despite the transparency enabled by blockchain-based technologies, the technical barriers to entry and the overwhelming amount of information that must be included make these benefits unrealistic for many. Prioritizing the user experience to convey trust (by analogy, think of the “browser lock” icon signifying a secure connection) is critical to success.

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

Yes! The first NFT I minted/bought was a Crypto Coven… and then I struck and bought 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 generating the design elements, attributes and mythology that shaped each individual witch. Even the contract code was beautifully written.

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Also, the Discord is an incredibly positive, supportive place, also hosting some of the best Web3/Ethereum tech discussions.

4 — What’s the most unlikely thing on your bucket list?

Being overrun and tackled by a grumble 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. But somehow this hasn’t happened yet.

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

I would spend extra time writing. Decentralized identity standards and technologies are new, and it is difficult for people to access information through an objective, non-commercial or vendor lens. While the technical specifications are available, they are not accessible to a wider audience. More importantly, these provide no context and tribal knowledge of the many years of deliberation that went into design decisions.

The risk in rolling out transformative technologies understood by a select few is that they cannot be adapted and refined with other experts (privacy, regulation, etc.) whose input is essential for adoption. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the boundary between technical solutions and what it takes for real-world adoption, and I’d like to free up more time to write about this.

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Personally, I would spend at least four hours a day practicing the Bach Cello Suites.

6 — What is the future of social media?

I am confident that we are moving towards a more decentralized underpinning of social media networks, where your data, connections, reputation and experience are increasingly under your control – not under the control of a company that is incentivized to view you as to handle the product.

Christine Lemmer-Webber, a leader in decentralized identity (particularly integrating capability-based approaches), has also pioneered decentralized social media efforts, including Mastodon and ActivityPub. This work continues and thrives through efforts such as BlueSky.

The challenge will, of course, be to find sustainable models to support such networks. This introduces a great opportunity to develop new approaches that do not rely on merging huge data silos, but respect privacy and informed consent.

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