In this episode, Mike Townsend speaks with Locke Brown, CEO and founder at NuID, who believes that the future of the internet belongs to the user, and NuID’s decentralized identity architecture was designed to support that future.
Locke's passion has always been pursuing greater efficiency in a society's most elemental interaction: exchange. It's what drove him headfirst into mining Bitcoin in 2013, and to join the trading desk at Bill Gates' private investment office, BMGI, in 2014.
While obtaining a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics and an M.A. in Finance from Claremont McKenna College, Locke developed software at Google and served as a managing director to a multi-asset class emerging market fund in Mongolia. He went on to co-found the blockchain working group internal to BMGI, which ultimately led him to recognize digital identity as the key area for foundational improvement necessary to usher in the next paradigm of global exchange.
Mike Townsend: Thanks for tuning intoanother episode of Around The Coin. Today's guest Locke Brown is the CEO andfounder of NuID. NuID has raised 4 million and they are creating the base layerinfrastructure to allow people to authenticate and log to services across theinternet. They have two distinct.
Mike Townsend: Profiles or businessentities. They have the centralized enterprise business. We talked about that.And then they have the decentralized entity launching a token very shortly. Andwe talked a lot about that. We talked about the implications of identity, whyidentity is so fundamental on the internet and cryptography opens up doors tofacilitate new methods for identification using social networks handling thingslike deaths.
Mike Townsend: How do you. Reassignassets, reassign ownership in the, in that case. And we discussed other, otherimplications of identity. So this was a fascinating conversation. We covered alot of ground and I hope you enjoy here is lock Brown.
Mike Townsend: All right, Locke. I'mexcited to chat with you. We had a fun conversation pre-show conversation tosort of set the foundation, set the framework for the conversation. I'd lovefor you to just you know, describe the, the different aspects of the businesswith NuID between the foundation and then the crypto endeavor and how the, howthe overall vision is sort of set using those as as pillars.
Locke Brown: Sure. Yeah. I mean, soNuID, you know I've been around for five and a half years now, which is prettywild. But I guess, guess I'll go all the way back and just say that so, youknow, I've been into investing and crypto is kind of my two like passions for awhile. And, and I guess crypto more recently in a way, because of just kind oftechnology, generally, I was that crazy kid that was like mining Bitcoin in2013 in my dorm room.
Locke Brown: And like was a nut.And then so like I've always been following the space and then I actually wentafter I graduated to Claremont in 2014 up to Seattle and, and worked ininvestment management for bill gates, family office. And so that was, that wasreally great. And I actually like kind of co-led with the COO there, ablockchain working group internally just to stay up on the space.
Locke Brown: And so that gave mekinda a lot of you know, freed up until basically kind of get back intofollowing that space more closely than I had for a couple years. And then, solike, I guess, I guess, like I just kind of go deep on, on interest and things.So, you know, I was just kind of think about a million things having fun.
Locke Brown: And it was in 2016that I met this guy, Nolan Smith, and he was in Seattle at the time and weended up just kind of going down like rabbit holes in my basement, got a bunchof whiteboards and just like this whole, like. You know, like kind of cliche,this like cave startup kind of thing. It wasn't a company or anything at atime.
Locke Brown: But then kind of theend of the year, that year, everything just like in general that, you know, wehad been thinking about that I'd been thinking about, and, and for a long time,you know, I'd been like thinking about wouldn't be great if I could, you know,divvy and split the equity in like a home into like some sort of digital, youknow, deed of sorts or representation of that.
Locke Brown: Cuz this whole processis a slog, you know, to, to actually be able to transfer, you know, you havethe whole title system and I won't go down that not whole rabbit hole eitherright now, but all, everything ended up really coming back to identity. And,and, you know, we had a lot of ideas we explored and stuff, but when you get tothe like root problem of a lot, a lot of things, at least that we were findingat the time problem was that there was no good representation of identity.
Locke Brown: But for peoplespecifically, but, you know, for, for devices, for anything in the digitalworld. Right. And, and and this is something that, you know, goes all the wayback to the beginning, kind of really computing and the internet you know,public key infrastructure, obviously, you know, we rely on, but we don't usepublic infrastructure.
Locke Brown: We don't usecryptography. And in terms of PKI for an authentication identity representationonline which is why, you know, you probably like everybody, you know, areclicking for forgot password links or getting emails, saying your accounthasn't been compromised or like some disaster that all the time.
Locke Brown: And so, you knowstarted thinking about identity and especially with, you know kind of goingdeep on blockchain space. Cause, you know, I love just like trading crypto andstuff too. It's always been, been fun. Actually. I wrote my thesis in school,on Bitcoin market efficiency and price, predictability models.
Locke Brown: So like that wasalways like a passion. So, so I'm, I'm saying all this basically to, to put thecontext out the bill, I just kinda like, you know, there was this likeprimordial soup in a way of thoughts with all these, all these things comingtogether that not only presented this kind of problem in a light that ended upreally exposing that identity.
Locke Brown: Isn't really theproblem as much as authentication is because you, you can't have a, you know,digital representation identity online that you can rely on or trust or use foranything. If someone can authenticate themselves as you, right. Like that. So,so really it is the layer below that an authentication is where, where kind ofthat, that foundation doesn't exist in a, in a way that you know, can be reliedon right now in terms of what we use and, and have.
Locke Brown: And so what wasinteresting too, is that kind of stumbled into that issue. You know, in thisblockchain investment crypto world and the solution also kind of presenteditself within that world, which is interesting. And so we kind of ended up youknow, combining these, these concepts of, you know, zero knowledge proofs,which is a subset of cryptography.
Locke Brown: Right. And you likesnores, non-active your knowledge proof to, to kind of, you know, point to, asa something that, that played a big role in understanding that, and, and, youknow, we, we leveraged that at the beginning and coupling that with a disdistributed ledger you know, a, something that was, you know no single point offailure and ultimately immutable and distributed.
Locke Brown: Right. So And whatcame out of that was this idea of, and, and I thought about it a little bitdifferently at the time. The time I was thinking about, you know, abstractingidentity from devices to you, you know it goes wherever you go. And, andthat's, that's still, I guess not inaccurate, but, but really you know, you proand I'm sure that you know, self sovereign ID is a, you know, a thing that somepeople might say of yes or year, but is the concept of user owned data, user ownedcredentials is ultimately what is going to allow, you know, however that comesabout for a, a solid digital identity model.
Locke Brown: And so I'm gonna notgo down like identity models broadly here, but long story short the idea ofcoupling these things basically allows for not having to trust anyone and, andwhat it, we, what we really do ultimately is give users. The, the tools toactually be able to leverage cryptography without, without the risk of screwingit up.
Locke Brown: Right. Like, you know,I'm sure you hear horror stories of, you know, someone with Bitcoin and, youknow, they forget their private key, right? Like done, you know, and no one'sgonna, you know, you don't wanna, you think passwords are bad. Imagine how, ifyou have like all these gonna receive phrases or, you know, a huge string ofcharacters.
Locke Brown: So, so cryptography isnot easy and that's why we don't use it. Right. That's why we have this badpassword system in centralized storage, you know, databases at every service.But it doesn't have to be that way. And so what, what NuIDea ultimately does isprovide user owned credentials. But without, at all, disrupting the existingworkflow and experience that exists.
Locke Brown: So we started out ourfirst, our first actual solution or products. So we launched this game between19 is it's a enterprise SA solution. It's. We call, call it trustlessauthentication, right. You know, authentication as a service, whichauthentication as a service is not great cause it's like ass, but so, but thatwas always the first step is to actually create a protocol for authenticationwhere credentials are referenced by what you can think of as a public key.
Locke Brown: It's really the publicparameter from a zero knowledge proof. But someone, you know, registers to saypassword in a zero knowledge fashion, the public piece of that is put on ablockchain you know, out there forever. And then you go to any device anywhereyou want, and you can then authenticate that with, you know, the secret in thiscase, a password, but you know, our protocol supports any sort of factor, youknow, whether that's a local bio key, biometric, whatever, what have you.
Locke Brown: But it allows you togo anywhere and authenticate a a credential that you registered on blockchainand. That actual private piece of it is never stored anywhere. So you eliminatethe need for passwords to ever be seen stored anywhere transferred over theinternet, because like when you register a credential with a NuID protocol,that password is never transmitted off the device or stored locally, literallyis used to generate this proof.
Locke Brown: The first time you,you register a credential and then subsequently just authenticate it. And sofor, for companies, they no longer have face the liability of storing user datacredentials. You know, they don't have to deal with it. So it eliminates thepossibility of a, you know, wide scale credential breach, or getting hacked.
Locke Brown: There's no gettinghacked anymore. If the company uses a NuID and allows users to not even have toworry about trusting anyone, you know, storing their secrets. Now that is likethe very like layer one benefit. And that's what we realize. Like, let's try tosell this cause we had to do it anyway. But where, where this goes and whatthat was necessary for is the portability of it, right.
Locke Brown: Port portableidentity. And what, you know, you could think of, or out as like single signon, I guess with internet where really a user has one identity representation,or as many as they, like, you could spin up, you know, multiple and there UNthey could be relatable. You know, maybe you have a different public key thatyou don't, you know, associate with anything else in this case, you know, anidentity for like banking than you do, like porn or what, whatever it is youdo, you know, like, so it's fully user controlled PKI based decentralized.
Locke Brown: And like, if even ifNuID disappeared the protocol still works, the credential still works. So youdon't even have to trust us. We're just providing an API to make it easy touse. And what we're moving to, to, you know, provide this is the platformprotocol for users to have that representation.
Locke Brown: But have these accessstation or other data associated with it, like the first one, a core one beinga verified identity, right? So say you create this credential and now there'sthis identity model where I can use that to you know, for all my services. Soif like five different accounts, I have use NuID for authentication, whichdoesn't, you know, if a company uses NuID, it, you can deploy it in literallyhours.
Locke Brown: It's an, it's a APIrest API. It literally just replaces the existing login workflow forauthentication their users face, no added like you know inefficiency. Like youdon't need a NuID app users don't even know or need to know they're using NuID.It's just literally the concurrent form, a better authentication solution ismore secure.
Locke Brown: And like companiesdon't have to worry about it. And but what, but what we get from that is we getusers creating these credentials. Right. And so as more companies use. And whatwe'll talk about in a minute. The next kind of phase here is, you know, gettingthe, getting the egg, if that's the chicken is then getting users to know theyhave that credential, know they wanna manage it and say, Hey, wait, I you know,these five sources I use all the time, use NuID.
Locke Brown: I can use the samecredential all of them now. And then you know, maybe one of those is a bank orwho knows like an exchange for crypto and they verified your identity. So thenthey'll be able to say, Hey create is at the station that the user can acceptthat says, you know, this credential for Mike Townsend, you know we verify thatit is associated with Mike Townsend on this date.
Locke Brown: He authentic,indicated it using these factors. And we, you know, we went through thisprocess for KYC, whether it's social security number and public record,whatever, and then you can actually authenticate other services. To verify thatso that they no longer actually have to ever ask you for that personalinformation and do the verification process redundantly.
Locke Brown: They don't have to payto do that. They could say, Hey, we trust, you know, Charles Schwab or whoeverit is in terms of their KYC identity, that like verification process thathappened within, you know, some arbitrary, you know, last six months, boom,we're not gonna pay the two to $40 to verify their identity.
Locke Brown: We're not gonna askfor their social security number and the five and the public record questions.We're just gonna say, Hey, you can authenticate this credential. You alreadyhave, we accept it. So what you, and I think hopefully I'm being clear here,but what, what you start to get and build there is a record and a history ofverifications, right?
Locke Brown: So you build thisrobustness of tied to a specific credential, right. Which then becomes the, youknow, verified and accepted, you know, the more it's used, the more of ahistory. It has, the more aestheticians it has the more. Likely it is that itis legitimate. And so you start to build this, you know legitimatelyrepresented and warranted single digital representation of yourself, kind oflike the blue check mark, you know, for the internet mm-hmm , and it's not theTwitter that gets to give you to you.
Locke Brown: Right. It's the, it'sthe world. And, and it's tied to a credential that literally is just public keyinfrastructure. No one controls it or owns it. You just, you know, have apublic reference parameter sitting out there on a blockchain that anyone can goand just say, like, I don't know who this is, but somebody out there, you know,is able to authenticate it if they want.
Locke Brown: That's great.There,
Mike Townsend: Let me just make sureI clarify one point. So what is the, what's the information that me as the userwould provide to the protocol to validate IME? Is there a, there's not apassword, is it, is there a encrypted key on that device? So as long as I'm loggedinto the device or...?
Locke Brown: So authentication isseparate from identity verification, correct? Yep. Understood. And so are, areyou asking specifically about the authentication side .
Mike Townsend: Authentication? Yeah,I understand Charles swab is a really good example.
Locke Brown: Yeah. Yeah. So on theauthentication side, like let's just say, let's say you go to NuIDs developerportal right now.
Locke Brown: Right. Mm-hmm andyou'll just see creating count, like enter, you know, username password. We useNuID obviously. And what happens there on the back end though is that passwordthat you just inputted on device on the device you're at as a user. It will. Itdoes it runs the math and generates what's called zero knowledge proof.
Locke Brown: So it's, you can thinkof it as it's not this, but you can think of it a little bit, like running likehash algorithms, right. Mm-hmm and, and we provide NuID provides clientlibraries and all the, you know, pre-baked integrations on our developer portalfor anybody that wants to deploy it, you know, into their site app, web app,whatever.
Locke Brown: So make it easy. Andso that's all like built into the browser, but the user just sees normalstandard experience. But what doesn't happen, which is what currently happenstoday is there's the password. So in today's paradigm 99, you know, out of ahundred times, what would is that password would be hashed locally, if they'regood, sometimes not, or actually hashed, I'm not and then sent to you know, ourserver.
Locke Brown: And then stored in adatabase with username on, you know, in one column password or the other, maybeit's hashed. It doesn't matter. I mean, LinkedIn got hacked a few years ago andthey had hashed passwords, but 86% or 87% of their hashes were already brokenonline. Like, so like, you know, the hash, the hash of a common used passwordis argument.
Locke Brown: So it doesn't reallyhelp that much. So, but point of the matter is, is like, you're just likegiving it to them to store and then it sits there and it's only useful for thatservice. And then they have this huge database that, and it's the number onemost valuable thing like now for, you know, hackers and it's to get, becauseit's a perpetuating cycle.
Locke Brown: If you get you stealthis list of everyone's, you know, credentials, that's how you get to stealmore shit because people reuse passengers mm-hmm so then you can go unlockeverything else. Most, all these compromises happen because it'll lead youbroken, compromise credential anyway. So it's this terrible cycle.
Locke Brown: But so then whenyou're subsequently authenticate yourself, you know in today's period, I'mstill. you just provide, you know, password that sends it over the wire, itcompares it. And if it's the same, it's like, okay, great. You'reauthenticated. Right? Mm. The NuID totally rewrites. How, how that happens.
Locke Brown: So on the NuID system,you get to that same page, create an account. What happens though on yourdevice? That password is used to, so, so basically it goes through say somelike hashing and all of this is, you know, totally like on open source. So youcan read Allbound online. Nothing's like deep right here.
Locke Brown: And and we actuallyhave patent, we actually got granted patents on this in the us, which is kindof cool that on. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was shocking actually. And but whathappens is, is it generates this proof, so basically you can think of it as theoutput being there's a public parameter long string, right.
Locke Brown: And then yourpasswords just destroyed. So it's not saved there. It's not sent every wire.It's just like literally used to, to just generate some cryptography. And thenwhat happens is, is so, so then you can just post that public, you knowparameter, basically public heat on blockchain. And then when you go to, youknow, authenticate yourself subsequently when you put in your username,whatever, you know, form, that's gonna take that maps.
Locke Brown: And, and that's justkinda what public side that's gonna map to that, you know, that blocktransaction that has that public parameter in it, and then to authenticate it.So like, it'll send that, you know, public parameter to your device. If youprovide the secret in this case, a password in this example, if you providethat, the secret that was used to generate it that only that secret can be thenused to authenticate it.
Locke Brown: So you provide thatsecret to it. And basically it will generate that proof again and just tellyou, it checks out. If you don't provide the correct secret, they won't checkout. And so right. There's no comparison happening on any database. And soyou're never actually sharing your secret with anyone to be stored, so itdoesn't have to be a password either.
Locke Brown: Right? So like any,any factor that has a, you know, repeatable output value. So whether that's alocal biometric, you know, iPhone fingerprint unlocks private key that privatekey can can be used to generate the same exact zero knowledge proof in theexact same way. And so you can have multiple, you know, these ZK zero knowledgecredentials, and you can, you know, as a user, you'll be able to set string inthe other and be like, Hey, like, you know, I'm really paranoid.
Locke Brown: I need 10fingerprints, three passwords, and my mom to like call in. But like and, andyou should be able to set that level of security fact if you'd like for things.And so, so really our, our core, what we do, what are like. our like value hereat most fundamental level is this protocol that is allows for all of thesethings.
Locke Brown: Right. And you can useit however you want. So it's just, it's really just zero knowledge, proofauthentication, right. Coupled with the centralization. Right. And so for thepublic parameters, and
Mike Townsend: I was gonna ask you,is there any way someone, if someone forgot that password forgot thateverything's happening locally, so it's taking the password.
Mike Townsend: It's taking thatbiometrics, it's converting into a hash and used in the device is there is howcould someone screw themselves over here? Cause I'm sure
Locke Brown: people are for sure.Well, so I mean, ultimately right. If someone comes and puts a gun to yourhead, cause you put yourself in a bad situation and says, gimme your password,I'll kill you.
Locke Brown: Like you're probablygonna give a password. Right.
Mike Townsend: What if you completelyforgot if you forgot it entirely.
Locke Brown: Yeah. Sure. So if youforget your password. Then you're just gonna rely on the forgot passwordworkflow of the service you're interacting with that uses NuID. So what willhappen though? I'm background is like, so say, say you're editor developerportal, and you forget happens all the time.
Locke Brown: Forgot the password,click link you get you know, we use email, just forgot password. You can usemagic link. I don't, some people use that. And then I'll get that and I'll hitreset password. And the way that works though technic, like technically is itactually will like blacklist and kill just no longer accept the credential youhad registered and just register a brand new one.
Locke Brown: So you just have anew, newly created cred. But you're not resetting it. You're just saying liketheir system saying we no longer will authenticate that credential. He justregistered a new one.
Mike Townsend: But they have tobelieve the, the, the service receiving that request to reset the password hasto have the, like, I mean, this is obvious to say, but I can't reset yourpassword and then they send it to me because they, is that because of theirdevice ID, like NuID installed my device.
Locke Brown: No. So, well, so greatquestion. So no, this is actually a a point of trust in that service. Right.And so there is a point of failure there, right? That service could totallyjust say they could just like, not care at all.
Locke Brown: They could let someoneelse, you know someone else get your email, they could take advantage of that.And now what's interesting though, is like, even if you use that credentialelsewhere, right. You would only be screwed with this service because it wouldbe that service that's saying, Hey, we're no longer gonna set that one whereyou said it.
Locke Brown: But so fully aware ofthat. I'm gonna go into two things here though. One is where I see this going,cuz there's a solution here and we have plans for it, but I'll first say thatthis this space, you can't go from, you know, zero to a hundred in one step,right? Like passwords are still here.
Locke Brown: Anyone, you know, fiveyears ago when we started, people were telling me like, passwords are deadpasswords, aren't dead. We still use passwords. So like you have to, you haveto work with what exists. You have to make it ultimately frictionless. Right.Right. And and that's why, you know, we have, you, you don't need a NuIDea appif we're not, we're making it so that we actually have people want to use whatwe're providing and it's gonna have incremental efficiency gains and.
Locke Brown: Illuminate, I thinkthe problem and it's gonna get better and like, it'll be, get closer and closerto the in-state optimal state in the future. Like, I mean, it'd be great ifeveryone, you know, tomorrow decided I want public infrastructure, I wannamaintain my own credentials, manage my own identity. And like let's do it.
Locke Brown: That's just ultimatelynot happening. Right. You know? We're not organized as a society like that. Andso, you know, and also like the way we have a kind chicken and egg problemwhere like, if no, if know, I could walk out on the street, if I was targetingjust user and say, Hey, we've got this great new way to, you know,authenticate.
Locke Brown: It's almost like,great. Where can I use it? I'm like nowhere like that doesn't work here. Right.So like, so you so you know, we, we first started and focused on getting, youknow, solving a, a big problem that existed for businesses, right. So that theyuse it and then inherently on the back end, like you're getting all thesepeople creating credentials and they don't even know it yet.
Locke Brown: So you kind of havethis silent onboarding. And then as more and more organizations use ourauthentication, you get to a critical point where then it becomes reallyvaluable for users because now they have this portability option. Right. Andso, so, so that's one example, quick, quick intro.
Mike Townsend: Is there a similarityhere between what you're saying, the value of that network to like Facebookkind of first made this popular with the Facebook connect? Like not to say thattechnology is the same, but similar benefit.
Locke Brown: Well, that'sfederated, right? So that's centralized, that's like federated essentially,like they control it, Facebook controls it, they could shut you off. You haveto trust them. And they ultimately like, see your data, get your data.
Locke Brown: Right, right. Likethere's no anonymity there. And, and we can get to an honest, not down theroad, but I would, I would say I would say that. On the convenience side. Yes.In terms of the, the user experience at these stages that we're at currently onboth they had the right idea. I mean, if I was a multi-billion dollar companytoo, you know, I, I would, I would shove it down people's throats.
Locke Brown: So it makes sense. AndI think that is highly convenient. Right. But here's the difference is you useface, you know, login with Facebook, for everything. Facebook is just likegetting rich on your data and knowing everything you do, how you use it whenyou use it, they own your experience. Right. With NuID, the opposite's true.
Locke Brown: No one can shut youoff. No one can see what you're doing. No one has that data. You choose what toshare. And if you want, you could choose to use different credentials fordifferent services. And they wouldn't be correlatable by email. Like, you know,most logins are now or through your Facebook profile.
Locke Brown: Right. So, so whileFacebook solved a convenience problem in the short order for money and thatregard to the user or the long run. And we're playing the long game here andfiguring out how to solve problems and continuous short orders to get there.And I want, before we lose it, though, I do wanna circle back and answer yourquestion on the forgot password thing.
Locke Brown: Right? Many steps downthe line, you'll be able to have social reset. This is something I'm really,really excited about and it'll actually allow for, so I'm, I'm just gonna plantthis seed here and we can get you like mm-hmm , but is that your NuIDcredential because it's P can serve and be your private key for as a cryptowallet.
Locke Brown: So, so you can secureany crypto asset. With your NuID credential exactly. As you do an accountlogin. So all assets, whether that's access identity cryptocurrencies, digitalassets, all can be based on your NuID, like credentials, your, yourcryptography. And so what this allows for is this idea of social reset and, andkey, which is our, our token that five years running.
Locke Brown: Now, we're finallyabout to launch. And it will actually be like the first recoverable cryptoharassment because of the following, which is where you could say, Hey and thisis because, you know, we're an identity company. You could say, Hey, if I likefor, you know, say I forgot my, you know, my private key, my password, orwhatever, to, to this credential then, and you could pre specify, contact mymom, my sister, and lock ping them.
Locke Brown: And if they allauthenticate, you know, ping their new, I verified identity, their credential.they call you and be like, Hey, like, Mike, are you trying to reset your thing?And you can say, Hey, you could set it. However, you'd like, you could say, youknow, two or three of these people need to authenticate.
Locke Brown: They're alreadycredential that they say yes, Mike is trying to reset his credential. And sothen you're like, yeah, mom. Yeah. Lock like you can authenticate that. That'sme. You do. They do that. Then that will on protocol level blacklist that oldcredential allow you to actually register a new one to that public identifierso that you can recover any crypto asset, any account without relying on anyservice specific workflow.
Mike Townsend: Interesting. And wouldthis be would you see this being one of the problems that crypto I've I'vethought about and haven't heard a good answer to is when people die and theyhave their crypto keys stored and safe and it's like, like people are gonna die.Right? Like, so what happens over the next 20 years?
Mike Townsend: How do you coverthat?
Locke Brown: I, I, I dunno if it'sfunny or not, but I I've, I'm facing this problem in real life. So actuallyI've had two friends pass away over the last year. Who who both participated inour private presale of our token and have, you know, this allocation of key,the token and they're dead now.
Locke Brown: And I actually havegot, I got, I got a letter from the lawyer of the estate of one of them sayingthat I need to sell the, this key Bitcoin thing and write a check tomorrow. I'mlike, okay, well, I can't do that one legally. And so that's a long story, butit's a great question. And so ultimately you could never like force this orrequire it like on a protocol level, but because, because we're building anecosystem and ultimately like you know, anyone can build on your ID, anyone canuse it, and then these like, standards will emerge, but ultimately like, youshould just like, you should, in real life have like the equivalent of likewill right.
Locke Brown: Or like a abeneficiary for something mm-hmm . And so like and, and so I've. We baked thisinto the plans now. And because like my, you know, verified credential willhave an asset station that like will say, you know, that I've like, I'veauthenticated this. That's like this asset goes to this identity, thiscredential.
Locke Brown: So I'll be like, youknow, my sister Carlisle, I know, I know her, her credential, like this is her,you know, verified identity. She's authenticated to me. And I just preset whatgoes where and what, what you could, would end up having outta that is whensomeone dies and, you know, say like say it's like say society.
Locke Brown: At that point, youknow, whether it's 10 years now, five years who. Says that 50 people that haveinteracted with this identity need to like, verify that he's dead. Mm-hmm . Andlike, when that happens, a smart contract will just like, automatically likereallocate those assets to where they go. And so like, as state be handled,like done, there's no probate lawyers and state lawyers and like there's familyfeuds.
Locke Brown: Right. It's just like,no, they extricated it. It's extricated like literally authenticated verifiableby them. And it just like takes care of itself. Like there's no, you know, it'simmutable, there's no fuckery in there. Like, yeah. And so now flip side, likesomeone may just like, not care and not explicate.
Locke Brown: It just like, thereare plenty of people that die these days and don't have wills. Right. Yeah. Andthen I'm sure that like we'll have policies at the time that say like someamount of those with the government , you know, or, or what have you. But Ithink that, I think that ultimately, like, it's good to think about thesethings.
Locke Brown: How do we handle thatnow in society? Like when we transact, but without the digital piece, you know,and how, how, like, what problems do we face when we handle it the way we donow, and do we have the technology and will the systems that are available tous, can we use those to make that system better?
Locke Brown: And so if you thinkabout it that way, it's just like better version of a will, you know, one,that's like not a note that you have to go searching through old folders for,but one that's literally verifiably, expedited and authenticated by theirsocially accepted digital identity that they've maintained for however manyyears.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. Yeah. And Icould see you guys effectively creating the, you know, you build thistechnology of course, but then you also create the guidance to help people makethe decisions. Like some people have bigger social, they have people havedifferent social grasps, right? Like that's, you might say all, all my votingpower is in, you know, my mom, if that's the only living family member or, youknow, maybe it's like, I need two thirds, majority of these 10 family membersor some combination along that.
Mike Townsend: Let me just repeatthat. So, so like, I think, I think of it as like the guidance to help peoplestructure the decision making mechanism, like it's, you know, a hundred percentmy mom, if she says I'm dead, I'm dead. You can take that on. Or it's like, youknow, two thirds, majority of these 10 accounts.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. And it's like,you can help people guide that setup. But I think that that setup will beincreasingly more important in top of mind to people, especially as Bitcoin andcrypto just gets adopted by a wider demographic of people.
Locke Brown: Absolutely.Absolutely. And so, you know, that's something that I don't take lightlybecause I also want, so like, you know so I'm very much principled and careabout like ethos and principles and like sta like what you stand for in thisspace, because it's very easy for.
Locke Brown: You know, someone isbuilding a system like this that gets, you know, to get used and accepted to,to like potentially try and take advantage of it. Right. Or guide someone to dosomething that's just, you know, on an agenda that benefits some company.Right. And so, so I think it's really important to to guide via education, toguide via you know, allowing people to learn and see what it is that they want.
Locke Brown: Right. And so that's,you know, that's why, that's why this is a slow process. Right. That's why, youknow we didn't abide by the, you know, fail fast mentality of Silicon valley,right? Yeah. You know, we were meticulous health, you know, it's taking us fiveyears, right. To get, even to where we're about to launch, you know, our, ourlike the consumer side of things.
Locke Brown: And, and ultimatelyit's, it's not a race, but you know, if you wanna build a foundation for giantsto stand on and build a. A robust infrastructure that can serve as a utility,be dependent on, you know, buy a society. It has to be done, right. Period.Absolutely. Like, you know, from the ground, there's no, no cutting corners andall that.
Locke Brown: And so, so I, I loveexactly what you said and, and suggested, but I don't want to ever find myselfin situation where we're pushing people or rushing people to do things tooquickly because ultimately like people need to understand, you know, whythey're making the decision they do when it comes to things like that andidentity.
Locke Brown: And so, but we'reabsolutely, I mean, we, we had conversations know four years ago about just onthe password side, just on the authentication piece you know, You know, but youknow how some companies like require your passwords to be certain links or likemm-hmm, certain characters like, like we would, you know, suggest and have,like, we were gonna create basically standard policies that like you know,will, we'll say like, this is a bad policy.
Locke Brown: You should, like, youcan do it, but you should know it, you should consider using something moresecure, you know? So I think, I think that, that educating people, why theyshould care about something, make it easy to care about. Not everybody needs toknow what hash function is. I mean, plain in similar way, and you shouldn'tneed to know anything about cryptography to still be able to get the benefitsfrom it.
Locke Brown: So I think, I thinkthat, I think you're absolutely right. And I mean, just like I'd advise people.To ride a will today in real life. Like you know, we very much intend on, so,so gimme had to your point, there's like, so we're about to go into this nextphase and it's super exciting. And it's a long time coming of launching the theuser interface for actually managing these credentials and managing your, youryour assets, your keys which is why the token's called key.
Locke Brown: So it's like kind ofplay on words here and then the key chain eventually down the road, which, sowe're gonna be launching an optimized ledger specifically to store the publicgovernment parameters. So key will be a native token to that. That's, that'sreally down the road, but and I won't go into that.
Locke Brown: Right. A second longstory short, we're gonna be building this, this ecosystem and giving the toolsto the users so that you can go, you can say, Hey, like I want my banks to usethis credential and they need multifactor. And then I can just use thispassword, this password for all of my, like, you know, Reddit or whatever stuffyou know, these accounts and then, you know, to be able to like access my, my,you know, my wallet on this credential, you know?
Locke Brown: So like, and withinall, that will be exactly what you're suggesting, which is educationalmaterial, right? It's like, Hey, don't, you know, and, and, and you could, youknow, this does open source and open course. They're like people can rewritetheir interfaces and all that if they want, but we'll provide default, you knoweasy to use, easy to understand tools and interfaces where it's like, Hey, likeyou might wanna consider you know, making this more robust or verifying thisidentity, or you might wanna consider, you know, creating a social recovery forthis, because if you lose this key right now you know how I was talking aboutlike call mom and whatever, and tell them to authenticate this, you need tosaid that.
Locke Brown: And so like, we'llmake sure. I mean, we're not gonna set people up to fail. Right. And it's justlike I was talking about this recently, you know, with some of the people thatpre purchased a key in our, in our token sale, in the private sale, you know?And they're like, oh, I don't know, are you sure that this wallet's fine?
Locke Brown: Like, cuz we're getting,you know, public key addresses for distribution of token coming up and stuff.And, and I'm telling people like we're here to help you. We're not going toallow, we're not, we're not just gonna say, Hey, like you sent us a badaddress. Like you lost your key, you know, secure. You're done.
Locke Brown: Like, you know, likeI, so it is, there is a care to it ultimately people at the end of the day andthis is, and ultimately you're hitting on and this whole point is kind of atthe crux of why things are the way they are now. Why authentication identityjust like doesn't exist online. And it's because.
Locke Brown: At the end of the day,people do need to be responsible for their own identities. Just like you could,you can, you know, ruin your good name and your reputation as a person in thereal world. Right. Not only that, but like, like you need to be responsible foryour prior keys. So, and people learn that the hard way in crypto.
Locke Brown: Right. You know, youknow? Yeah, yeah. Likes like a million Bitcoin gone from hundred years ago orsomething, but, but that's not easy right now, you know? And so what we'rereally doing are creating the tools to make cryptography accessible by anyone.And so
Mike Townsend: I was gonna ask you,what do you think of the the rise and popularity and use of the passwordmanagers like Dashlane and one password are, do they have any, like, from yourperspective, any vulnerabilities, like if people are storing their crypto keysin there, is that an issue?
Mike Townsend: That's,
Locke Brown: that's an issue. So Iwill say so one just thing is everyone in NuID is forced to use last. Passwordmanagers are a godsend and make life easy. They're great. Because theybasically just make a disaster of a current system, a little bit less of adisaster, right? Yeah. They also, however, you know, in terms of like, what Ithink is like, they perpetuate the problem and what was the last pass?
Locke Brown: Like actually just, welast pass, just actually this was maybe two weeks ago came out saying that theygot, they got hacked which is like, you know, I wasn't even surprised. I mean,so a guy that used to work at NuID would always say there's two types oforganizations, those that have been hacked.
Locke Brown: And those that don'tknow it yet. Wow. Really, really? Oh, absolutely. And I, I could talk aboutthat a lot too, because we actually had a side project a few years ago that wespun off into a operating joint venture subsidiary silent services in cybersecurity space. That did a lot of like cyber diligence for like M atransactions and, and, and all this stuff which was, which was cool.
Locke Brown: And thank God I'm nolonger helping lead that. But oh, it's a disaster. It's, it's, it's, it'scrazy. I mean, so I wasn't surprised at all, you know, like, like the last,like, it's not if, but when I mean that, that stuff just like not secure andit's borderline impossible or a fooled errand to think that you're going to,you know, keep it secure.
Locke Brown: It's like, maybe it istoday, but it's not tomorrow. I mean, ultimately like it's an oxymoron. If youthink about it to share a secret, like, if it's a secret, you shouldn't begiving it to everybody to just save. So they compare it in the future. Right.So it's just like a bad system, ultimately. So it's not surprising, but thatsaid, you know me remembering you know, 140.
Locke Brown: Passwords. And ifthey're secure that they're being like 20 different random digits, right? Likethat, that's an impossible ask, ask, you know,
Mike Townsend: I think a lot ofpeople do store on like last pass, one password Dashlane today for their cryptokeys. And they might have like, even a ledger that like, is that, do you thinkthat's a big mistake?
Mike Townsend: Is that like, kind ofjust the best we have right now?
Locke Brown: I, we take a cryptokeys, like you're talking about the seed, the seed phrases that that should betreated kind of like your most precious items, whether that's in a fireproofsafe, you know, in your basement or in a safety deposit box with your bank.
Locke Brown: If, if, if youactually have anything that you care about on the way I would say it'sabsolutely ill-advised unless it's just, you know, if it's like funny money,like again, it comes down to value, right? Assume
Mike Townsend: High value.
Locke Brown: Yeah, high value. Likeif my livelihood, if my house, if my like, deed in my home and like my, youknow, retirement nest egg, whatever was being back by my private key one, Iwould hope that it's just my NuID, my identity back in it.
Locke Brown: Which would be astring of multiple. I mean, ultimately there's the here's the most optimalauthentication combo is, is two things, two factors. It's something you haveand something, you know, mm-hmm. So whether that is a fob on the key chain plusa password or that's, you know, a password plus you know, a my phone, me doingmy biometric unlock, private key on there require just setting something torequire one of each something I have and something I know that's, that's whatyou want.
Locke Brown: That, that means like,you know, I can be knocked out, you know, no one's gonna be able to get what Iknow. I, you know, and no one remotely can get what I have. So, so, you know,that's, that's, that's the dream state right there. So. Putting all your eggsin one basket is usually not a great idea for everything, unless you're justlike, you know, big, big risk on kind of guy.
Locke Brown: And I sure as helldon't trust password managers, because they're also literally putting targetson their heads. Right. Like, so, I think that's a really terrible idea is myshort answer.
Mike Townsend: Yeah, really? Yeah.See seed phrases included. And so you'd go like ledger
Locke Brown: Seed phrases are, are,are the keys to the house, right. keys to the castle. Yeah. And, and you know,these, these you know, these wallets and action, whatever, they're not justsaying this to be like over the top when they say don't screenshot this. Yeah.Like don't print this, write it fucking down. Ultimately like you should likeyour master seed phrase to like, like the credential that you're going to havevalidated and let that serve.
Locke Brown: Like probably, andgenuinely as like, what you'll say is my name like that. Your representation ofyou, you should just have that seed phrase. If, if it was to be a seed phrasememorized,
Mike Townsend: I wouldn't trustmyself. I almost would trust myself Lisa memorizing it. Cause if I don't lookat it for a couple years.
Locke Brown: You use you have itsave deposit box for anything, or do you save at home or do you have likeorganized chaos and shit just hidden the mess, whatever, whatever it is todaythat you keep is your method for the most like valuable thing that you need tosecure.
Locke Brown: That's what you shoulddo with like your most valuable private key or seed generation.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. I kind of thinkit has opened up a whole new it's like, you know, the accelerated bankrobberies, the most was the, was the car, cuz people could BA there's somefamous story of this where they like would just, yeah.
Mike Townsend: You know, do heistwith these, the car getaway, the car, and all the horses are like way in thedust. And it's like, I kind of think Bitcoin and just the whole idea of thefirst wave of decentralization is like, here's my public address on chain, notmy home address. And then you know exactly how much in there.
Mike Townsend: And if, if you knowmy, if you know my public address key, now, all you gotta do is know where Ilive. And then there's like, you know, as many ways to do that, like many ofthe deeds for all the public property purchases are tied. Your name in thepublic records.
Locke Brown: It's like, I know man.It's oh man, there's a whole can of worms there. I mean, we're gonna need like.At least three days of nonstop talking to get different.
Mike Townsend: Well, let me ask youthis. Do you, do you feel like the end zone here is is like some something youhave something, you know, so there's some, it's like, is it bioinformatic bio,it's gotta be tied to your, your body, right.
Mike Townsend: It's the only thingyou can't lose. I mean, really it's the closest thing to you? Retina scans?
Locke Brown: I mean, I, so, well,so there's a couple things here, right? So I would argue something, you know,is better because if, if I have biometrics compromised, I just SRE off myfingerprints or have my eye replaced, like Tom cruise did and you know,minority report.
Locke Brown: And that doesn't soundgreat. Whereas a password I can blacklist an old one and register a new one. SoI mean, actually this is, I don't know if you're familiar with the OPM hacksome years back a bunch of our three letter acronym agencies bunch of Americanswith top secret clearance, multiple thousand of them their biometric data wascompromised and they all lost their jobs, lost their clearance.
Locke Brown: Some of 'em died inIndia. Not long after that, the equivalent, this, I, I don't know what it'scalled, but it's, I think it's the equivalent like DMV, I don't know whatsystem it is exactly over the name of it in India, but some multi hundredmillion Indian citizens. They, they had been using biometric data.
Locke Brown: Right. And that gotcompromised. And unlike again, password like your fingerprints, yourfingerprint, you know, and that's fucking change. Yeah. If, if my fingerprintscompromised, if that data's compromised, like I'm like, I'm, I'm sure it's how,like I'm not gonna, you know, using this anymore. So biometrics are not ashappy go lucky, fun.
Locke Brown: And you know, thefuture Futureproof as as, as some people might, you know, suggest and that'swhy, I mean, that's why ultimately passwords are not going away, like as onewhole thing, because
Mike Townsend: they're not, they'renot, they're not that much worse than BI bioinformatics anyways.
Locke Brown: Well, that's right.
Locke Brown: And, and well, and thebenefit, really, if you think about it. So for so, so, so what's interestingand, and these are two things. So, so like a bio a biometric there's somethingthat's static, like a fingerprint retina scan, whatever is one, one area, butthen you also have like, behavior, right?
Locke Brown: Mm-hmm like, what isyour typing style? How do you type your password? That is a like measurablething. Oh, that's interesting. So there's all these areas of and livelinesstesting and checking, right? Like video, not just face scan. Right? So there'sall these different forms of authentication factors coming out.
Locke Brown: And I love talking tothese newcomers. Like we we have a partnership we've explored. Some zeroknowledge biometric stuff with, with one company that does they do facial workcondition stuff. Right. And you know, now going into details of it all, like,you know, we were going down this path of, okay, so like how do you represent,you know, a face, right.
Locke Brown: Ultimately, you know,so let's say for instance, it create, you know, the, the system breaks down aface and these components output say string of say like 500 you know, digits.Right. And because, because a password, you know, is discreetly repeatable. Solike I 10 digit password, those 10 digits will be a hundred percent exactly thesame if I enter it correctly every time.
Locke Brown: Right. If your face isgetting scanned by different cameras and different light and all. the dataoutput of that algorithm. That's processing image is going to have Delta to theone time that it's comparing to. So you're, so you're not having a discretematching, so, right. So but you need to turn it into something discrete mm-hmmultimately right, because it's a computer processing.
Locke Brown: So, so say, say breakface down into 500 digits. Right? Well, the way it works is somebody specifiesbased on some arbitrary, like what feels good enough, you know, 90% match, 95%match, whatever that threshold is to consider it like, yeah, that's, that's probablythat's them, you know what I mean? Yeah. And so that's all fine, Andy.
Locke Brown: But what we wereexploring is, and you know, this will just kind of plant the seed for where I'mgoing with this is, is if that output of say a face scan can order those digitsso that, you know, if scan B varies by say 10% from scan. that differentiationis all say at the end of the string.
Locke Brown: So their first, youknow, 450 digits all are the same. And then all the variation comes after.Right? And so like, if it's, if I was trying to verify my facing is yours, itwould probably like have the first 40 or whatever 20 digits, the same as we'rehuman. We're both, you know, we're both human, like a bird might get onedigits, but then the recipe.
Locke Brown: So if you could, ifyou have ordered output like that, then what you could do is you couldliterally use that the NuID protocol as a zero knowledge biometric as aregister, as a credential and have truly like user own portable biometricsbecause you could just have it say, you only take the first 450 digits of this500 dig screen string register that as a private key to a zero knowledgecredential.
Locke Brown: Right. And then that'srepeatable discreetly. Right. So, so, and, and I'm not saying that's theanswer. Cause there are like, there's there's concerns there that, that. It'skind of cool. Yeah. So sorry if I went off on a, on tangent there, but my pointis, I guess what we do, like we don't touch factors.
Locke Brown: Right?
Mike Townsend: Right. You're takingthose as inputs. You're taking the results of the hat of that.
Locke Brown: We support any factorwe support. Yeah. NuID will allow you to, you know, compose any combination ofwhatever factors that you, you can come up with out there. And, and, you knowwe're all about the users being able to have ownership of like guaranteed of,and, and, and having interoperability.
Locke Brown: And that's reallyimportant, you know, having that identity representation and data that youwant, you know, associated with it and crypto assets, everything the other lineto be able to be useful in everything that you do. Right. Like, you know whichis, which is the beauty of public key infrastructure.
Locke Brown: It, yeah. Anyone canuse it, everyone can use it. It works. And and so that's how, how big is, yeah.So you know what we do and we know what we want. Like, I love authenticationand stuff, but like, that's not what I'm good at. Like you know, so like wejust support anyone that's coming up with the next best way to do it.
Locke Brown: But I will tell youthis, like, I, I I would be wary about, you know, one, you gotta think aboutlike where you screen you know, private keys now, now again NuID makes itright, because, because you are your private key, right? With NuID, you don'thave this long string or seed freight generation.
Locke Brown: But you have you'recredentially registered. So you don't need to worry about saving that on lastpass or whatever, like your identity, like if you use a biometric on yourphone, iPhone, the unlocks your product key, then that's registered as a zeroknowledge proof. Like ultimately, like you don't have anything to remember.
Locke Brown: That's just, that isyour bio key. Mm-hmm so like what we're like kind of making it again. When Isay making like cryptography easy, it's like, you don't have to deal with that.Like whole, like, you know, go, I put this new piece of paper in my safetydeposit box. Mm-hmm now that being said, I wanna make clear here because I, youknow, people, I could be called out for this.
Locke Brown: If I have my entire,like, life's like net worth value, everything I care about digitallyrepresented, which inevitably is where we're going. Right. And like, whetherthat's government owned Facebook owned, or I get to own my own which, you know,I prefer the ladder obviously. Like we're going that way.
Locke Brown: And ultimately like,someone's gonna be responsible for it. And if you don't care enough to beresponsible for like a. Your good name and all of the value that you have inthis world. Then you're gonna, like the only, like other possibility is thatyou're trusting someone else to take care of it for you.
Locke Brown: And so you know, ifyou want that to be Facebook great, mm-hmm, , that's your choice. I don't and Idon't trust them and if I trusted him today, which I I don't necessarily knowthat I will in 10 years mm-hmm cuz I don't know that they're gonna have my bestinterest. So like ultimately you don't want this stuff centralized.
Locke Brown: You want a protocol,that's the beauty of standards and open protocols. But I will tell you that Ipersonally, in managing it for myself would want one really complicated Cgeneration phrase or something like that. Some long like something very secure,right? That's not just like the, you know, a 10 digit password as my likemaster key mm-hmm master credential that, you know, essentially protects mylike true identity.
Locke Brown: And I would like. Youknow, I wouldn't tell you publicly on this podcast where I'm gonna keep that.
Mike Townsend: Yeah, yeah, yeah,yeah. But you would, would you, would you, would it make sense for people towrite that, like does writing it in a safe or just like, I guess, whatever youfeel most comfortable, right. It's a personal preference.
Mike Townsend: Whether you feel likeyou wanna...
Locke Brown: I mean, you need toput it somewhere. Yeah. That you're gonna know where it is. Don't act like, youknow, 10 years from now, you're gonna remember like what, you know, likecollege notebook, you stuffed this in. Yeah. I've lost multiple, like priorseed wallets, crypto wallet.
Locke Brown: But I have like allthe, all the hard drives just in case everyone. But yeah. I mean like where doyou keep your birth certificate? Where's your social security card. Yeah. Youknow, where's your deed to your house. Like keep it with that stuff.
Mike Townsend: Yeah, yeah, yeah,yeah. Yeah. That makes sense. And maybe, you know, the idea of like, not allyour eggs, one basket too.
Mike Townsend: Maybe it makes senseto like have a combination.
Locke Brown: That's what I'm like.Yeah. I mean, ultimately I have like probably, you know, for multiple cryptowallets, for instance, I have. On paper more like, and like with copies, I havelike, you know, my like same with my, the deed to my house. Like, and I haveone like literally like buy my laundry machine.
Locke Brown: And then I give like,you know, some wallet keys are in like certain notebook back pockets and then,and then I've got something to safe, you know? It's like, so like, whatever,again, like if you're someone that tends to already cognizantly take, you know,care of managing these things, you're gonna probably be fine.
Locke Brown: Yeah. Because youmanage 'em already, if you like, aren't used to like, caring about each otherthings. If you're the kind of person that, like, I don't know where my socialsecurity guard is. I don't know where my birth certificate is. Like, you knowthen like you should consider the implications of not caring about these things.
Locke Brown: And you shouldconsider like, what happens when, you know When you lose your private keys,it's not just like some funny play money online from when you're buying drugsor something, but becomes, you know, the title to your car. Mm-hmm and maybelike the socially accepted identity. Right. And someone steals your identityand then, you know, college tax return for you.
Locke Brown: And like, you know,people don't really think about identity theft until it happens to them. Yeah.And so, you know, you don't think it could ever happen to you until you, untilyou have a really bad time.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Iwould've asked, so
Locke Brown: I, I, I think that,yeah. Oh my God. There's just horror stories out there.
Locke Brown: Yeah. Identity thefts.Yeah. I mean, and whatever that really means right now, because like, I didn'teat that for now is just like somebody often came themselves as you to, with aspecific service to do whatever it is they're doing, you know? But like, I meanpeople, oh my God, like this is a disaster. I mean, it's not even theft, but Ihave an identity issue that's outrageous.
Locke Brown: Right? Like, so theIRS literally thinks my birthday is a. Different than it is. And like it'scause this huge problem it's it is a disaster and they're like, you know, theysend you on some unending ESCAP with social security administration to try toyeah. To fix it. And then, you know, you'd go down this like 17 different likephone number, like pat, press one for this or that, that, and you get to like,Seventeen's like goodbye.
Locke Brown: And you're just like,okay, that's cool. And, and then they're like, you know, I like, literally Iwas like, so I check my birth. Like how, how are these two systems? How is thebirth certifi media system, the social security system and the IRS database,like not referencing the same truth. Yeah. Which should be the same birth.
Locke Brown: Yeah. Because theyjust claim different things. Yeah. It's like, okay, like, yeah, that's great.There's no synchrony. See that's, that's, that's the fragmented centralizedsystem we have for everything identity related. Every, every different servicemaintains their own record. And it doesn't matter if it differs from anotherservice.
Locke Brown: And so you've got,you've gotta deal with all these independent, you know accounts that don't talkto each other. They don't have a standard you know, model, right. So that's,that's what we're doing. We're creating a standard model that for, when I sayinteroperability, I mean, it allows, you know, me to take my identity with meand say, I'm me to any service.
Locke Brown: And they can, like,they don't need to go buy like a NuID software package to be able to referenceit. Right. It's like literally public infrastructure. Yeah. It's, it's what,it's the, it is the kind of the open code of the internet that we've always hadthat we haven't used for like literally what it's best for.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. Yeah. I thinkthat's, I think the point you made with the social is where I, where I find is,well, number one, I think it's fascinating to have the ability to choose thedifferent preferences that you want based on how important, what your story is.The other thing I think is really interesting is using your social network in aIn a programmatic predetermined way to, to access your identity.
Mike Townsend: Like, that's, that'sreally interesting because it's like, that's the thing, ultimately that youcare most about that you probably trust more than anything. It's like, I trust,you know, my mom a lot. I trust myself a lot. I trust my mom a lot, but what Itrust even more than her is the sum total of her, my dad, my brother, all thepeople together.
Mike Townsend: Yes. So like, even ifI get in a terrible fight with her and she wants to take all my money. Yeah. Isay seven. Right, right. Exactly. Like if, if, if seven out of 10 peoplecoordinate together, my closest people in my life that you, like, I probablyshould have it taken away anyways. Like, I don't know. I just like, whateverI've done at that point is almost so bad.
Locke Brown: The world would've tobe out to get. Yeah. But see, you have to authenticate the request. They can'tjust go do anything. Right. Unless you've authenticated that request too. So,so I, yeah, I think, I think it's I think that is the valuable piece though,too. And you know, it's interesting to your point too.
Locke Brown: It's like, just, ifyou think about it, it's like it's a solution to identity, but that, thatsystem that you just described, right. We've been talking about is socialnetwork requires a system of identity to exist. Right? All those people, yourmom, they have to have a, an owned digital identity that they can authenticatein order to actually authenticate that request for me.
Locke Brown: Right. So the so yougotta get the ball rolling. That's what we're doing. Right. So we can't haveall these, like if we try to come out and just roll, you know, the end game outat the beginning, mm-hmm yeah. Too much. You'll never get. Yeah. Yeah, totally.And that's, and that's, you know, when I say bridging like web two web threeto, you know, web in and.
Locke Brown: It's also bridginglike, you know, the crypto libertarian individual grassroots guy with, youknow, the, the investment makers, right? Like the, the enterprise and, andtruly having a system that just like straight up is more secure, moreconvenient, easier and better for like, like the, it needs to be something thatjust solves people's problems.
Locke Brown: And, and so you know,that's where it starts. And then, and then as you have people use it, youunlock, I mean, I can't, even if we had another hour, I couldn't even tell youI've got a, I've got a deck. I, I have two decks that literally talk exactlyabout the implications of, you know, identity enabled services that we don'teven think about yet, that, that we'll be able to, you know, be unlocked and,and we can have as a society, once you have a system like this.
Locke Brown: Yeah. Once you havedependable identity like, you know, like then you have e-voting right, right,right. You know, and you can, the efficiencies are insane.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. So, yeah, itdoes. I mean, I'm just, I'm sure you think about it all the time. So you, youprobably think like, is this, you know, I, I, if I'm in your shoes, I'mthinking like, am I, am I really working on something this important, but itdoes feel like the cart ahead of the horse.
Mike Townsend: That's weird to hearabout. It's like, it's like, well, really the cart ahead of the horse parableis like, we see the, the upside potential of having a decentralizationdecentralized world. But you have to, you have like, I think you're right ontaking your time because you have to get it perfect.
Mike Townsend: Because it's the mostimportant thing that everything else builds on top of like you all thepotential that people talk about web three and there's a lot of criticism now.It probably spurred by the fact there be that term is master. Yeah. Yeah. Andit's like, well, the criticism is, is because of the development has beenslower than people may have thought.
Mike Townsend: And the hype has beenover exaggerated.
Locke Brown: Yeah. Yeah. But no, I,I think it's too fast right now. I like, and that's why, that's why, I mean, ithas to be, you have to, it just has to be done, right? Yeah. If it's gonna worklike shit crumbles, when you build on shit that can crumble. Right, right.Right. Because if you're building a skyscraper, you're building a skyscraper.
Locke Brown: Right. And you wannaparty on the, you know, 200, the top, the top floor, or have the penthouse, youbetter hope that foundation was fucking solid. Like, you know what I mean? Likeyou have so many things built on it and if that's a house of cards, like youdon't even think about like the foundation, you just expect it to be done.
Locke Brown: Right. Right. But youknow, you Flint, Michigan, like, you know, it would suck to get like led inyour water. You just, you wanna trust your utilities. Yeah. Like you want theFalt to, you know, have clean water. When you turn on, you want your, you know,again, I I'm off the power grid, but you want your power to be on your lightsgone when you come.
Locke Brown: And so, you know, Isay, and I view what we're building as, as a public utility. Yeah. Ely as core.And and, and, and, and as a public utility, as utility companies, we're meantto be, and this has gotten kind of bogged and slogged by bureaus, but likeverifiably, like all the books are open. The codes are like it, it needs to beable to be checked if people want to, obviously, but ultimately like, you know,oh, I mean, like, man, I you don't know how many times I've been told, like,gotta get to market faster revenue, revenue, revenue, like whatever.
Locke Brown: I'm like, dude, dude,dude. Yeah. This is. This, this like with authentication, we're not buildinglike, you know, Farmville version four, I'm
Mike Townsend: it? Can't yeah. Yeah.I'm surprised even interacting with people. Yeah. Cause to me like, yeah, youcan't, I dunno, I don't consider myself nearly at the level you aretechnically, but at least I understand that what you're building is sofoundational to everything else that I would be, I would like don't invest inthis.
Mike Townsend: If you think we needto get to market super fast. Like it's just,
Locke Brown: oh, I am my dad. Imean, and I like, I mean, I I've definitely pissed people off, you know, beforein terms of just like you know, pushing something back, whatever I'm like, whylike, why internally? I was like, why would I like do this? Just because like,you're in a hurry like that, like this again, like we're not gonna startourselves again.
Locke Brown: Look I say, I played along game and I played a win. And I'm stubborn on vision and I'm flexible onthe journey because ultimately like we're gonna take the path that's going intojust there. And it may be a long windy path, but ultimately. If you cutcorners, you're not gonna have that foundation to rely on for yourself.
Locke Brown: And, and again, withauthentication and shit like this, like you fail once you're done, like thiscan't fail, you know, imagine like, imagine if you know, someone hacked ourlogin like NuID, you know, we deploy NuID for portal and someone just like,owns it. You don't recover. Like you don't recover.
Locke Brown: No, you're done. Like,yeah, you fail. Once you're done is a game of perfection. This is like, this iswhy I love the game at geometry boards. It's like, you fuck up once you like,it's like it demands perfection. See how long you got.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. How many timesyou have to crack, how many times you have to crack the safe, you could try athousand times.
Mike Townsend: You crack it onceyou're in. It's like all trust is
Locke Brown: gone. Yeah. Yeah.Yeah, no. And you know, like right now with PKI, it would take like youraverage computer, I think 11 or 12 billion years to like hack one ofthese.
Mike Townsend: Is quantum computinglike an actual concern on, or is it just too dis? No. Cause then
Locke Brown: we'll have quantum.
Locke Brown: No, so like I get, somodularity is future. Not only does it need to be perfect, but it needs to befuture proof is what I call it. Meaning if we could just hot swap in theprotocol and if the community, if the world's like, this is a good idea, thenwe, we just like upgrade, you know live, you know, take this, you know, hashalgorithm, put this one in, put in quantum hash algorithm.
Locke Brown: So like, if quantumcomes around, like the it's not just the attackers to get it, you know, likewe'll just be making a quantum complex cryptography, you know, model. So I, I'mnot worried about like people say you should be because I'm not gonna still beusing like SSHA one when we have, you know, like yeah, true
Mike Townsend: as. Yeah. Like you'renot gonna fall asleep for 20 years. We
Locke Brown: we'll be, we'll beupgrading as fast, like, you know, with the, with, with the technology. So, soeverything's like hot swappable or like or like could, you know upgradeable,modular components. Right. And so like, you know, Uhha 2 56, which is like whatthe world uses right now.
Locke Brown: And that's whatBitcoin uses. That's what hashing algorithms typically like that that's yourstandard hashtag algorithm, right? That society accepts because S a one someonefound, you know, a way to like, make it less secure. So we upgraded. Yeah. Andthe world uses the upgraded version now. And so like when inevitably, you know,we have quantum computing and faster computers, even maybe before that, whenthat becomes like what we as society deems is like too risky.
Locke Brown: It would take two lesslittle time to be a tag reforce. We just, we just up it to the next level, likeswap in the, the next one. Totally. Which you know, could just be well. Yeah.So, so I'm not worried about that. Ultimately like, was kind of concern.
Mike Townsend: The only, the onlylike big risk there is like, if somebody, like, if somebody's just covertlyworking on this for so long, like if, if the Chinese or aliens come down,they're like, guys, you could you using shot 2 56?
Mike Townsend: Like I'm taking allyour Bitcoin and go back to my .
Locke Brown: We just fork it andsay, nah, industry from that block you're community did with E classic. Yeah.Right. You're like, oh, that guy micro shit is like, no, no, let's be abouthistory.
Mike Townsend: Ah, yeah. It's almostlike that's probably how it'll splinter. That's how it'll fork.
Mike Townsend: Well, that's that'syeah.
Locke Brown: I mean, that'sultimately, if you think about, if you think about like smart contracts andcode and stuff and, and, and, you know, sources of proof being in blockchainand coding about all this is like, you know, intent versus execution. Like thisis what we have, like courts of law for and judges and at the highest levelSupreme court judges today, and ultimately in the, in the crypto world,blockchain.
Locke Brown: Decentralized world,the community is the judge. And if 90% people say Uhuh, like, like that was abifurcation of intent versus execution. We just say, no, no, nah, like we'renot gonna uphold that. You just took advantage of that. We're gonna go rightback the split second before you smarty pants, just like hacked our shit.
Locke Brown: And we're gonna fixthat little air loophole and say your world where you think you have all of ourcoin. No one cares. That's not real. Mm-hmm and we're gonna just like pick backup from there and like fix it. Yeah. And, or, or the community like sometimes.Right. And, and we might be about to see this with the E 2.0 upgrade is gonnabe really fascinating.
Locke Brown: Sometimes he classic,you know, back in, I think it was 2017. I wanna say. When a guy hacked one ofthe first dowels for like 250 million, I was watching his live at the time. Andand then, you know, a large portion of the community. The, the biggest portion.Was like, nah, screw that. Like, we're gonna just like, literally go back tothe block right before he did that.
Locke Brown: Because the peoplethat were kind in charge had a bunch of their money taken and say, we're gonnafix that and say like that's invalid and continue to chain from there so thathe doesn't get, oh, that's interesting. But there was a whole fucking, a whole,you know, subset of the community that still exists today.
Locke Brown: That I actually verymuch align with in a lot, which is that said, Hey, no, no, no, this guy did it.He didn't, he didn't break anything. He didn't hack anything. He just foundthat you wrote your code wrong, your contract, literally just put the wrongmemory. Like it's like the contract was written as it was and executed as itwas written, but whoever wrote it just didn't write it to execute as theywanted, as they thought they intended to.
Locke Brown: Right, right, right.And so this guy just, just literally just did what the contract, let him. And,and execute on it and they're like, he gets to keep it. We support that. Yeah.Yeah. And so, and so there was this split, and so then you had Eve classic whosaid he gets to keep what he like, you know, discovered.
Locke Brown: And we're maintainingthat as, as true in history and then the other side of the community, the otherone. So, so if you, so you end up with large enough you know, agreeablecommunities on that bifurcate and split on what you know, should be like whatthe record shows in the history of like, time. You, you can have two parallelversions.
Locke Brown: Well, this,
Mike Townsend: this that's almost, tome that feels like a, it's like an on chain government. BLL where like onchain, like the free market, right? The right here by parallel, right? The freemarket operates in the banking world. And then they say, well, we don't likethis massive downturn that's happening.
Mike Townsend: Government's gonnacome in intervene. But the thing is like off chain, we all have to just goalong with it cuz we're all we can't just like fork the world. And I think thesame thing is, is, is, but this is like different on chain where like you canbe in the one community you can be in the other.
Mike Townsend: Whereas it seems likewe're we're head, you can head to a trajectory where you can just fork, join ateam and then pick your team. And then like, because even now like direct democracyin the democracy today, 51% like the left votes, some guy in power. And like,we go that way. There is no forking. Like you
Locke Brown: can't do it with itright now, now.
Locke Brown: So I agree with youunless they're both strong enough to persist for a long time, but eventuallyit's most likely one dies out. It's fascinating still today though, havingseen, like, I never would've expected that E classic continues to persist aslong as they have and maintain that. Because, but like that, like that, I thinkthat, but like I said, it's like, it's like the Supreme of Supreme courts whenyou, when you have true, like that societal level communities a large enoughone that has support forever, you know what I mean?
Locke Brown: That you actuallycreate this verification and, and you, and so it could only be for like thebiggest things, right. Yeah, because like, ultimately, like, you know, I couldsay, Hey, well, like I don't like that, you know, somebody got my Bitcoin, soI'm gonna fork it, but it's like, then I'm just the only one by myself on thisfork that, so that mean I'm delusional with my own world.
Locke Brown: And my reality is thegood reality, but no one else is in it. Yeah. You know, then you're the crazyone. Yeah. Yeah. So, so like, it's gotta be the, you know, so, so it's reallyonly these rare occurrences and it happens when there's a real. Fault toprocess, right. In terms of ...
Mike Townsend: Like, like to gimme areaction to this one.
Mike Townsend: So say decentralizedTwitter, we're all on it. It's all like cryptographically, blockchain builtfrom the ground up. Then Trump joins, Trump says some shit that some peopledon't like, and half the community is like ban him the other half's like, don'tban him. And it's like, well, we're gonna fork one.
Mike Townsend: Side's gonna ban him.And then everyone else is gonna go on like Twitter classic.
Locke Brown: Right? Yeah. So allthe I'll I'll I'll I'll cop out by saying Trump should have just literally madehis last tweet. I'll be tweeting from my website, Donald trump.com for now onyou can read what I wanna say there and no one can filter
Mike Townsend: me.
Mike Townsend: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Imean he probably, he probably just wasn't, you know, he's not like tech savvylook,
Locke Brown: but no, I know, butmy, I guess my point there ultimately is that. Twitter is a company that'sprivately owned, right? Like it say it is a company and they do whatever thehell they want. It's not a public utility.
Locke Brown: They don't have anobligation to like, give everyone whatever they want. Right. And so Twitter dowhatever the hell they want. And if you're just upset that they're not givingyou what you want, then you're like the guy, you know, in the nicest restaurantin America, without shoes telling, being told, get the fuck out.
Locke Brown: Like, you know, like Ilike, yeah, you don't like, sorry, no shirt, no shoes, no service. Get the fuckout. Like, it's like yeah, I, you, you AB service. So, so, so decentralizedTwitter resume make sense to me because decentralized shouldn't be a companyit's gotta be a protocol, an infrastructure, a, a public good.
Locke Brown: Right. And so like,that's why, that's why it's so like, there's the key foundation, the NuIDs, acompany that helps make it easy to access and use if people want to use theselike API level services, but the protocol is a protocol and it's out there.Yeah. You know, for what we're doing. It's a technology.
Locke Brown: And so, so I thinkthat it's important to know what you're buy into. Right. And that's why I thinkdecentralized Twitter is really, if you bring it down, it should be just aname, service system, like where, like, you can say whatever you want tied tolike, you know, your identity of people, but they wanna follow it, like great,like and whatever your interface is to that great Twitter can make the perfectcopy, you know, of the user interface that just allows people to like say whatthey want from their like public key and figure out based identity.
Locke Brown: Right. And so then youdon't have this internship, but if you were someone that like wanted it, youcould have this, like, you know, an overlay and say filter out people. I don'tlike, yeah, I don't wanna see anything said by, you know, Republicans, whateveryou want, you know, you can make it, you can, you can choose to ignore anyone.
Locke Brown: Right. I will saythough, on, on a, I think a very valuable note related to that is. The copswere like trolling, you know, and stuff. If you had, if you had verifiedidentity, right. That you followed anywhere, took with you I could say, youknow, say I go to some random forum or whatever, read it. I could say, I don'twanna see any comments from someone that's anonymous.
Locke Brown: Like I only wanna seecomments by people that like will tie it to their like good name, so that thenyou have accountability for stuff. And that, as it in itself will make trollingless popular. Like, because like you just get ignored and like you can't likekind of like, yeah,
Mike Townsend: yeah. I've, I'vethought about this too.
Mike Townsend: I think you could alsoget, I think trolling is like, Like tier one shitty behavior, but I think tiertier two, tier three is like physical, physical threats of like PR realviolence and dosing. Like here's lock's address. I could figure out as like, ifhere's all the most intimate knowledge bottom it's on chain, I think you couldlike bake it into the protocol to have like, almost a jury of the peers wherethere's like 12 randomly selected people of the community that, you know, showup and they cast a vote.
Mike Townsend: So it's not, it's notmob mentality. It's like randomly selected, distributed something. Like
Locke Brown: that's exactly whatbasically like the, and, and I'll just point this teaser out there. It's likethe key foundation. So while we're launching, we're actually a week from today,I think it's it's Monday. Yeah. We're actually having our first like offeringIEO of key public sale.
Locke Brown: And this has literallybeen planned since like 2017 of, of our token for the like we're launching. Thebasically, I consider that the start of the NuIDentity ecosystem, which is openfor, you know, anyone to develop on used all the tools, everything. So but thefoundation side of things, whole point and mission is to educate, plant theseeds of thinking about things just like that.
Locke Brown: So that the comcommunity cannot begin to allow for standards to emerge. Cause one thing I justwanna say is like top down standards creation is not a thing that doesn't work.It's not a standard true standards that persist have to emerge throughutilization and being used and becoming a actual accepted standard.
Locke Brown: And so that they needto be right. Right. So like, I mean, who am I to say? That's like, you know ajury 12 or whatever, whatever it is, but, but, but I wanna get thatconversation so that like what work like so that we can start to have. The kindof optimal solution for those kind of things, ironing out emerge.
Locke Brown: And like what, what webuilt is the most fundamental foundation. Like well, I guess no computing,electrons, maybe that, but we have built a a new layer on the foundationalinfrastructure level much kind of lower than, than what a lot of people arethinking about these days to enable this really.
Locke Brown: And then that allstarts with getting PK outta people's hands. So like you, that's a great point.I'm trying to like, figure out how to like, not go down the, I love talkingabout this
Mike Townsend: stuff. Yeah, yeah.Yeah. Well, it's just, it's so it's so relevant, right? It's like all the, allthe trivial shit that people fight about is like, okay, if you just boil itdown, ask five, why's get to like the root of where it's gonna go.
Mike Townsend: Do you follow biologyat all? Or any of the network, state stuff?
Locke Brown: I mean, a short answeris yes. But what did you say? Biology biology
Mike Townsend: on Twitter.
Locke Brown: Oh, oh, oh, sorry. No,not, not
Mike Townsend: really. No. I only saycuz it's like everything we're talking about. He, he does, he's just recentlycome out with this book and he like does a bunch of podcasts and it's it's,it's a lot of forethought that goes into this, this kind of thing he describes.
Mike Townsend: And it's like verymuch the it's like how current societal structure, organizational structures,like mesh with the technology that's we're currently capable of and buildingout. And it's like what the, the implications of that are not random. They'remassive, but they're not random. Oh,
Locke Brown: you know? Yeah. Imean, it sounds right in my alley.
Locke Brown: I actually lookedforward very much. I kind of feel like I'm coming up for air and then I'velived like under a rock by design for for at least a couple years now, if notmany years and have had to like, you know with sadness, give up Payingattention to some things that I either used to do or would like to do.
Locke Brown: And, and very muchhave, have either recently or am soon to be kind of closing out certain eras,like kind of at a, a inflection point in a way of, or at least for me where mytime goes and, and I'm, I'm getting to kind of come up a little bit more than whereI've been. You know what I mean?
Locke Brown: Like, you know, sixyears ago I was sitting in, you know, a basement with six whiteboards doingmath. We are night, and then, you know, that's not what I do today. Right. Sothings that can mm-hmm change dramatically. And I do look forward to engagingwith thought leaders and people that I put a lot of thought into, into some ofthese you know, where the implications are and like some of the thoughtexperiments that need to be done to arrive at, you know, thinking through likewhat may be the optimal either procedure, method, process solution for thesekind of individual, you know, mm-hmm, things that need yourself and take careof whether that's what you know like the jury on chain or, you know, the wills,the Testament, the beneficiaries, all that.
Locke Brown: And, and but, but I, Iwould also continue this, like we needed a platform for that stuff to be like aapplied adjudicated. Like we could sit in about what, how it should be all day,but like you know, how do you reconcile? What is with what should be mm-hmmand, you know, like, everybody wants to tell you about how things should bethings.
Locke Brown: Aren't how they shouldbe, you know? And it's like, okay, well, like first I think it's important tolike, understand why things are the way they are, because they are, things arethe way they are. That's just fact. And like, if you think they should bedifferent, how do we, how do we, how do we reconcile that gap?
Locke Brown: And I think that Ifeel like there's so many things that should be different. We need an avenue,you know and, and our current, you know, internet ver the version of internetthat, you know, we use today. Definitely. Isn't hasn't been, I, I guess readyto allow anybody to go and have a a medium to actually have like, productiveconversation on these kind of things and, and in, and in a way that allows 'emto put it into action and used, right.
Locke Brown: And crypto the advent,you know I mean, it's happening, it's all, it's all part of the process. Andlike, you know, it's awesome to see how, you know prevalent crypto I'm. When Isay crypto cryptocurrencies and Ft, everything like people are tuning in. And Ithink people are getting more aware, and I think that like the top, like it isall happening.
Locke Brown: And it's, it's reallyfascinating to see. I mean, it's funny, like, you know, People looked at youweird when you said you in web three, five years ago. Yeah. You know? Yeah. Nowit's like, like, oh, you're selling monkey art. I'm like,
Mike Townsend: yeah, yeah. It's, it'samazing. The pendulum swing, right. Thesis synthesis.
Locke Brown: Yeah. That's right.But it's a process. And I think, I think that we'll soon and I, I look forwardto actually spending more of my time in that arena that you're talking about.So I I'm gonna look up and probably enjoy looking in here. Follow.
Mike Townsend: Yeah. I'll send yousome stuff. Locke. Where are you online?
Mike Townsend: Are you even goingforward? Are you gonna be tweeting writing?
Locke Brown: So I it's funny, likeI don't, I probably engage on social media, maybe all 24 hours in the last fiveyears plus or so I really don't have a big online presence. I like posted onceabout inflation last year, every two years ago. And I I.
Locke Brown: I lock brown.com.That's just literally a, a funny picture. Yeah. But I do look forward tostarting publish things there. I I've made that a goal for next year is tostart sharing more. I've been really just like head down on stuff and havingget too much with that with, with, you know, I don't have Instagram.
Locke Brown: Well, I, I guess Itechnically do have one, but I don't been years I logged in. But it's not thatI'm against that kinda stuff. It's just, it's just not been, it's not beensomething that I have dedicated time to, but I, I do look forward to actually Ihave a lot of thought pieces that I, I, I think I'm, I'm just now getting towhere I I'm excited to share, you know, I, I I'm the kind of person that'skinda like, or at times in the past have been like, who am I to say?
Locke Brown: Like, this should bethat way or whatever, but no, there's definitely things that, you know, at thispoint, I could talk to anyone in the world and stand and you justify exactlywhy I feel the way I feel about something and point to why that is. And, andso, so I, I think, I think then the next, you know, starting next year, I'llbe, it'll definitely be on my website and whether I publish it, you know?
Locke Brown: Oh on other mediumsTwitter, whatnot. Love it.
Mike Townsend: Well, dude, congratson all the progress so far. I really enjoyed the conversation and hope to seesome of the stuff that you do put out there in the world.
Locke Brown: That's yeah, no, Iappreciate it. This has been a lot of fun. I great conversation. And yeah.
Mike Townsend: Thanks for having,yeah. You're working on something really important, so I think you're doing itthe right way, man. And hope you have it back. I appreciate you back on oneday.
Locke Brown: That'd be awesome.Yeah. Hell yeah. Yeah. No big things, big things and I, no, I'm glad Idiscovered this, so yeah. Great chat with you, Mike, and shot time.
Locke Brown: Thanks. Thanks guys.