Casa Blog - Bitcoin Security Made Easy

Bitcoin is a revolution in money, and today its monetary benefits are more widely recognized than ever before - i.e. as a hedge against fiat inflation or an insulant against government monetary policy. And yet, we're still in the early days of witnessing Bitcoin's impact as a secure data layer for other applications.

Casa is proud to support the ION (Identity Overlay Network) project, which is working to build decentralized digital identity with Bitcoin at the base layer. Personal identity is arguably as valuable as money itself (if not more valuable), so it makes sense to use Bitcoin - the most secure, resilient network in the world - as the foundation for a new generation of secure digital identity.

High-level function diagram of ION.

Earlier this week - after years of research, design, and development - ION made the leap to Bitcoin mainnet for its public beta. Casa has been operating and evaluating ION nodes internally since Microsoft announced the ION prototype last year, providing consultation and feedback.

Why is user-owned identity important?

One problem that decentralized ID can solve is authentication online. This process (which we all do countless times every day), has barely evolved since the early days of the Web, with people still relying on username / password combinations, which are easily forgotten and highly vulnerable to hacking or phishing. Where there have been improvements to this model of authentication - for example, increasing security through biometrics or multi-factor authentication - they have often made the process more unwieldy, unreliable, and frustrating for the ordinary user.

Another problem is less obvious, but more important. Today, our digital identities are controlled by third-party platforms, wielding the ability to delete or ban anyone at will. We have to trust these third parties to protect our identities and the reputation we’ve built for ourselves on their platform, since we can’t have that control ourselves.

Projects like ION offer the opportunity to take control of our digital identity, just like we can control our wealth with Bitcoin. It all comes down to controlling private keys, and the keys protecting our identity need to be secured just like the keys protecting our wealth.

Changing digital identity won’t happen overnight—there is a long road ahead. While Casa’s  focus remains building the best possible experience for our customers to be their own bank with Bitcoin, we’re excited to continue working with the ION team towards the goal of building a more private, free, and open identity system. Check out the ION announcement for more info on the project (including how to run an ION node!), and the technical specification Sidetree protocol for details on how it ties in with Bitcoin.