/ ERC725

Q&A with DREAM Advisor, Fabian Vogelsteller, Author of ERC20 & ERC725


Richard: Hi Fabian, thanks for your work on the ERC725 standard and for pushing it forward! We appreciate you taking the time to answer some of the questions from our community about the standard. Can you give a brief intro to ERC725 and why you thought it was necessary?

Fabian: ERC725 is a proxy smart contract, which allows it to be controlled by multiple keys and other smart contracts. It serves as a basis for an identity of any kind. I had the idea two years ago and had expected others to come up with a standard – But nobody did, so I felt the urge to create one.

I realized that ERC725 is only a full identity solution when used in combination with ERC735, as this standard allows attaching claims to a proxy smart contract. This way, you have provable owners who can control the identity and the added claims by the others who are validating that particular identity.

Richard: Why do you think ERC725 is well suited to solving DREAM’s reputation portability vision?

Fabian: Reputation is slightly different than identity IMO but needs identity as a basis. In DREAM, projects can attach claims that a person is part of it or has a specific role. It’s also important to reuse the identity, which removes the problem of having many different logins. This means you can use your same “profile” in DREAM with other places. Attached to that, you could add a number of based reputation systems and such.

Richard: What needs to be done by DREAM to incorporate ERC725?

Fabian: You simply allow ERC725 identities as profiles, and then provide an ability for projects to issue claims on member identities.

Richard: We’ve previously spoken about incorporating a reputation wallet, where a user could connect reputations from different ecosystems, and then permit access. For example, with an insurance company they could connect their KYC reputation, and with DREAM, connect all their professional reputations. DREAM has committed to developing and open sourcing this (or working with other projects if this doesn’t exist).

Fabian: DREAM could act as a claim issuer providing validated information about the identity. The way to verify or prove this validated information needs to be a separate protocol and specific through the “scheme” number. You can think of it as similar to building a reputation system based on mintable tokens, and based on their current token balance. Meaning that you can’t transfer, but only mint and assign tokens to a certain person.

This way we can only accumulate tokens, and maybe the giver/minter of tokens, can also take it away from me again. This way a constant fluctuating balance would be created which represents the trust people put into an identity. This reputation system would then be linked through a claim to the identity.

Subbu: How do you see interoperability of blockchains working? For example, do you see ERC725 as being portable away from Ethereum?

Fabian: I would say people will have multiple identities on multiple chains. They might be interlinked through claims attached to all of those at some point, or to shared keys existing in both identities.

Lee: Do you think different blockchain solutions are too closed? For example, many projects are building identity reputation systems, however they are dependent on people building on that protocol. Could a standards based identity wallet help solve this?

Fabian: To have an identity that people use and trusts, it needs to be on a trustless layer like Ethereum, or another public blockchain.

Subbu: What projects are using ERC725 so far (that you are aware of)?

Fabian: Check the (soon to be published) ERC725 Alliance list (which DREAM are part of) :)


Subbu: ERC725 is currently an EIP; how long do you think it will take for it to be adopted as a core ERC standard?

Fabian: When projects start using it, and we iron out issues with the standard along the way. It probably wouldn't take many projects to adopt it to generate a critical mass. But key to this is to start working on a profile using the standard like Origin does.

Subbu: What challenges do you see in incorporating ERC725 when it is still in its developmental stage?

Fabian: That topic numbers aren't defined yet, or that function names will change, but this should be ironed out once projects move into production, as we will encounter those by then.

Lee: What are your thoughts on the recognition of identities on ERC725 by governmental agencies. Will governments of various countries come to a unanimous recognition?

Fabian: They probably won't recognize the identity as such, but will for the claim issuers. Once they can prove the signature of the claim issuer, then they simply have to accept the controller of that identity as well. But to give a number, say five to ten years :)

Subbu: So you think ERC725 can be a groundwork for building a reputation system?

Fabian: Yes, absolutely.

Subbu: Any thoughts on enhancing decentralized governance using Identity and Reputation Systems?

Fabian: It’s the key basis for such. Without it, nobody can interact knowing that they are dealing with a single person. A claim-based identity (at least) decreases this risk.

Lee: What are some foreseeable problematic use cases of ERC725 – Any ideas on how to prevent such scenarios? For example, ERC20 spawned a lot of ICOs!

Fabian: Universal login problems can occur when people link many private claims to their public ERC725 identity.

Subbu: Do you see any scalability issues with Ethereum when writing high volumes of claim and reputation data?

Fabian: Yes, this should be avoided and moved to a single claim using a merkle tree root hash and putting the claim details off chain. Also, rent prices for storage could become a problem. I would suggest a public identity should only contain important things, similar to a LinkedIn profile.

Subbu: Do you have any expectations from DREAM when using ERC725; how can DREAM contribute to a thriving ecosystem in this area?

Fabian: Building a token-based reputation system linked to ERC725 identities ;)

Lee: How do you see different parties trusting each other? For example, how can DREAM trust a partner’s claims are reputable? Do you think there should be some kind of centralized authority or alliance to vet legitimacy?

Fabian: The best solution is that those systems who provide claims are transparent, or purely running in smart contracts themselves, as then no trust is needed. Otherwise, they need to be vetted over time, and a watchdog system could be put in place to flag bad actors.

Richard: Thank you for taking the time to answer our community’s questions about ERC725, and thanks for all your help and support so far with DREAM!

Fabian: It was my pleasure :)


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Q&A with DREAM Advisor, Fabian Vogelsteller, Author of ERC20 & ERC725
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