Wrote a blog on why AWS never dove seriously into blockchain. Features groovy pix from a trip to New York, which is part of the story: tbray.org/ongoing/When/202x/20

@timbray Thanks for weiting this up. I’ve wondered of scenarios where a blockchain would be useful when a trusted registry may do the job.

@timbray One scenario I’ve considered is baclground checks for Lyft and Uber drivers. As a customer I’d want proof that my driver has passed a background check by a reputable service. And if a driver passed one for Uber and later drove for Lyft that they could use the same background check. And once it expires it could be renewed. I’d want customers to be able to look up the background check to see the summary, like what was checked and when it was last checked.

@timbray Since I don’t trust Uber to do proper background checks I’d want registered services to be authorized to enter records about drivers of background checks. There also needs to be a mechanism to amend a check if there is any incident which would cause the check to no longer pass. Lyft and Uber would not be able to just claim they ran a check.

@brennansv So, you want an independent background-check provider, which you trust even though you don't trust Lyft & Uber. Fair enough, sounds reasonable. How does a blockchain help?

@timbray It may not need blockchain, but who owns the database? Government? Uber or Lyft? I might trust and independent third part (cloud provider) to host it. Somehow it has to be funded. But this is a one good use case where I would consider something like a shared ledger to be useful. I’d use checksums to guard against tampering old records. I suppose “receipts” could be copied to every party.

@gravity @timbray With transport and signing. What I’d also want is smart contracts. Every step in the workflow would be controlled to prevent abuse. Uber could not fake a record or mutate past records.

@brennansv @timbray (just trying to understand) seems to me like if the verifying organization (ie not Uber) is signing the “this guy is a-ok” message with something rolling up to their PK you have that. It’s not going to change overtime necessitating a chain unless the signing cert is revoked, which we already have infrastructure to support.

@gravity @timbray The original record would be to identify the driver and verify they have a valid license. It would include the expiration date. The background check would be linked to the driver’s record. Lyft and Uber are just 2 ways to use it. I could use it with Toro or Getaround to prove I have a valid driver’s license and background check. There is more than just a single, one-time certificate needed. I’d like to avoid sharing my ID with every app I use.

@gravity @timbray My driver’s license expired a while back before I realized and Turo still let me book a car. This is one scenario that should be covered.

@brennansv @timbray I see. So the advantage would come with all of that stuff living together on a chain and all usecases reading and writing to the same.

@gravity @timbray It would not have to be like the typical blockchain. The root of a chain could be the identity of a person which is amended with a verified driver’s license, background check, or a certification to handle specific equipment. These could be entries in the shared ledger. It’s all linked to the identity. There are privacy issues to address. So I’d address that too. But could this also be a database? Maybe. Just needs to be trusted and distributed.

@gravity @timbray For privacy, I would just have the status on the public record. To get the person’s home address or other details you’d have to request access and that permission would come from that person and registered in this system. They could also update their home address and signal all users who were granted access previously. I’d like to use this to update accounts across many services. Bank, DMV, Insurance, etc.

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