Forget Token Sales? The Father of the ICO Is All About Identity Now

The developer who created core technology that has helped launch thousands of initial coin offerings (ICOs) isn’t all that impressed with the fruits of his creation.

Looking ahead to 2018, Fabian Vogelsteller is interested in taking the model he pioneered with ethereum’s ERC-20 token standard, effectively a drop-dead simple way of creating your own cryptocurrency, and recreating its effects for one of blockchain tech’s most-often touted use cases: digital identity.

And there’s reason to think replicating the success here could be big. In many ways, traditional online identity has become a disaster, especially in recent years where many of the large gatekeepers of consumer data have been hacked and millions of consumer data points exposed.

Blockchains, by contrast, have been touted as a way of giving consumers control of their own information, to not only decrease fraud, but also cut off large enterprises from using consumer data for their own gain.

The identity mess is a hard one to untangle, though, and while there are blockchain startups focused on this area, Vogelstellar believes something like the ICO token standard could kick the industry into gear.

According to Vogelstellar, who has gone as far as to call token sales the “least interesting” application of ethereum, there’s too much attention on “making money” in the space right now. But by contrast, identity is a “very important” application that ethereum could facilitate.

“It’s what the future needs, absolutely. There’s no way around it,” he said.

And so, Vogelstellar has been asking himself: if standards are what sparked today’s ICO craze, can the same idea be applied elsewhere? Recently putting forward a new standard ERC-725 for identity, Vogelstellar plans to find out.

He told CoinDesk:

“The reason is it’s so simple. This is one reason why [ERC-20] took off compared to other systems, compared to colored coins and others. When we have agreement on the interfaces used, suddenly there’s an explosion of experimentation.”


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