Blockchain Blog

Blockchain API Profile: Onename

[![Onename co-founders, Muneeb Ali (left) and Ryan Shea (right)](http://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2014/12/muneeb-and-ryan.jpg)](http://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2014/12/muneeb-and-ryan.jpg)
Onename co-founders, Muneeb Ali (left) and Ryan Shea (right)
The potential of blockchain technology is not limited to transacting bitcoin or currency. This public ledger can be used as a verification system for many different purposes, including voting or confirming the authenticity of a signature electronically.

The creators of Onename envision their product as a privacy-conscious digital passport used for an assortment of activities that require you to verify your identity online.

Continue reading if you’d like to hear more about Onename, in an interview with Ryan Shea, co-founder.

Alyson: Give us an introduction to Onename. What is it, exactly?

Ryan: Onename provides users with a digital passport for the web.

Today you can use it as a convenient way to receive Bitcoin as well as a personal about page, and soon you will be able to use it to login to apps, sign documents electronically, and vote online. Onename is built on top of a decentralized identity protocol for the Bitcoin blockchain called [Openname](https://openname.org/), and today Onename is the most popular service for users to register digital identities on the blockchain.

A: What was your intention behind launching this project?

R: We’ve long been unsatisfied with how much control large companies have over our relationships with applications and our online identities, and we wanted to change that. We wanted to give ourselves and others an alternative to a Facebook login that was privacy conscious and secure; one that put users in control and allowed us to say goodbye to passwords without having to sell our souls and consent to being tracked all over the web. We think that just like users deserve decentralized banking with Bitcoin, they deserve decentralized identity with Onename and the Openname protocol.

**A:**What does Onename bring to the Bitcoin community?

R: Onename is making Bitcoin easy to use by providing a “DNS layer” for Bitcoin where usernames are mapped to long Bitcoin addresses. In addition, Onename is enabling decentralized applications by providing secure identity and authentication on the blockchain and the Openname protocol. Onename provides software to developers to make these integrations as easy as including only a few lines of code.

A: What gives Onename an edge over other digital identity options currently present?

R: Unlike most services that provide users with digital identities, Onename is built on top of a decentralized protocol, just like Bitcoin. With Bitcoin you can own your own money and with Onename you can own your own identity. This means that when you have an account with us, you are in complete control over your username and your identity, and you can even migrate it to another service at any time if you so choose.

[![onename-office-logo](http://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2015/01/onename-office-logo.jpg)](https://onename.com/)
Logo courtesy of Ryan Shea, co-founder
**A: Why was the [Blockchain API](https://blockchain.info/api/) an ideal choice for you?**

R: It’s important for us that every user has a Bitcoin wallet, but we understand that a good percentage of the users who sign up won’t have one yet.

We wanted our users to be set up with a Bitcoin wallet automatically, and so we use the Blockchain API to create one for them. We also use the Blockchain API in Coinkit, our open source Bitcoin library, for getting unspent transaction outputs and broadcasting transactions.

Every time we broadcast a transaction using the Blockchain API, we see it go through immediately, and the reliability has been fantastic.

“With Bitcoin you can own your own money and with Onename you can own your own identity. This means that when you have an account with us, you are in complete control over your username and your identity, and you can even migrate it to another service at any time if you so choose.”

A: I read this article on your blog, about the decision to make Onename open source. Can you elaborate on what this change means, for someone who may not fully understand the concept of open source software?

R: By open-sourcing our software, we’re making it easier for developers to build off of our work and contribute back to the software base. Instead of value being tightly guarded by a single organization, value is pooled and shared, which is a critical step to jump-starting an ecosystem around an open protocol.

A: Have you received a lot of valuable feedback from developers since the decision to go open source? How can developers contribute, if interested?

R: Yes, we’ve received a lot of positive feedback from developers about our move to open source. In addition, we have quite a few developers contributing to our open source repositories and improving upon the protocol and the various tools we provide.

The best way for developers to contribute is to go to github.com/openname and browse through the code, then either start working on an existing GitHub Issue or think about what improvements need to be made and just tackle them.

Have you signed up for your Onename digital passport yet?

Connect with Onename on Twitter!

*If you’ve built something awesome using the Blockchain API, let us know by commenting in the box below. *