Web3 can benefit from adopting Web2 optimization: NBX Berlin


Web3 products and services could benefit from the streamlined user experiences that have been mastered by Web2, according to several industry builders who attended Next Block Expo in Berlin.

Speaking to Cointelegraph at the event, Web3Auth senior cryptography engineer Matthias Geihs said Web3 services continue to be hamstrung by clunky login features and the associated responsibility and technicality of wallet and private key management.

During his presentation, Geihs cited data that suggests 20% of Bitcoin lost by users is a result of poor wallet management. At the same time, many Web3 services suffer significant drop-off rates of potential users at the sign-up stage on their websites and platforms.

Web3Auth senior cryptography engineer Matthias Geihs unpacks the details behind Web3Auth’s Web2 login features and its underlying cryptographic key management infrastructure.

Web3Auth is one of a handful of platforms that aims to streamline Web3 onboarding by using multi-party computation (MPC) to provide passwordless authentication for wallets. A key part of its offering is enabling noncustodial wallet infrastructure for users.

The service already has several high-profile enterprises and decentralized applications onboard, including Web3 players like Animoca Brands, Binance and SkyMavis and mainstream companies such as McDonalds, Ubisoft, Universal and Fox.com.

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Central to its offering is the ability for users to login with Web2 credentials from Google, Facebook, Twitter and Discord accounts. Its services go far deeper and are intended to cater to both Web2 faithful and Web3 power users.

The service uses a distributed key generation protocol, which sees several servers work together to generate a set of “key shares.” As Geihs stresses, the key “never exists in one place”:

“The output of the protocol will be that each of the servers hold the key share. But none of the servers ever learned the full key. Nobody actually knows the real private key.”

Web3Auth’s infrastructure then maps the distributed keys to a user’s identity using the chosen login Web2 account or Web3 wallet.

“So you can login with Google, and that signature proves you are the correct person to our servers. They then give you the key shares or let you run signing protocols. The Web2 login signature is the way to access the keys that are uniquely mapped to your identity,” Geihs adds.

The solution is one example of how Web2 and Web3 functionality combine to create a seamless user experience. Essentially, a user is unaware of the cryptographic methods enabling them to use a Web3 wallet which is tied to their conventional, Web2 login method of choice.

Fernando Martinho, CEO and co-founder of decentralized, privacy communications infrastructure firm Relayz, highlighted the need to simplify Web3 services.

“In development, there is a basic rule: there should be three clicks and you’re logged in,” Martinho says. “Logins need to abstract away from complicated steps.”

Prominent speakers at the event also weighed in on macro conditions driving up Bitcoin’s price into 2024 at NBX Berlin. Bitcoin’s mining reward halving, the potential approval of Bitcoin spot exchange-traded funds and recent regulatory enforcements on industry heavyweights like Binance were cited as major catalysts for BTC’s uptick as 2023 draws to a close. 

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