Encrypted websites now handle more than half the world’s web traffic, but the way the keys for those connections are exchanged and verified hasn’t changed much in 20 years.
The current system relies on a global network of certificate authorities (CAs) to verify the public key and the owner of each secure website. It has long been criticized for creating central points of failure. And those central points, the CAs, have actually failed in some cases.
Some think blockchains – the technology that manages key exchange for the $25bn bitcoin network – could be the basis for a secure alternative.
The initial idea
Like blockchains, CAs began as a way to facilitate connected commerce. Veteran developer Christopher Allen – who helped set up the first certificate authority, VeriSign – said he imagined a system with several CAs where users would pick which ones to trust.
As the system has scaled, however, it’s become impractical for everyday users to actively manage their trust in different authorities. Most now rely on their browser’s default settings instead. It’s now the browser companies that effectively control trust, giving them huge clout within the certificate industry.
“We’ve got a new centrality,
Read more ... source: CoinDesk
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