Email login & OAuth2 API access now available on Rinkeby
2 weeks ago I wrote a post about shutting down the original beta.codex-viewer.com and redeploying our contracts & services at ropsten.codex-viewer.com and rinkeby.codex-viewer.com.
I’m happy to announce that this process is complete, but more importantly that these 2 environments showcase the technology that we’ve been working on for the past few months: email login & OAuth2 API access.
Some background on why this is important
One of the most common complaints we’ve had about Codex Viewer (and by extension, Ethereum dApps in general) is how hard it is to use. This is a topic that has been written about and talked about in length, but at a high level the status quo for first-time dApp users logging in looks like this:
- Install a 3rd party app/plugin
- Provision a private key via that 3rd party app
- Buy ether to pay for gas via an exchange, which requires setting up yet another account and then going through KYC/AML
- Assuming you’ve made it this far, log back in to the original dApp to start using it
As you can imagine, there’s a lot of drop off at each stage in the funnel, which is why we went down the path of tackling this problem for Codex.
Back to the basics
There is a lot of great research going on around decentralized identity and self-sovereign identity. While these are great concepts to be exploring, it will likely be awhile before any of that research becomes commercially viable. We decided to take a more practical approach and think of a way we can solve this for our users now instead of later. With that in mind, we decided to build login to our application in such a way that users are familiar with: by using their existing identity from other email providers.
Upon selecting Google to login, users will be presented with a familiar consent prompt and with a few clicks they’ll have immediate access to Codex Viewer — skipping all the complication that was required before when logging in with MetaMask.
Behind the scenes, Codex provisions a unique smart contract for this email address that is strictly limited to interacting with Codex Protocol. This means that any actions taken by users logged in with their email address will still be immutably recorded on the blockchain. They will be able to create & manage Codex Records just as if they were logged in with a web3 wallet without having to pay a single wei in gas fees.
This feature will exist on our testnets for a few weeks before bringing it live to the Ethereum mainnet, so please do check it out and let us know your thoughts!
For marketplaces & developers: Codex API
The Codex API enables marketplaces and developers to create OAuth2 applications that can programmatically create and manage Codex Records. Provenance for Codex Records modified via the Codex API will show up with the verified application name instead in place of the Ethereum address.
Now, marketplaces will be able to provably show which items have passed through their sales pipeline and immutably record that provenance on the blockchain, along with any other supporting documentation they may wish to add to the record.
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, check out the Codex API Documentation that describes in detail how to provision an app and start creating Codex Records. For more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.