Signing into the backend with Ethereum and JSON Web Tokens

Kevin Patrick Hobbs-01

Written by: Jonathan Brown

In a previous life, before I got involved in blockchain technology, I was participating in the Drupal community for 10 years.

Towards the end of this period I created the integration between Drupal and Mozilla Persona. Persona was an attempt to make account management a proper part of web browser functionality. Ultimately, Persona was shut down.

Later, I learned about the MetaMask browser plugin. MetaMask enables a web browser to run Ethereum-based applications, essentially enabling front end Javascript (JS) applications to directly interact with Ethereum.

MetaMask will handle all account management responsibilities so it occurred that there were parallels between MetaMask and Mozilla Persona.

They are both browser-based plugins that can provide single sign-on functionality. The single difference: this is only one small part of what can be done with MetaMask.

The whole point of a DApp — short for decentralized or distributed application — is that there is no back end. This is where the blockchain comes in, helping track, sort and verify information between nodes or actors in the network.

Currently, JSON Web Tokens (JWT) are the trendy solution for managing user authentication.

Before JWT, websites would have to maintain a database table in the back end to record all active sessions and then match session IDs stored in browser cookies.

JWT is essentially a distributed session table. The back end cryptographically signs some claims about a user and the generated token is then returned to the client.

Every time the client sends a request they can present the token which will be cryptographically verified by the back end. If the back end needs to destroy a session it blacklists the token by adding it to a database table until it expires.

So, signing into the backend with Ethereum accounts using JWT seems like the obvious way forward.

I have created a small demo application as a proof of concept: https://github.com/vanbexlabs/ethereum-auth-demo

You can select which Ethereum account you wish to use in MetaMask.

When “Sign in” is clicked the Web3 environment (MetaMask / Mist) is requested to sign a message using the account’s private key.

MetaMask will then prompt the user to click “Sign”. This is to prove to the back end that they are in possession of the private key. In theory, MetaMask could have a dedicated user interface for signing in, but for the moment signing a message is all that is required.

The account address and signed message will then be returned to the back end where they are verified and a JWT token is generated. This token is returned to the browser for storage.

There is an ongoing discussion about where in the browser JWT tokens should be stored, which can be viewed here.

For maximum security users should utilize both cookies and HTML5 web storage. With web storage you are vulnerable to XSS where JavaScript injected into the page can read the token. With “HttpOnly” cookies they cannot be read from JavaScript, however they are susceptible to cross-site request forgery (CSRF).

This is where another website will trick the web browser into making a request to another domain that the browser has a cookie for. The solution to this is to have a CSRF token in HTML5 local storage that needs to be sent with the request.

Note: This token has not yet been implemented in the etherparty demo.

When “Who am I” is clicked in the demo application the back end will verify the token with express-jwt and the address will be returned to the client, displayed in a pop-up.

Five communications tips for blockchain startups / Kevin Patrick Hobbs CEO

Stealing the tagline from a popular insurance company ad campaign, “We’ve seen a thing or two.” As advisors to a diverse list of blockchain development projects, we’ve come across our fair share of communication hazards.

Here’s five tips drawn from real-life situations that we hope can help you on your way to communicating your exciting blockchain enterprise.

Write for the world: Don’t allow industry jargon to cloud your message or prevent you from connecting with an audience. For most people, the blockchain remains an obscure and complex technology. That means it’s ripe for great storytelling. Describe your project’s value proposition as if you were explaining it to your parents.

Plan for successful communication: Resist the urge to rush into raising brand awareness without a development roadmap. Knowing where you’re going is important information for potential investors and your target audience. Only after demonstrating a clear vision can you properly craft messaging and the most effective strategies for spreading influence.

Stifle the urge to spew: “Flooding the zone,” is a tactic that works well in sports, but it’s not an effective way to create awareness or maintain buzz. Unleashing a stream of low-impact press releases undermines credibility with media professionals. Use owned media for smaller announcements and preserve the strength of your reputation for when you have something important to share. Media professionals will respect your news releases all the more and will continue to long into the future. You always have something else to share down the road.

Oversell at your peril: Describe your product in even, measured language. Stick to the facts and avoid hyperbole. The online community is filled with savvy crypto-enthusiasts and investors who will cause more harm than good to your brand if they start questioning your product’s value proposition before you even get going.

Trust the experts: Many entrepreneurs don’t trust the hired help, especially when it comes to communications. They often stumble after ignoring advice on content creation and media strategy, leaving investors and potential customers wondering what happened. Don’t let this be you.

Most marketing and communications campaigns can follow a predictable pattern. While every brand’s story is unique, delivering a clear and effective message the demonstrates your project’s value propositions is necessary to stand out and attract early adoption. Amateur mistakes easily derail a campaign. Build support for your brand through measured communication.

Contact the Vanbex Group
Brandon Kostinuk
Marketing & Communications Manager
Email: b@vanbex.com
PH: (604) 312-2463

What is an Initial Coin Offering?

When a company decides to host an ICO, they are creating their own, new form of cryptocurrency.

what is an initial coin offering

An initial coin offering, or ICO, is an unregulated method of raising capital, allowing investors from all walks of life to contribute fiat or digital currency in return for a vested interest or stake in a blockchain technology-based project.

Investors could receive some sort of profit sharing or dividend. They can also receive shares in the company relative to the equity purchased in the form of the platform’s native cryptocurrency, as bearer shares. Finally, financial contributors may simply purchase coins as an access instrument for the company’s platform.

When a company decides to host an ICO, they are creating their own, new form of cryptocurrency, the value of which is predicated on the success — in other words, market demand — of the enterprise.

In the case of an access instrument, companies developing blockchain technology typically interact with their users in the form of transactions, as a result digital tokens are used to grant access and usage of the technology.

KevinPatrickHobbs

Coin offerings have a predetermined supply, or amount of coins or tokens to be sold, and the crowdsale will be open for only a set amount of time, often 30 to 60 days.

Company leadership typically publishes a white paper that will provide an overview of the project, outline the key value propositions and development milestones.

Interested investors will often receive a document, or memorandum, that carefully lays out the mechanics of the coin and governance of the sale.

Purchased coins are normally distributed at the end of the sale, or when the ICO sells out. Upon receipt of coins, investors can then trade their coins on cryptocurrency exchanges for bitcoin, other altcoins or fiat currency.

Typically, blockchain projects will keep a portion of the coins for different reasons but mainly to compensate everyone involved as well as carry out further development and marketing campaigns. The funds raised are normally used to further develop the project and there should be a roadmap provided to this respect prior to starting an ICO.

Just as with shares in a company, the value of the project’s digital coin will conform to the value of the project; the market’s sentiment around future development and rate of adoption play key roles toward the proliferation of any coin or token.

While similar to the more traditional initial public offering (IPO), ICOs have a different process and structure and terms and conditions can vary widely across a range of spectrums.

The nature of the crowdfunding model, where a community of investors or contributors deems a project worthy to support, it allows novel ideas to find backing that might not have been feasible under traditional models. There is a significant amount of risk involved however, like any investment or monetary contribution, make smart decisions, stay within your comfort zone, and conduct due diligence with every project, and the pitfalls will be avoided.

About Kevin Patrick Hobbs, Vanbex Group:
Kevin Patrick Hobbs is chief executive officer at Vanbex Group, a full stack blockchain company providing a range of services specialized in the blockchain industry.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in contributed article. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

What are Smart Contracts?

Excerpt from the soon to be released Etherparty.io white paper:

In 1997, Nick Szabo introduced the idea of Smart Contracts, the idea that through “highly-evolved” contract systems, societies would be able to form societies with better law, more efficiently, and distributed trust. In their most basic form, smart contracts (also known as DApps, DAOs, and DACs) are a computer executed contract embedded in unalterable code. Smart contracts make securing relationships, creating applications, and deploying code cheaper and more efficient. The issue that has plagued the idea of true smart contracts is the lack of a sufficient decentralized computing network capable of serving as a trust-less intermediary for executing contracts in an unalterable way.

Smart contracts allow for a number of possibilities, including provable, trestless gambling, hedging coins, and even coins within a coin (namely Ethereum).

The possibilities are endless, and with Etherparty, you are able to create decentralized autonomous applications with a few lines of code.

 

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Kevin Patrick Hobbs

Why Consider Investing in Ethereum? – Kevin Patricks Hobbs

Ethereum is currently one of the hottest cryptocurrencies out there, rising nearly 3,000 percent so far this year. Is now the time to invest?

investing in ethereum

In terms of cryptocurrencies, most often people immediately think of bitcoin–and understandably so. Out of all the digital currencies, bitcoin currently has the largest market cap of $43.8 billion and is priced at $2,671.54. Not that far behind, however, is ethereum with a market cap of $29.7 billion–and arguably the hottest cryptocurrency on the market right now.

Year-to-date, the price of ethereum has climbed nearly 3,000 percent–from $8.24 on January 1 to its high of $369.03 on June 20.  While the digital currency has tumbled slightly to $325.27, there is still a strong case to be made for considering investing in ethereum.

With that in mind, here the Investing News Network (INN) provides a breakdown of what the cryptocurrency is, what’s making it a hot commodity, and a look at its future outlook.

Investing in ethereum: what is ethereum?

Compared to its rival digital currency,  bitcoin–which has been around for nearly a decade–ethereum is relatively new. According to Investorpedia, ethereum was developed to “augment and improve” bitcoin. While ethereum was proposed in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and developer, its initial release wasn’t until July 30, 2015, with 11.9 million “premined” coins for the crowd sale.

That said, the digital currency has been compared to bitcoin, although it certainly has its differences. Asdescribed by Blockgeeks, Ethereum is a publicly distributed blockchain network–much like bitcoin. That said, bitcoin is used to track the ownership of the digital currencies, while Ethereum Project describesethereum as a blockchain that runs “smart” contracts, or applications that run exactly as programmed with no downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.

Blockgeeks further states that in ethereum, miners “work to earn” Ether, which is a crypto token that is “used by application developers to pay for fees or services on the ethereum network.”

Investing in ethereum: the initial coin offering craze

In simple terms, an initial coin offering (ICO) are funds that are raised for “a new cryptocurrency venture. Like Investorpedia states, ICO’s are generally used by startup companies to bypass the typical regulated capital-raising processes that venture capitalists or banks require.

“In an ICO campaign, a percentage of the cryptocurrency is sold to early backers of the project in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies, but usually bitcoin.” CryptoCompare states that ICO’s are one of the “easiest and most efficient methods” for companies to fund projects, or for investors to “invest in projects they see value in.”

So, where does ethereum fit into the ICO equation?

In an email exchange with INN, Kevin Patrick Hobbs, CEO of Vanbex Group, said 2017 seen a massive increase in ICO’s, with most of them done on ethereum.

“To date, there has been over $500 million in ICO investment so far this year, and growing,” Kevin patrick Hobbs said. “Due to the need to use Ether to invest in these, ICO’s has caused the single most demand for the token, hence the incredible rise in price.”

Case in point, in mid-June a start-up company raised over $150 million of ether–in under three hours–in exchange for its own token, called BNT. Similarly, another start-up called Status raised more than $100 million through an ether-ICO, while Brave–a new web browser–also raised more than $35 million in ICO that sold out in 30 seconds.

Indeed, it’s easy to see that initial coin offerings are all the rage right now–and for the foreseeable future–but Kevin Patrick Hobbs said there needs to be regulations in place to protect investors.

“What that will be is still in discussion,” he said. “There are many benefits to ICO’s that we don’t have in traditional funding. You get instant liquidity as the tokens are traded on exchanges, it’s inclusive and anyone can invest you don’t have to be accredited (There are some models where you do need to be), the ROI on ICO’s are much more appetizing than traditional investment.”

Investing in ethereum: future outlook

Looking ahead, Kevin Patrick Hobbs said that there is “no sign” of ICO’s slowing down, and that most of them are done on ethereum–which needs ether.

That said, Kevin Patrick Hobbs stated that at some point, companies will “have to pay the bills” and sell their Ether for Fiat currency, which he said will result in price drop. Still, Kevin Patrick Hobbs said he expects ethereum prices to “level off” somewhere between $200-$250 before it goes up again, which could bring it to the $400-$500 range by the end of the year.

While the price of ethereum has had a bit of a setback, its gains so far in 2017 are nothing short of impressive, and an overall sign that the price forecast for the digital currency is still “bullish”–which bring some comfort to those who may be considering investing in ethereum.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Technology for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I,Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Etherparty Launches Global Pre-Sale Event / Kevin Patrick Hobbs

Etherparty Launches Global Pre-Sale Event

Application coined most important ever built on Ethereum opens sale of FUEL tokens

 

VANCOUVER, CanadaAugust 15, 2017— The user-friendly smart contract creation tool “Etherparty” has announced the global pre-sale event of its platform’s native FUEL token.

“This will be a turning point in the blockchain space” said Kevin Patrick Hobbs, CEO at Vanbex, the developers behind the Etherparty platform.

“We are continually educating people on the adaptation of blockchain technologies and Etherparty is pivotal to that,” stated Kevin Patrick Hobbs. “Etherparty allows the general public who are unfamiliar with coding and programming to be able to benefit from blockchain and smart contract technologies when applying them to their daily activities or operations.”

Etherparty was unveiled at the Crypto Financing conference in London on July 7 and then presented at Coinscrum Meetup.

“This is a fully functional blockchain product that has real-world applications. It is also the opportune time to launch the Etherparty application as governments worldwide have recently boosted talks to embrace blockchain technologies and exchanges like the CBOE, seek to list their own cryptocurrencies.” stated Kevin Patrick Hobbs, who demonstrated the Etherparty platform to a crowd of thousands.

“Whether you are an employer creating contracts, a business that uses supply chain management, or a project in the cryptocurrency space looking to do an ICO, it can all be done on Etherparty, in minutes, in the most secure, efficient and cost-effective way to date”, according to Etherparty Architect Brian Onn.

Funds raised will help grow the Etherparty development team with a slated public release of the finalized product by the end of this year.

“We have been able to prove that real world information is able to interact with Smart Contracts, and now we are launching an ICO to further our development and research in making Smart Contracts easy to use and accessible,” stated Founder, Lisa Cheng.

The Etherparty coin offering will offer a secure way to accept funds during the pre-sale phase using a process that will be handled via a SAFT, or simple agreement for future tokens.

“From a technology viewpoint, the Etherparty Platform is a whole new paradigm in smart contract development and deployment. With numerous security audited Solidity contracts at the platform user’s disposal,” said Onn.

 

About Etherparty

Etherparty is a contract wizard that removes the complexity of creating, managing and executing smart contracts on any blockchain. The platform allows users with zero knowledge of smart contract programming to create an enforceable, self-executing digital agreement for all types of transactions.

 

Media Contact

Kevin Patrick Hobbs

Chief Executive Officer

k@etherparty.io

Newsfile reference: https://www.newsfilecorp.com/release/28462/Etherparty-Launches-Global-PreSale-Event#.WZMxLVVSxyw

Etherparty Makes Smart Contracts Accessible to All – Kevin Patrick Hobbs

 

With the advent of blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, comes a new workflow automation technology: smart contracts.

As the name suggests, smart contracts operate by direction of code language, allowing them functionality that removes the need for human programming skills beyond the original coded instructions.

The contract functionality enables two parties to operate via an enforced digital agreement, in some instances removing the need for middlemen or lawyers. Smart contracts are outcome-based, with their code language gauging completion from designated inputs.

But smart contracts offer much more than their name implies; their disruption scales far beyond two entities looking to formalize an agreement. Smart contracts have the functionality to facilitate and scale autonomous processes and systems, efficiently moving data from one entity to another without complication or interruption of a manual processor.

The secure nature of blockchain technology’s distributed networks and time-stamped blocks are disruptive themselves, but it is the technology’s distinctive data processing properties that make it revolutionary for businesses that today require a third party to validate transactions.

Scaling the rate of adoption

While blockchain has the potential to recast the foundations of electronic commerce and data storage, the technology’s use by non-computer professionals has been limited by a lack of user-friendly applications.

A user-friendly system for the creation, use, and management of smart contracts, like Etherparty, has the power to disrupt business models, and the way people and business’ transact and dramatically expand the rate of commercial and consumer adoption of blockchain technology.

Etherparty is a contract wizard that removes the complexity of creating, managing and executing smart contracts on any blockchain.

“In order for blockchain to reach mainstream adoption, services that enable use of the technology need to provide users with a frictionless experience that doesn’t pose barriers to entry, like knowledge of coding,” said Etherparty CEO Kevin Patrick Hobbs.

“This is exactly what we’re building with Etherparty; a platform that allows users to take advantage of blockchain’s core smart contract functionality and produce their own lawful and binding contracts for use across nearly any industry. Etherparty creates a smart contract access point regardless of technological savvy,” he explained.

The automation of trust

The use cases for smart contracts are near limitless, with application opportunities available across almost all industries. The core use cases that Etherparty’s smart contract templates will focus on include peer-to-peer escrow contracts, supply chain management, token creation, sports wagering, real estate contracts, and contractor agreements. Using Etherparty means easy access to developed smart contracts and simply utilizing the templates that work best for your purpose, no expertise of programming necessary.

By democratizing access to smart contracts, Etherparty unleashes the speed, cost-reduction, scalability, and security benefits of the technology for individuals and businesses. The next generation of software as a service, Etherparty connects distributed ledger technology to the world.

Etherparty is now welcoming sign ups for beta, which is limited to 5,000 users. Beta will be launched soon, sign up nowJoin us on twitter and telegram.ext

Ether-party and Root-stock Announce Strategic Partnership

Vancouver, British Columbia – August 25, 2017 (Newsfile Corp.) (Investorideas.com newswire) User-friendly smart contract creation tool, Etherparty, and Rootstock (RSK), the first open source smart contract platform powered by the Bitcoin network, have announced a strategic partnership that will enable users to create smart contracts on the Etherparty platform which will be fully compatible on the RSK blockchain.

The partnership between RSK and Etherparty will open up the world of Bitcoin-based smart contracts to people with zero knowledge of smart contract programming to create an enforceable, self-executing digital agreement for all types of transactions. The union will help accelerate adoption of smart contracts on bitcoin by making the technology more accessible and easier to use.

“In order for RSK and decentralized applications to succeed, we’ll need smart contract development to become mainstream. Etherparty helps fill that gap between technology and non-technical people,” said RSK’s Head of Business Development Henry Sraigman.

“With RSK-compatibility, Etherparty is in effect a multichain platform capable of generating smart contracts executable on both the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains,” said Kevin Patrick Hobbs, CEO at Vanbex, the developers behind the Etherparty platform, adding, “We want to see the industry develop more services that make it easier for non-programming professionals to reap the benefits of distributed ledger technology, such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace that have made website creation a breeze.”

“Whether you are an employer creating contracts, a business that uses supply chain management, or a project in the cryptocurrency space looking to conduct an initial coin or token offering, you will be able to create all of this on Etherparty, in minutes,” said Etherparty Architect Brian Onn.

For more information visit etherparty.io and subscribe to the mailing list. You can also join the community Slack channel, or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and BitcoinTalk.

About Etherparty

Etherparty is a contract wizard that removes the complexity of creating, managing and executing smart contracts on multiple blockchains. The platform allows users with zero knowledge of smart contract programming to create an enforceable, self-executing digital agreement for all types of transactions.

About FUEL

Etherparty recently announced the launch of its global pre-sale event period for its platform’s native FUEL token on Aug. 15. Funds raised will go toward growing the Etherparty development team with a slated public release of the finalized product by the end of 2017.

Etherparty is currently accepting 500 beta testers to its platform. Beta testers will receive up to 500 FUEL tokens for participating in this early stage of development.

About RSK

RSK is the first open source smart contract platform with a 2-way peg to Bitcoin that also rewards Bitcoin miners via merge-mining, allowing them to actively participate in the smart contract revolution. The goal of RSK is to add value and functionality to the Bitcoin ecosystem by enabling smart contracts, near instant payments and higher-scalability.

Media Contact

Kevin Patrick Hobbs
Chief Executive Officer
k@etherparty.io

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