Identity is not a Thing. Identification happens when Things connect. A Thing does not have an Identity until another Thing identifies it and then the identification is only for the other Thing. It is not a new Thing.

Designing systems where we make Identity a Thing proves to be challenging and expensive. It happens because Things have properties because they are Things. When we make an abstraction become something it isn’t, we have to compensate for the anomalies.

The idea of the Name of an Identity illustrates the issue. Let us say a person has an Identity as a Thing. When we say, the Identity has a name we need to qualify the name property. What other Identities use the name? What name do we use for a particular purpose? Who is allowed to see the name of the Identity?

Instead of thinking of an Identity as a thing let us forget about having Identities and see what happens.

We have two Things, and one wants to send a message to the other. Let us assume that they have never communicated before. However one of them knows that if they send an email address to the other party, they are likely to get it. Once the two parties are connected, they then exchange messages to establish they are connecting with the party they wish to. They then remember the connection by giving each other unique identifiers. The identifiers are peer to peer and are only known to the naming Thing. The connection plus the two identifiers can now become the building block of further connections with other parties. The building block is a new Thing which may combine with other connection Things via distributed applications. There is no Identity nor is there any need for one.

When we say the building block is the connection it is a new Thing and it has properties.

Identifiers exist, but they are properties of the Things. They are not Identities. We do not need the idea of an Identity. Having Identities creates unnecessary complexity and overheads. Removing them and replacing the functionality required for identification with the new Connection Thing reduces costs by reducing complexity.

It is asserted that emergent properties of systems built on peer to peer connections can be low-cost, private, and made from autonomous entities.

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