The first thing I list on my Contact Page is my Keybase profile. The only social media profile I list is my Mastodon, and I do that for awareness of Mastodon. The reason why I list it first is a central feature of Keybase, proofs. Let's dive in.
Keybase is a lot of things packed into one service, but it all has to do with encryption and keys one way or another. I won't go too in-depth on how PGP works, that's a story for another time. Each person on Keybase has their own key pair. A private and public key. This key pair is necessary to decrypt files and messages, but only the public key is needed to encrypt. Therefore, Keybase allows you to send encrypted messages to others, encrypt files, and create Keybase teams. A main feature of Keybase, however, is identity proofs. This allows individuals to use their keys to prove different online accounts (or even websites) cryptographically. For instance, you can find my Keybase proof for this website here!
Proofs and Their Importance
The first noticeable convenience of these proofs is having an easy directory for all your accounts. If someone searches
Jacob Neplokh , they will find my account with all my other social media listed there as well. It acts as a personal landing page. More importantly, I can definitively prove my online identities, hence the name. In a time where the internet is an extension of ourselves, combating impersonators is essential. Keybase provides a solution for that. If someone made a twitter account with the handle
@jneplokh, someone could see that it is not me by checking my Keybase (My handle is
@jacobneplokh). This becomes especially important with the Fediverse (Mastodon, Peertube, Pleroma, etc.) where someone could make an account with the same handle, but on a different instance. Of course, identity proofs are far from the only significant feature of Keybase.
Encrypt. Encrypt. Encrypt.
As mentioned, Keybase allows you to encrypt messages and files to others, and do it effortlessly. It is pretty simple to set up an account, and you don’t need much technical knowledge. Managing your own PGP keys is complicated and not practical for most people. There have been thousands of articles and blog posts written on why encryption is important, so I won’t go into that on this post. This ease-of-use is an important step forward to further standardizing encrypted messaging. It also allows you to store files in the cloud™ but encrypted. Only you would have access to it, unlike when using Google Drive or any other third-party cloud storage provider.
Keybase is a suite of great tools that allow users to use PGP and prove their online identities easily. I hope Keybase catches on with the public and that the product only gets better. I can see the use of identity proofs becoming essential in the future, as we realize many consequences of impersonation on the internet. I hope you now understand why I love Keybase so much.