How to authenticate a user without a username, password, or database

Latest presentation October 2019, Onfido, London; previously on September Abstractions II, Pittsburgh, USA; first in February 2019, Rubyfuza & friends, Cape Town, South Africa


I share how learning different programming models and paradigms has helped me solve problems more effectively in my main programming language – in this case, learning the unique programming model of Erlang.

With a fun demo: How do you authenticate your users? Authentication is such a common feature we don’t even think about it anymore. Let’s challenge the status quo and authenticate a user with, well, nothing. Not even a database, and no API in its place. Do we need databases at all? Let’s talk.

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The last time I gave this presentation was at a digital identity firm, Onfido, in London. It felt like a flop – I didn’t get a sense it was well received – as this talk is more fun than it is informative, but I think the crowd were looking forward to some hardcore Erlang solution they hadn’t thought of yet, but they were definitely more skilled at Erlang than me. Got to laugh at these things and let them go 🤷🏻‍♂️.

Questions? I’d be humbled and happy to help.