Blockchain Authentication Definition

KZero Staff
Jul 27, 2023

What is Blockchain Authentication?

Applications authenticate users’ identities in various ways. Some of the most common include passwords and biometrics, such as fingerprint or facial recognition.

Blockchain authentication refers to the use of blockchain technology to authenticate a user’s identity. If a person can prove that they are the owner of a particular blockchain account, they are authenticated to the associated account with the application or service.

How Blockchains Handle Authentication

Blockchains use asymmetric or public key cryptography to authenticate the owner of a particular blockchain account. With public key cryptography, a user generates a random private key and then derives a public key from this private key. The private key is used for decrypting data and generating digital signatures, while the public key is used for data encryption and signature verification.

On the blockchain, a user’s account address is derived from their public key. For example, addresses on the Ethereum blockchain are derived by taking a Keccak-256 hash of the public key and truncating it to its last 20 bytes.

One of the main advantages of this approach is that it creates a clear tie between a public key and the associated blockchain address. Every transaction on the blockchain includes a digital signature, which can be verified using the associated public key and used to prove that the owner of the account (or someone with access to their private key) created or approved the transaction.

This design solves one of the main challenges of public key cryptography: proving that a particular public key actually belongs to its alleged owner. Traditional public key infrastructure (PKI) systems involve chains of trust in which the authenticity of each public key is verified by the next party up the chain. With blockchain, public keys are inherently tied to accounts because anyone can derive the address associated with a public key from the key itself.

Using Blockchains for Authentication

Blockchain technology has a built-in method for performing strong user authentication. Users prove their identities by generating digital signatures that can be verified using the public key tied to a particular blockchain account. If a transaction — or other piece of data — is digitally signed, it was created by someone who knows the private key for that account.

Other applications can use blockchains’ authentication mechanisms to verify the identity of their users. During the account setup process, a user could prove that they own a particular blockchain account by digitally signing some data with the private key associated with that account. After the signature has been validated, the user’s account with a service is tied to that blockchain account.

If a user wanted to log into the service in the future, all they would have to do is generate another digital signature for that blockchain account. If they can do so, they know the private key associated with the account and are likely the authorized user.

Benefits of Blockchain Authentication

Using blockchain accounts for identity verification provides an alternative to traditional authentication systems. Some of the advantages of blockchain authentication include:

  • Stronger Security: Blockchain accounts use private keys rather than passwords to identify users. These keys are longer and more random, reducing the risk of weak passwords.
  • Existing Infrastructure: Blockchain technology has built-in identity management solutions. An application just needs to be able to verify digital signatures to authenticate a user’s identity.
  • Anonymous Identification: Blockchain authentication proves that a user is the owner of a blockchain account. This enables an application to authenticate a user’s identity without the need to know their real-world identity.
  • Ecosystem Integration: Blockchain technology is growing rapidly, and many solutions are being built on blockchain platforms. Using blockchain wallets for authentication makes it easier for an application to integrate with these blockchain-based solutions.


Blockchain authentication takes advantage of existing authentication infrastructure in blockchain technology to validate users’ identities for other applications. This approach to authentication offers strong user authentication and the potential for integration with other blockchain-based solutions.

KZero Staff

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