Utilizing UCAN for decentralized Access-Control


July 12, 2023

Utilizing UCAN for decentralized Access-Control

In today's digital landscape, where data privacy and security are paramount, decentralized access control solutions have gained significant traction. One such platform that has revolutionized this space is Sonr. Sonr, an IBC-enabled blockchain built with the cosmos sdk, serves as a global decentralized identity directory. It provides a robust framework for securely authorizing gated access to resources using the UCAN token provided by the client. Moreover, Sonr has seamlessly integrated with IPFS, utilizing MySQL and Redis as intermediary components to enable its services to communicate with the IPFS network. This article explores the innovative features of Sonr, its integration with IceFireDB, and how it facilitates authorized decentralized services.

Understanding Sonr: A Decentralized Identity Directory

Sonr serves as a decentralized identity directory, allowing users to securely manage their identities and access control permissions. By leveraging blockchain technology, Sonr ensures the immutability and transparency of identity data while maintaining privacy and security. The platform utilizes the cosmos sdk, which provides a scalable and interoperable framework for building blockchain applications.

With Sonr, users can create and manage their digital identities, which are stored on the blockchain. These identities are cryptographically secured, preventing unauthorized tampering or modification. Sonr's decentralized architecture ensures that no single entity controls or owns the identity data, enhancing user privacy and reducing the risk of data breaches.

Enabling Secure Access Control with UCAN

Sonr employs a unique access control mechanism known as UCAN (User Controlled Authorization Network). UCAN enables users to have granular control over their access permissions, allowing them to grant or revoke access to their resources securely. This approach ensures that users have complete ownership and control over their data, eliminating the need for intermediaries or centralized authorities.

UCAN utilizes decentralized identifiers (DIDs) and verifiable credentials (VCs) to establish trust and enable secure interactions between users and service providers. DIDs serve as unique identifiers for individuals or entities, while VCs act as digital proofs attesting to specific attributes or claims. By combining DIDs and VCs, UCAN enables users to create self-sovereign identities and selectively share their attributes with authorized parties.

When a user requests access to a resource on Sonr, they present a UCAN token, which contains the necessary credentials and access permissions. The token is cryptographically signed by the user's private key, ensuring its integrity and authenticity. Service providers can verify the token's validity using the user's public key, establishing trust and granting access only to authorized users.

Integrating Sonr with IceFireDB: Secure and Scalable Data Storage

To enable its services to communicate with the IPFS network, Sonr has integrated with IceFireDB, a decentralized database storage and retrieval protocol. IceFireDB provides a scalable and reliable storage solution, ensuring the availability and integrity of data in a decentralized manner.

IceFireDB supports multiple storage engines, including LSM disk, OSS, IPFS, CRDT, and IPFS-LOG. By leveraging IPFS as the underlying storage solution, Sonr ensures the distributed and permanent storage of identity data. IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) is a peer-to-peer network for sharing and storing files, offering enhanced reliability and performance.

Through its integration with IceFireDB, Sonr leverages the benefits of IPFS, including content addressing and distributed file storage. Content addressing allows Sonr to refer to objects by their hash, ensuring the secure retrieval of data from the IPFS network. Moreover, the distributed file storage capabilities of IPFS enable Sonr to store identity data across multiple machines, providing increased resilience and scalability.

Sonr utilizes MySQL and Redis as intermediary components to interface with IceFireDB. MySQL, a popular relational database management system, ensures the efficient storage and retrieval of structured data. Redis, an in-memory data structure store, serves as a cache layer, optimizing the performance of data operations. Together, these components enable Sonr to seamlessly integrate with IceFireDB and leverage its decentralized storage capabilities.

The Workflow: Secure and Authorized Decentralized Services

To better understand the workflow enabled by Sonr, let's explore how it facilitates secure and authorized decentralized services. Consider a scenario where a user wants to access a resource hosted on a decentralized application (dApp) integrated with Sonr.

  1. User Identity Creation: The user creates a digital identity on Sonr, generating a unique decentralized identifier (DID) and associated cryptographic keys. This identity serves as the foundation for secure interactions within the Sonr ecosystem.
  2. UCAN Token Generation: The user generates a UCAN token, which encapsulates their identity attributes and access permissions. The token is signed using the user's private key, ensuring its integrity and authenticity.
  3. Resource Access Request: The user initiates a request to access a resource hosted on a dApp integrated with Sonr. The request includes the UCAN token, providing the necessary credentials and access permissions.
  4. UCAN Token Verification: The dApp verifies the validity of the UCAN token by verifying the cryptographic signature using the user's public key. This step ensures that the token has not been tampered with and that the user is authorized to access the requested resource.
  5. Authorized Resource Access: Upon successful verification of the UCAN token, the dApp grants the user access to the requested resource. The user can interact with the resource, confident that their access is secure and authorized.

Benefits of Sonr: Security, Efficiency, and Scalability

Sonr offers several benefits that make it an ideal choice for secure and decentralized access control:

  1. Enhanced Security: By leveraging blockchain technology and cryptographic mechanisms, Sonr ensures the security and integrity of user identities and access permissions. The use of decentralized identifiers (DIDs) and verifiable credentials (VCs) enhances privacy and prevents unauthorized access.
  2. Efficient Access Control: Sonr's use of UCAN tokens streamlines the access control process, eliminating the need for complex authentication procedures. The tokens provide a secure and granular mechanism for granting or revoking access to resources.
  3. Scalable Infrastructure: Through its integration with IceFireDB, Sonr leverages the scalability and reliability of decentralized storage. IceFireDB's support for multiple storage engines, including IPFS, enables Sonr to store and retrieve identity data in a distributed and efficient manner.
  4. Interoperability and Compatibility: Sonr's integration with the cosmos sdk ensures interoperability with other blockchain applications built on the Cosmos ecosystem. This compatibility allows for seamless integration with existing decentralized applications, expanding the possibilities for secure access control.

Future Outlook: Advancements and Innovation

Sonr continues to innovate and advance the field of decentralized access control. As blockchain technology evolves, Sonr aims to integrate with emerging protocols and standards, further enhancing its security and usability. The platform's commitment to research and development ensures that it stays at the forefront of decentralized identity and access control solutions.

Additionally, Sonr recognizes the importance of community collaboration and open-source development. By fostering a vibrant ecosystem of developers and contributors, Sonr aims to drive innovation and create a robust infrastructure for secure and decentralized access control.


Sonr, with its innovative approach to decentralized access control, provides a secure and efficient solution for managing digital identities and authorizing access to resources. By leveraging the UCAN token and integrating with IceFireDB, Sonr ensures the privacy, security, and scalability of its services. As the blockchain infrastructure landscape continues to evolve, Sonr remains at the forefront, driving advancements in decentralized access control and revolutionizing the way we secure our digital interactions.

With its commitment to security, efficiency, and scalability, Sonr is poised to shape the future of decentralized access control, enabling a new era of secure and trusted interactions in the digital realm.

Disclaimer: This article is purely for informational purposes and does not constitute financial or investment advice. Please do your own research before engaging in any financial transactions or investments.