Kent Dahlgren
5 min readAug 15, 2020

Johan Nygren’s Pseudonym Pairs (P2P Identity Verification)

Johan Nygren may be one of the only original thinkers I’ve ever met

For Johan, nothing is sacred: he questions everything, even his own assumptions

As such, he might be one of the only remaining scientific minds alive, as the domain of science has ossified into a modern-day orthodoxy, limited in many ways by its own defined foundational assumptions

I can already feel people clench their fists at the suggestion that modern science is fallible.


A significant majority of modern people consider science to serve as the only trustworthy source of accepted reality, ignoring the fact that the framework was only established a few hundred years ago at most

As if the entirety of universal knowledge could have been tamed in just a small fraction of human existence

The hubris which exists at the intersection of appalling ignorance and prideful arrogance is appalling

“But that’s not scientific!“ I’ve heard people say, even those within my own circles, as they seek to rely upon a domain they don’t understand, seeking to silence a perspective that makes them feel uncomfortable

Modern science itself has only been emancipated from church doctrine for a little over 400 years

Descartes shifted the debate from “what is true” to “of what can I be certain” in “Méditations,” published in 1641 (and subsequently banned by the Catholic Church)

Of course, this emancipation from church doctrine stimulated significant scientific progress, but I would argue science has ossified in such a way which blinds it to progress

Many people who cast themselves into the fray in “defense of science” actually possess almost no real understanding of the domain itself

Their belief in “what’s scientific” largely predicated upon their faith in thousands of scientists in white lab coats

Which sort of resembles a modern day secular orthodoxy, no? What, with their priests and their lecterns, and whatnot

For a few years I participated in a debate which argued that dinosaurs likely did not exist

The rhetorical framing was such that I did not have to argue that dinosaurs did not exist; merely requested that those who believe in dinosaurs present in the science that might convince me of their existence

Because that’s how science works…at least that’s how it’s supposed to work

I was shocked and horrified to realize that an overwhelming majority of people who believe in dinosaurs actually have no fundamental understanding of the science

People say the most idiotic and ignorant things, but such is their investment in hubris that they are recalcitrant and refuse to except any alternative perspective, which is ironically unscientific, right?

For example, people will recommend that one examine the DNA, which is preposterous, considering that the claimed extinction event for dinosaurs occurred literally orders of magnitude earlier than the very oldest possible sample of DNA

(DNA proteins have a half-life which precludes its age to be any greater than about 6.8 million of years at most)

Or, most people believe with conviction that humans crossed the Bering Strait from modern Russia into North America no more than 18,000–20,000 years ago

But this theory falls apart when one considers modern DNA analyses and the finding of bones in modern day San Diego that indicate human presence 130,000 years ago

Anyway: Johan

What makes him rare is that nothing is sacred, nothing’s off-limits, and he almost exclusively assumes that he’s wrong

Ironically, in a culture of nearly universal hubris, the rare person who positions themselves “scientifically” from a place of humility are typically dismissed as being incorrect by those who defend science they do not understand

I’ve been honored to have worked for some extraordinarily exclusive and prestigious organizations; Xerox, Tektronix, Tripwire, Tenable, and more

In the modern world, and within my respective industries, the scientific minds at these institutions are considered to be some of the worlds finest

And yet even within these esteemed cultures I constantly encountered the hubris which blinds people to potential opportunities

Time and again I watched these same minds reject the most elegant and simple solutions, to their own detriment

It’s these perspectives that have convinced me that our society has ossified and is headed towards collapse, because even the most enlightened people are painfully orthodox to the extent that they are incapable of recognizing opportunity when it stares them in the face

In fact, they so bitterly resist any challenges to the orthodoxy that they eject the social and theoretical irritant as if it were a disease

Which is something like an oyster which so effectively ejects sand that it never creates a pearl

In my decades-long work in support of communities that aspire to achieve autonomy, I’ve recognized that there are certain features that are consistent, and one of the most foundational is: identity

Which is defined as: are you who you claim to be?

As some of you know, the domain of “fake accounts“ happens to be one of my areas of professional expertise, and so I think about this issue a lot

Until 2017 I was responsible for technologies and machine learning architectures that helped solve this puzzle for every single Amazon and every single Citibank transaction, regularly monitoring about 7 billion devices

And the service was additionally provided to thousands of other companies as well, so if you have done transactions in the modern world, it is likely that they were monitored or protected by innovations or technologies that I either helped define or manage

As it pertains to “identity,” I am familiar with a large number of extraordinarily complicated technologies which aspire to solve the riddle of identity

But as Einstein astutely noted:

If you can’t describe it in simple terms, you probably don’t understand it in the first place

And so, here comes Johan, with his Pseudonym Pairs solution, which so simple that it can be implemented in a single Solidity smart contract, running on the Ethereum Blockchain

I wrote all of those words to properly acknowledge the work of great creativity which has largely marginalized Johan from his family and friends, and merely because he aspires to provide a foundation for peace

He took a break from medical school so he could pursue this endeavor, and he’s giving it away for free

Why? Because he gives a shit

It’s a fairly decent solution, and consistent with how Johan works: he is challenging everybody to try and break it

One feature of this innovation is that it could scale up to billions of people, or more, but the technology will likely be adopted in more limited capacities, because large centralized institutions are incapable of change that challenges their unnecessary and entropic addiction to complexity

His solution is not dependent upon some centralized bureau; each peer contributor validates the identity of the other.

It’s that simple

Consistent with Johan’s commitment to gift economy, he’s also giving it away for free

Kent Dahlgren

Product management fix-it guy. World-famous people skills. Extremely small hands. (edit) marketing lady says I’m also supposed to say “CEO of software company”