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When Patrick Murck testified today at the Homeland Security Digital Currency committee, he mentioned that an identity verification feature will be added to the QT client.

What is this identity verification feature, and how does it work?

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He was probably referring to the payment protocol, which lets merchants (optionally) attach their online identity to payment requests, so customers can be assured they are actually paying who they think they are paying.

The payment protocol leverages the existing identity infrastructure that we all use every day on the web-- the same infrastructure used by every https-secured website.

There is lots of controversy about certificate authorities and lots of noise about building a better identity infrastructure for the Internet, and I personally look forward to the day when a better, decentralized identity infrastructure replaces the system we have now for both web browsing and Bitcoin payments.

And, again: if you don't want to use the payment protocol, you won't have to -- paying using a Bitcoin address will likely be supported forever. But if you are a merchant with a reputation to uphold, it will give your customers a much better payment experience if you do use it.

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