Encyclopedia > Pseudonymity

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In cryptography, pseudonymity is the ability to prove a consistent identity without revealing oneself, instead using a pseudonym. Pseudonymity is a state which combines many of the advantages of having a known identity with the advantages of anonymity. The main difference between anonymity and pseudonymity is that while in anonymity the identity is not known, in pseudonymity, there exists a separate persistent "virtual" identity but it cannot be linked to a physical person, persons or organization.

One of the easiest ways of establishing pseudonymity is to use public key cryptography. Publishing a public key allows pseudonymous postings to be made using messages encrypted with the corresponding private key.

Pseudonymous remailers, called "nym servers", have been set up for the purpose. They take messages signed with the pseudonym's key and send them from the pseudonym's email address, while forwarding messages addressed to the pseudonym to the real address. Unlike in the case of anonymous email, replies can be sent to the pseudonymous sender, and the pseudonyms can establish digital reputations[?].

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