On March 6th it was announced that the two-factor authentication plugin, Clef, was being discontinued. The plugin, which was once thought to have the potential to make traditional passwords obsolete, is apparently in its death throes as the company prepares to discontinue operations in the coming months.
Clef to Cease Operations
The announcement appeared on the company’s blog in an article by CEO Brennen Bryne. According to the blog, they are planning to join another company as it has apparently formed a partnership or has come to a merger and acquisition deal of some kind with the currently unnamed firm.
For now, support for Clef will continue for another 3 months, until June 6th, 2017 when they will cease operations for good. According to the blog entry, everything will remain fully functional up to that point, but outside of that timeframe, their apps will be subsequently removed from Google Play and Apple App stores.
The blog provides no additional information regarding the company they will be joining, nor does it go over any of the details of the nature of the partnership itself. However, it has offered a step-by-step process to transition away from Clef as a login method, including pointing users to other two-factor plugins so they can begin their transition as soon as possible.
The announcement surprised the company’s relatively large customer base, who immediately took to Twitter to voice their dismay. The plugin was most widely used in bitcoin, gaming, and developer tool sites, but it had developed a special niche with Bitcoin circles for its password-less login method.
Furthermore, the decision to discontinue support for the plugin is significant in how wide-ranging its impact will be with over 1 million active WordPress websites utilizing it as a login method. Starting at the time of the announcement, these users will have 3 months to choose a new method such as Authy, Google Authenticator, etc to secure their login scheme with. This means a large number of potential clients, many whom are relatively large businesses, will be again on the open market looking for a substitute, giving plugins like Authy a significant opportunity to expand their customer base.
Regardless, the Clef experiment to replace the password seems to have ended with a whimper. Despite initial promise and a clever workaround, Clef was unable to overcome the prevailing culture and get people to move away from old login methods that people have grown accustomed to. For now, we’ll have to wait for another viable alternative to come around and displace the password once and for all.
What do you think of Clef shutting down operations? Let us know in the comments below.
Images Courtesy of Wired FM