Francisco Corella, Founder & CTO, Pomcor. The use of cryptography in web applications has been limited by the problem of where to store keys on the client side. Keys have been stored in files accessed by Java applets, smart cards, USB dongles, Microsoft Information Cards, Microsoft Virtual Smart Cards, etc. But such key storage solutions cannot be broadly deployed because they require hardware, software, or specific browsers or platforms that are not generally available to all web users.
As they mature, these new web technologies will enable developers to incorporate cryptographic functionality into web applications without limiting those applications to specific browsers or platforms, or requiring special hardware or software. Such functionality may include user authentication, privilege escalation, remote identity proofing, end-to-end encryption for web mail, and new methods for securing online payments.