Polygon has just launched a new self-sovereign, zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) identity service. Called Polygon ID, the solution will enable users to verify their credentials and identity without ever revealing any personal information.
The solution aims to front-run the know-your-customer (KYC) regulation that will put incredible pressure on cryptocurrency companies around the globe.
A decentralized solution for KYC
Privacy and anonymity are the cornerstone of Web3 culture, representing everything its users hold dear. However, the huge growth seen in the Web3 market, driven by DeFi and NFT industries, has made it a target for regulators.
Market watchdogs around the globe have been racing to regulate the burgeoning industry and gain some semblance of control over its fast-growing market. This push for regulation translates into more stringent KYC requirements for companies operating in the Web3 sphere.
For crypto service providers, KYC means requiring their users to provide personally-identifying information such as passports, government-issued IDs, and biometric data. And while this relieves the pressure from regulators, it presents a slew of other problems, which include infringement of privacy and data leak risks.
This rising concern is what Polygon set out to address with its new ID solution. Polygon ID is one of the first such solutions to be powered by zero-knowledge (ZK) cryptography and represents the first milestone in Polygon’s ambitious roadmap for 2022.
The scalable blockchain platform has made zero-knowledge cryptography the centerpiece of its strategic vision for the next couple of years and has committed $1 billion to fund projects exploring and implementing the technology. Polygon ID, the company told CryptoSlate, is the latest product in this rapidly growing portfolio.
The ID solution will leverage the Iden3 protocol and the Circom ZK toolkit to provide a decentralized and self-sovereign platform for organizations, businesses, and users. It can be used to construct a variety of identity and trust services, including dAccess-as-a-Service, KYC and KYB attestation, as well as distribution channels.
For end-users, Polygon ID offers a decentralized way to KYC by enabling them to create a digital identity that can confirm their access rights without divulging their personal information. Polygon told CryptoSlate that this is a major step forward over traditional forms of digital identification as it removes all redundancy and middlemen from the process.
“Polygon ID is private by default, offers on-chain verification and permissionless attestation. There is nothing in the digital identity space now that ticks all these boxes,” said Mihailo Bjelic, Polygon’s co-founder. “It is also a great showcase for how zero knowledge proofs can help us create a better world.”
It also allows for the construction of new forms of reputation, opening up new possibilities for companies in the Web3 space. According to Polygon, its new ID solution can be used to provide decentralized credit scores for financial primitives and social payments in DeFi and enable a decentralized Sybil score that could create new decision-making and governance models in DAOs. Polygon ID could also be used to create player reputation profiles for Web3 games and facilitate private P2P communication and interactions on social applications.
Polygon’s convenient privacy set that’s set to be delivered this year
Based on the expressible claim standard, Polygon ID offers advantages over other forms of digital verification such as NFTs and verifiable credentials (VCs).
While NFTs have become ubiquitous in the Web3 world, they lack the privacy and cost-efficiency needed to make them an effective verification solution. Verifiable credentials, on the other hand, offer a higher degree of privacy as they enable selective disclosure and can support ZK cryptography. However, they’re limited when it comes to expressibility and composability—all features required when implementing verification solutions to complex applications.
And while zk-proof-based identity solutions offer significantly more benefits and applications, their complexity often stands in the way of mainstream adoption. Polygon ID has drastically reduced the complexity that comes with the use of Circom 2.0 and created a much more streamlined solution.
This enables the onboarding for developers and partners to take place via the ID client toolkit, which will come with native apps, SDKs, and white label solutions. On-chain private verification is done using zkProof Request Language, while identities can issue claims through the relayer, a unique model that reduces the cost of user claims.
To support all of these features, Polygon ID will be structured as a set of tools and platform services. The product portfolio will include the Polygon ID Wallet app, the Polygon ID platform, and the Polygon ID Connect, a public service platform that enables access integration across user wallets and apps.
By the end of the week, Polygon is set to deliver a proof of concept for the Polygon DAO. Next quarter, the market should see the public release of the ID Wallet app and the Polygon ID SDK, while the full release of the Polygon ID platform and the SDK for custom use cases should happen this fall.