Introducing Polygon ID, Zero-Knowledge Identity for Web3

Polygon Labs
March 29, 2022
Polygon Solutions
Image source: Dribbble

At Polygon, we believe that putting people firmly in control of their digital identities is at the core of Web3’s promise to empower users over networks. We have been working behind the scenes to fulfill this promise and today are proud to introduce Polygon ID, the self-sovereign, decentralized and private identity for the next iteration of the Internet.

What makes this new identity platform unique is that it is first ever to be powered by zero-knowledge (ZK) cryptography, a privacy and blockchain scaling technology. Polygon has made ZK a centerpiece of its strategic vision and has committed $1 billion to related projects. Polygon ID is the latest product in this rapidly growing portfolio.

Polygon ID has the following properties:

  • Blockchain-based ID for decentralized and self-sovereign models
  • Zero-knowledge native protocols for ultimate user privacy
  • Scalable and private on-chain verification to boost decentralized apps and decentralized finance
  • Open to existing standards and ecosystem development

Polygon ID leverages the Iden3 protocol and Circom ZK toolkit. Moving forward, both of the projects will be sponsored by Polygon while keeping the original spirit of community initiatives to provide open source protocols and tools to the broader ecosystem of developers.

“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.”

Vision & Guiding Principles

  • Private-by-default identity is a future-proof and the only solution to the world's digital identity needs: stronger privacy guarantees means more possible use cases, which in turn results in more users onboarded.
  • Decentralization and self-sovereignty principles: putting users in control of their identity and personal data is a way to enable social coordination and take back power from third parties.
  • Computational trust / reputation for people-powered networks (dWeb-of-Trust): identity attributes can be expressed as claims (or attestations) which can be combined to create compound proofs.
  • Open and permissionless issuance of claims from one identity to another identity without passing through a third party: Identities are not passive. Agency is being made available to individual users, not just organizations, enabling new use cases.

Blockchain-Native Identity & On-Chain Verification

  • Expressible claim standard offers advantages over non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and verifiable credentials (VCs). NFTs are not private, and have high minting costs. While VCs offer some degree of privacy with selective disclosure and ZK add-on, their limitations are in the expressibility and composability, which are required for applications. Verifying VCs on-chain is prohibitively expensive.
  • Polygon ID leverages internal expertise to reduce complexity that comes with the use of Circom 2.0 to compile zero-knowledge cryptographic constructions known as zkSNARKs circuits.
  • Onboarding for developers and partners is done via the ID client toolkit that will include native apps, SDK’s and whitelabel solutions.
  • On-chain private verification is done using zkProof Request Language, a unique protocol for apps to specify the requested private attributes that the user needs to prove.
  • Relayer is a unique model that acts as a boost for Web3 apps by enabling any identity to issue claims. It helps reduce and manage the cost of user claims,  improves privacy and removes complexity with a sponsor model for user identities.

Key Unique Value Propositions & Benefits

For end-users: convenient privacy for all

Privacy is a fundamental human right and Polygon ID empowers the users to reclaim it. Because it is private by default, access control is based on proving verifiable information rather than sharing it with the verifier.

  • Most advanced privacy that can still run on a user’s device
  • Right of access to apps with user anonymity
  • Aligned with Web3 privacy ethos

For Web3 protocols: advanced and private on-chain verification

Polygon ID allows for the construction of new forms of reputations. Some examples include decentralized credit score for financial primitives and social payments in DeFi; decentralized sybil score, voting power / delegation and domain-expertise reputation for DAOs to enable new decision-making and governance models; player reputation profile for Web3 games; private and censorship-resistant P2P communication and interactions for social applications.

  • Identity reputation can be cryptographically verified in a privacy-preserving way directly on-chain to trigger trustless execution / action
  • No need to rely on a middle man to execute interactions with users
  • Ability to compose validation by interacting with generic Smart Contracts or NFTs, but with privacy

For organizations and businesses: open ecosystem for trust management

Polygon ID is a complete platform that can be used to construct a variety of identity and trust services. The team is creating an open and enterprise-ready ecosystem for trust markets and trust management to build new attestation and access services with an incentive layer.

  • dAccess-as-a-Service
  • An environment where existing solutions can be deployed and new ones created
  • KYC, KYB, attestation
  • A distribution channel with a variety of options to leverage emerging crypto system

Product Roadmap

Polygon ID is currently under development. The solution will be structured as a set of tools, platform services and examples for developers to learn, test and integrate with their apps or dApps leveraging Polygon ID’s unique on-chain capabilities.

The product portfolio (focus on simplicity and inclusiveness) is the following:

  • Polygon ID Wallet app - a set of open source user and developer kits to integrate or whitelabel for custom applications.
  • Polygon ID Platform - an open, public platform developers and organizations can use to define and manage the trust lifecycle of their applications and other requirements, such as ZKPs, sources of trust, etc.
  • Polygon ID Connect - public service platform to integrate access across user wallets and applications.

Expected delivery plan:

  • Q1 2022 - PoC for Polygon DAO.
  • Q2 2022 - Public release of ID Wallet app and SDK to support essential features, like Claims Issuance, Private Authentication, zkProof Generation and Verification.
  • Q3 2022 - Full release of ID Platform and SDKs for developers to implement custom use cases, including the zkQuery Language, P2P Communication Protocol and Relayer Service.

If this sounds like something your project would be interested in, please reach out here to share your integration needs. Keep up with the latest development on our website.

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