Identicon is a trustless protocol for identity verification in the NEAR network, focused on providing multiple signed verifications of a real world entity and binding it to one (or more) digital identities, and independent of the form these digital identities may take (NFT, DID, etc). It is not an identity vault or a repo for unique identity.
Is based on a set of decentralized and random selection of human nodes (citizens) which will produce the “on-site” verification of the solicited identity, proof of life or proof of existence.
More detailed information can be found in: Identicon Network Draft
The “digital interface” between us and the real world implies that in many cases we really don’t know who we are interacting with. Is this person who he/she says he/she is ? Is he/she a fake ? Is he/she alive ?
This lack of knowledge has also a whole set of implications in the OpenWeb, such as knowing and identifying contributors, clients, avoiding rug pull and scams. The list of frauds increases day by day allowed by the lack of identity on projects and the people who operate them.
We think that solving this problem provides anticipated social and identity fraud detection, preserving reputations, generating huge savings in lost funds, and avoiding many other social and economic losses.
It also opens a whole set of use cases where these validated identities can be safely used, with deep social and economic impacts.
There have been various approaches in the Web3 community for solving this, we mention four here:
- Self-sovereign identity (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-sovereign_identity)
- Bright ID (www.brightid.org): Identity is a human right. BrightID is a social identity network that allows you to prove that you’re only using one account. It’s the holy grail of digital identity.
- Proof of Humanity (www.proofofhumanity.id): a system combining webs of trust, with reverse Turing tests, and dispute resolution to create a sybil-proof list of humans.
- DIDI (didi.org.ar): Blockchain para una identidad digital auto-soberana.
- DID (https://www.did.id/) - aka DAS Decentralized Account System.
But we think that the current implementations present problems that made them ineffective, or not fully “trustless”:
Relies on having to ask people you know to vouch for you, which allows fraud schemas and also is not viable for a whole set of people (ProofOfHumanity)
Rely on government or authoritative institutions for validation (such as RENAPER), with the known centralizing effects (DIDI)
Complex to use for inexperienced users requiring to have a wallet, have some crypto funds in them, send funds, etc.
Inability for older people to use them, when they will be one of the main requestors of validation, due to the low digital culture and low level access to technology.
No fiat transactions: Difficult to pay validation requests and validator compensations in fiat currency, though this may be solved when more wallets allow fiat interactions.
Focused on the unique identity, but not on the identity verification process (BrightID).
Expensive: High transaction costs and gas fees for operation.
- Binds trusted real world identity to one (or more) unique digital identities.
- Puts validation in the hands of the people (citizen verification). Anyone can be a validator.
- Takes validation to the place where people live, not forcing people to move to some central place to prove their identity.
- Simplifies proof of identity requests and validation process on an intuitive and easy to use Dapp.
- Allows recurrent validations (once a week, once a month, etc) to be scheduled and managed by the network.
- Opens a whole set of use cases:
- validating the existence of physical assets
- validating providers of goods and services.
- proving identity and life for validated users on social media platforms.
Use case: Proof of life
In developing countries (such as Argentina) assessing people identities (proving they are who they say they are) and assuring they are still alive, proof of life or “fe de vida” proving they are still alive, is a demanding and recurring need both for governments and all type of organizations (ONG, Social Orgs, Cooperatives, Banks, etc).
In many cases this verification implies access (or, if lacking, denial of access) to his pension funds, social assistance, health or housing and other social impacts.
But, in many cases, the people that need to be verified can not use any of the given methods. Old age, physical incapacities, no way to displace themselves, no access to technology or incapable to use it, are some (but not all) of the reasons.
And even when governments and organizations put an increasing effort in this, it is still an open issue, with the consequence that many assigned government funds don’t reach the people who really need them in an efficient and equitable way.
Additionally to this use case, the protocol opens the door to a whole set of use cases (such as providing verified KYC in Defi dapps) and may be used by other Dapps in NEAR which require some proof of identity, proof of existence, or proof of compliance.