Indisputably Wise Insights into the Future of Digital Identity

Rarimo
6 min readDec 7, 2023

Naturally, the REAL motive behind our attendance at DevConnect in Istanbul was face-time with the feline mafia who very clearly run the city. It turns out, however, that the conference was also highly instructive on the future of digital identity.

Should we launch Proof-of-Meow? 🤔

Since then, we’ve synthesized our musings on the most exciting developments and biggest risks facing the space. This newsletter will cover:

  • Juicy on-chain reputation highlights from Ceramic’s RepConnect
    - The complexity of the digital identity stack
    - The thrill of seeing KYC dethroned by social identity use cases
    - Ensuring that digital identity is not reduced to a tool for monetization
  • Why identities must be portable; Rarilabs co-founder Lasha Antadze’s talk about Rarimo at the Protocol Labs Summit
  • ZKs in digital identity applications; presenting Rarimo’s PoH solution at Manta Network’s ZKday

RepConnect

One of the highlights in Istanbul was RepConnect, a half-day hosted by Ceramic to foster collaboration between players in the reputation space. To echo the sentiments of Jokerace’s David Phelps, the range and caliber of projects that participated (Gitcoin, Disco, Karma3, Lit, Veramo Labs, Intuition, Consensys, Jokerace, and more) reflect the complexity of the stack needed to bring reputation systems to their full potential, and, accordingly, the value of maximal collaboration.

To finally see KYC dethroned by reputation and other social use cases as the focus of the digital identity sphere was also uplifting. For too long, the question of how decentralized identity technology can facilitate compliance has dominated conferences. This willingness to extend state control has not only been existentially disheartening, but in an interoperable ecosystem like Web3, KYC initiatives are a broken business model. Users only need to use your services once: when they initially verify. The ability to scale is extraordinarily limited.

‘How to Leverage Jokerace for On-Chain Reputation’ Jokerace’s David Phelps at RepConnect Istanbul

Applying decentralized identity technology to social use cases, however, paves the way both for new kinds of digital human connection and for a new power structure where individuals own their identities and the entire system of trust that these identities operate within. To expand on this last idea; the Rarimo community is particularly excited about and has been working on experiments with peer-to-peer verification systems whereby users are free to define exactly what they trust and which kinds of credentials are meaningful to them.

Despite the phenomenal identity stack evinced at DevConnect, however, the ecosystem is still missing a critical puzzle piece: non-financialised applications. The most commonly cited incentive for building on-chain attestations was, by far, identifying community members who contribute social value so that they can be rewarded with airdrops. Redistributing wealth and adjusting value systems to recognize cultural contribution, is socio-economically groundbreaking and a highly laudable use-case for on-chain identities, but it is also vital that digital identity is not exclusively reduced to a tool for monetization.

During the excellent Insights and Action Items for Building Real Apps With Decentralized Reputation panel, host Nick Reynolds from Veramo Labs asked about the greatest risks posed by reputation systems. Disco’s Evin McCullin’s, and Intuition’s Billy Luedtke’s insightful answers touched on the dangers of fusing financial settlement and reputation rails in a way that recreates the infamous Black Mirror episode where being unpopular leaves people unable to access critical services, as well as the occasionally ominous permanence of on-chain information.

‘Insights & Action Items for Building Real Apps With Decentralized Reputation’ Panel at RepConnect

To add/butt into the conversation, Rarimo would argue that we urgently need even more digital identity applications that spread joy and offer utility without a financialised aspect. Without this, we risk the same fate of the NFT market and so many other revolutionary Web3 innovations whose promise was tarnished by soulless gamification.

One of the reasons that Rarilabs was so drawn to proofs-of-humanity and built Rarimo’s PoH plug-in is that being able to distinguish between humans and machines in a post-AI world is not only inherently useful but has end goals — like dispelling fake news, or increasing interpersonal trust — that are distinct from financial incentive.

Protocol Labs Summit

Rarilabs co-founder Lasha Antadze spoke at the Protocol Labs summit about Rarimo and the urgent need for portability in the digital identity space.

  • Different types of identity attributes require different levels of privacy and therefore different standards. Confidential attributes will be represented by verified credentials, and public-facing attributes by STBs and NFTs.
  • Interoperability allows these different standards to be used interchangeably and across multiple chains. Without it, the identity ecosystem will fragment.
  • The critical role of identity within Web3 cannot be underestimated; every dApp that is built on the blockchain will become an identity issuer in some capacity
  • Rarimo is the cross-chain layer bringing dApps instant access to a range of aggregated identity issuers and standards, allowing them to verify on the chain of their choice and with zero-knowledge privacy capabilities.

If this is a topic that interests you — which in our humble, and unbiased opinion, it definitely should — you can watch Lasha’s presentation in the vid below.

‘Portable Identities’ Rarilabs co-founder Lasha Antadze at Protocol Labs Summit

ZKday

Rarilabs’ BD, Iva Kapanadze, spoke at Manta Network’s ZKday showcasing Rarimo’s Proof-of-Humanity plug-in.

This plug-in allows platforms to filter out bots by gating access to users who have proven their humanity. Through a single integration, dApps gain instant access to a range of four identity providers representing different methods of verification: Gitcoin Passport, Unstoppable Domains, Civic, and Worldcoin. This allows users to choose exactly how they prove their humanity.

Once users complete the verification process, they receive both a verified credential and an SBT that confirm their humanity, and can generate and submit zero-knowledge proofs attesting that they have met requirements only a real person could meet to multiple Web3 platforms including Talent Protocol, QuestN and Galxe.

If you have not yet proved your humanity but are aching to join the club you can do so via the link below and secure access to Rarimo’s dedicated Discord channel for “real humans.”

Just some other November highlights

Look guys, Rarimo builders are busy and important and attending DevConnect wasn’t the ONLY thing we did. Here are a couple other milestones from November:

  • RariMe, the Snap which allows you to store your credentials inside your MetaMask and generate Zero-Knowledge Proofs reached over 6,000 downloads
  • Talent Protocol, the SocialFi platform for Web3 builders integrated Rarimo’s PoH plug-in. Users who prove their humanity will receive additional XP
  • The Ceramic x RariMe integration -, but you’ll have to wait for the upcoming announcement to find out more

Recs of the month

If, like us you are perpetually hungry for gripping Web3 related books, documentaries and podcasts, then we recommend you check out:

  • Another Body — This documentary is a testament to the need for tools that help us distinguish between humans and AI moderated entities. It tracks a high school student’s search for justice after she uncovers deepfake pornography of herself circulating online.
  • My Techno Optimism — In Vitalik’s latest blog piece he responds to a16z’s controversial The Techno-Optimist Manifesto and argues for ‘Defensive Acceleration:’ consciously directing the development of technology so that it makes the world safer
  • Boys Club’s Effective Acceleration podcast episode — Funny and informative as ever the Boys Club crew provide even more background on accelerationist philosophies, delving into the history of techno-capitalism and effective accelerationism.

Rarimo will soon be publishing its own response to Vitalik’s My Techno Optimism exploring how we can apply his theories on defensive accelerationism to digital identity. Stay tuned!

For more digital identity updates, follow Rarimo on X/Twitter/whatever you call it, and join our Discord

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Rarimo

Making digital identities & the decentralized social layer multi-chain