Kitty Horlick, Director, Rarify Labs & Oleksandr Kurbatov, Developer, Distributed Labs
On the 14th of September, Rarimo Foundation launched RariMe, which allows users to store and manage identity credentials using their MetaMask wallet. Powered by Zero-Knowledge technology and Rarimo protocol, users will be able to seamlessly leverage their credentials across chains with top-tier privacy. Find out why such portability is a powerful threat to Web2 socials and why digital identities might herald a new entry point for Web3.
Web3 is not an only-child; it must compete with the accomplishments of its high-achieving older brother, Web2, whose seamless user experiences have set high expectations amongst internet goers. The arena of digital identities is no exception to this.
Take for instance, the single-sign on — a masterpiece of Web2 identity infrastructure. Rarely, since the advent of ‘Login with Google’ or Apple’s Touch ID, must we endure the hassle of creating new accounts, re-entering all our data and generating a password that at some inevitable point in the future, we will have to reset when we forgot the combination of special characters we used.
Moreover, when it comes to digital identities, Web2 is not the only sibling that Web3 must compete with. For there is another, much older half-brother: the real-world, where a single physical wallet can hold an endless array of identity credentials, issued by almost any source, and it can store them alongside cash and other financial assets.
With the launch of RariMe, Rarimo has unleashed a digital identity product that not only meets the standards and seamless user experiences of both Web2 and the real world, but delivers the additional, quintessentially Web3 benefits of privacy, portability, and true user-ownership.
What is RariMe?
RariMe is a MetaMask Snap that allows the wallet’s 100 million users to store and manage identity credentials alongside their crypto. This is an entirely new identity function for MetaMask, and has transformed the wallet into one of the first ever in Web3 to embody the versatility of the real-world and hold both digital assets and identities in a single location.
Such unification dramatically improves the user experience for those with Web3 credentials. Until RariMe, if you wanted to execute a transaction that required proof of identity, you would have to switch back and forth between your identity and crypto wallets. No longer will users have to endlessly toggle back and forth.
So, one brother down, one more to go, but how, you may ask, can RariMe possibly match the seamlessness of Web2 and the endlessly reusable single-sign on? The answer: by making each and every credential it stores instantly and fully multi-chain so that they can be used across any dApp on any network.
This level of portability is new to the Web3 identity space. Before Rarimo, the interoperability protocol that supports RariMe, credentials could only be leveraged on the chains that identity providers had integrated with. If, for example, an identity provider had integrated only with Ethereum, you would not be able to use the credential on, say, Avalanche. With RariMe, however, credentials need only be issued once and can be used interchangeably across Ethereum, Polygon, BNB Chain, and Avalanche.
The RariMe Value Prop: Portability
Such portability not only arms Web3 with a seamlessness to rival Web2, but is at the core of one of Web3’s most powerful USPs: user owned identities. In the land of Web2, no user will ever own their identity; instead, identities are the exclusive property of platforms-come-tech-megaliths. That Google sign-in, we’ve grown so comfortable using sits on a centralized server belonging to, yep, you guessed it, Google, and Google are at liberty to delete it, censor it, or mine it for data as they please.
In fact, mining your account for sellable data is exactly how Web2 platforms make their money. The true portability unlocked by user-owned, wallet-stored, blockchain-supported identities is a death knell to their business model. If you can port your data, you can port their profit, and so Web2 platforms are instead, walled gardens designed to foster dependency and ensure that users shoulder significant losses if they relocate.
This is most effectively achieved in Web2 socials where the network effect means that if you leave, you risk excluding yourself from your community. The acute power imbalance that follows is known as the attract / extract’ dynamic; platforms no longer need to worry about offering attractive terms for their users and instead begin to extract revenue from them typically in exploitative or unfair ways. Low royalty fees, data abuse scandals like the notorious Cambridge Analytica one, and ongoing censorship abound.
Portability however, collapses the extract / attract dynamic, and cracks open an array of new business models and opportunities for users. For instance, once you own the data associated with your digital identities and accounts, it will be you, rather than platforms, who is able to monetize it.
The RariMe Value Prop: Privacy
Though pluggable, portable identities may not, on the surface, seem private, the magic of zero-knowledge cryptography has endowed Web3 with its second digital identity USP: an unprecedented level of user privacy.
In the real world, and often in Web2, a plethora of personal details are bundled into identity credentials. To access goods and services, users must reveal all of these details no matter how unrelated they may be to the task at hand. If you pop into a shop to buy a bottle of tequila, for instance, you will have no choice but to share your address, full name, and exact date of birth with the cashier as you show him your driver’s license. What he then does with this information is as beyond your control as what tech platforms do with your data.
By contrast, Zero-Knowledge proofs (ZKPs) not only enable you to choose specifically which personal information you leverage, but allow you to prove that a certain statement is true, without revealing any additional information. You could, for instance, verify your age by generating a ZKP that confirms you’re over eighteen without even publishing your exact date of birth, let alone enough other private details.
RariMe has ensured that with only a few clicks users will be able to instantly generate ZKPs for each and every credential in their wallet. By extending zero-knowledge technology across Web3 identities, RariMe is helping to establish a privacy standard that will distinguish the space as it continues to develop.
Given the intrinsic value and USP of Web3 identities, the issues plaguing Web2 identities, and the increasing need for robust online identities inf the face of AI, digital identities may prove an intuitive entry point for newcomers to blockchain, and RariMe will provide them with instant, easy-to-use storage, and management.
If you are interested in using or testing out RariMe, you can install it here. It has already been integrated with Rarimo’s Proof-of-Humanity plug-in, which enables you to use identity credentials from Unstoppable Domains, Civic, Gitcoin Passport, and Worldcoin on Galxe, and Decentraland’s DCL Curations, and will soon be available on Zeely, and quest focused application QuestN.
The RariMe demo can be watched here.
The RariMe Snap can be installed here.