Lasha Atandze, CEO of Rarify Labs: Blockchain Professional Discusses Importance of Multi-Chain Access for Social Identities

We recently connected with Lasha Atandze, CEO of Rarify Labs, a service provider for Rarimo, the interoperability protocol making digital identities and the decentralized social layer multi-chain.

During our conversation, Lasha sheds some light on the importance of multi-chain access for social identities in today’s digital world.

Lasha from Rarify Labs commented on why identity is so important in today’s digital world. As explained by the firm’s management, identity sits at the very core of most, if not all, of our online activities. From sharing posts on social media to accessing financial services, we constantly need to prove that we are who we say we are.

Despite this, within the existing web2 world, we do not hold true ownership of our identities, much less the social relationships built off of them. Instead, the centralized social media platforms do, and we risk losing our networks, and all the other data we have stored and amassed on online socials if we leave. These tips control in the favour of the platforms, and they decide on the terms for users. They decide on the (low) royalty fees for creators. They get away with persistent censorship and with lax privacy policies

Enter web3. Lasha explains that as “a user-centric and community-driven ecosystem, web3 offers an alternative where digital identities, and the data, and social networks or graphs associated with them are not owned by centralized companies, but by users.”

This means that users can “choose how and where they use their identities, porting them in and out of different platforms.” Ultimately, web3 resets the power balance “back in favor of the user and incentivizes the platforms to offer favorable terms.”

Our conversation with Lasha is shared below.

Crowdfund Insider: How exactly does web3 address the aforementioned shortcomings?

Lasha Atandze:  Web3 benefits from three primary characteristics that allow it to fundamentally rewrite the rules of engagement between users and platforms:

The inherently social nature of blockchain

Blockchain technology, on which web3 is built, is inherently social. By making transactions transparent through a shared ledger, and operating a decentralized system, the earliest iterations of blockchain technology (think Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies) were embedding sociality into the infrastructure.

Traditionally, web3 users have been able to observe the financial histories and peer-to-peer transactions of other users’ wallets. However, as the ecosystem continues to evolve, novel use-cases representing more complex social interactions have begun to emerge.
For example, NFTs often confer community membership while Proof-of-Attendance-Protocols (POAPs) are increasingly being used to reflect participation in community events. It is this web of social interactions, and the emergence of apps to support them that compose the decentralized social layer.

Privacy as a key tenet of blockchain technology

Privacy is also a key principle embedded in blockchain technology. As token standards and blockchain technologies that support identity continue to develop, so too do technologies that allow users to leverage these identities while preserving their privacy.
A notable development is that of zero-knowledge (ZK) technology, which allows users to confirm specific facts about themselves and verify that they meet certain standards without revealing any personal information.
The use of ZK proofs therefore overcomes any privacy concerns that users may have, allowing them complete control over their identity credentials.

Innovation within web3

Blockchain technology is at its core, innovative, and Bitcoin’s genesis in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, is testament to this. Blockchain technology is fundamentally disruptive, and recognition of the usefulness of blockchain technology in supporting digital identities is starting to grow from outside the space as well as within it.

From ZKs to POAPs, the security and immutability provided by blockchain technology in the decentralized social layer only exists within web3 and allows for more robust solutions. This is important in building trust and proving identity online, especially in the face of AI and AI-generated bots.

Crowdfund Insider: Why is it important that web3 social identities are multi-chain?

Lasha Atandze: Technical trade-offs mean no single chain can provide all of the infrastructure web3 requires. The more decentralized a blockchain is, for instance, the less scalable it tends to be. Additionally, the more secure a blockchain is, the less smart contract functionality it has.

For web3 socials to become a better alternative to web2, interoperability is key, where dApps and platforms will need to increasingly integrate multiple chains and enable the use of user identities across all of them. This allows the decentralized social layer to provide the best possible services for users.

However, pre-existing interoperability protocols have been built primarily to support the transfer of digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies, but somehow identity has fallen through the cracks. Many of these protocols therefore do not have the infrastructure to support the custom solutions that the decentralized social layer needs.

Without interoperability, web3 risks recreating the walled gardens which defined web2 where accounts and identities are locked into particular online spaces. Rarimo plugs this gap in the market. By making identities multi-chain and portable across networks, Rarimo fulfills the promise of web3 to restore data and identity ownership to users.

Crowdfund Insider: How does Rarimo’s partnership with Polygon ID enhance the use of digital identities?

Lasha Atandze: The Polygon integration embodies three essential pillars of web3 social identities: privacy is preserved via ZK proof technology, user-ownership is preserved via the use of self sovereign identity (SSI), and the identities are interoperable.
Before its collaboration with Rarimo, Polygon ID’s credentials could only be used on the chain where they were originally issued. This meant that if you issued your credential on Polygon, you would not be able to use it on Ethereum. Instead, you would have to issue a new, Ethereum-native credential.

Following the collaboration, credentials issued on Polygon can now be used seamlessly on Ethereum. At a single swoop, each and every identity provider using Polygon ID has become instantly cross-chain.

In the coming weeks, these credentials will also become available on BNB Chain and Avalanche, and as the number of networks that Rarimo can scale to is limitless, a range of additional chains will be added with time.

Not only is this the first time ever that Polygon ID has become multi-chain but as PolygonID is the first and only solution that allows users to represent off-chain credentials as ZK proofs, the collaboration marks a world first for the digital identity space.

Rarimo is particularly excited about the collaboration because it provides an early glimpse into the future of web3. Rarimo was born of the recognition that, firstly, robust on-chain identities are essential to the flourishing of web3, and secondly that on-chain identities can only be robust if they are multi-chain. Without the freedom to move their identities across dApps and ecosystems, web3 users cannot truly be said to own their digital identities and are instead forced to contend with the same threat of walled gardens that plagued web2.

The Rarimo-PolygonID collaboration marks the first step into a future where users can leverage credentials from a range of off and on-chain sources, using them seamlessly across ecosystems and dApps.

Crowdfund Insider: What’s next for Rarimo?

Lasha Atandze: Rarimo is setting precedents for the web3 digital identity ecosystem. By developing standards, infrastructure, and use-cases that are proliferating across the space, Rarimo provides an industry-wide blueprint for innovations in identity and decentralized socials.

As it did with PolygonID, Rarimo will not only continue to support and scale any identity framework that wants to become multi-chain, but it is also building out and launching a plethora of solutions that tackle the greatest challenges afflicting the space.
The influx of spam and bots has been a long-standing issue in web3 dApps and services, and this is only due to get worse as artificial intelligence (AI) proliferates. This has created an urgent need for robust Proof of Humanity solutions that allow platforms to confirm that accounts are operated by real people.

As Vitalik Buterin outlined in his recent blog post, one of the most pressing issues currently facing the web3 community, is how to provide Proof of Humanity that is not only incontestable, but upholds the principle of web3 including privacy, decentralization and user-based ownership.

In line with this, Rarimo is currently working on an exciting Proof of Humanity collaboration that amplifies these principles, and will share details once ready.

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