Polygon Rolls Out Zero-Knowledge, Privacy-Enhanced Identification Product

Under the design for Polygon ID, a bar owner could theoretically use the credential-verification system to verify a patron is of age, without ever having to look at any identification card.

AccessTimeIconMar 1, 2023 at 6:32 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 1, 2023 at 7:23 p.m. UTC

Polygon said Wednesday it launched a new Polygon ID product based on Zero-Knowledge (ZK) technology that will allow users to verify their identities or credentials without revealing sensitive information.

Polygon specializes in scaling systems for the Ethereum blockchain, including the popular Polygon PoS sidechain. According to the company, the new Polygon ID “toolset can be used by developers to unlock features such as an enhanced signup user interface, assist in regulatory compliance, help verify user identities and restrict access control to certain areas or features via token-gating.”

Zero-knowledge technology is a type of cryptography that’s been tipped as one of the hottest trends this year for the digital-asset industry because it eliminates the need for individuals to routinely provide personal information to various web sites or online applications. This advancement has long been viewed as a key potential use case for blockchains.

“Providing identity in a way that the average consumer can use is the holy grail of digital ID adoption,” Polygon co-founder David Schwartz said. “No other identity solution has been able to provide the scalability needed for mainstream adoption leveraging ZK technology until now.”

Under Polygon ID’s design, a person or entity known as the “identity holder” has “claims” stored in a wallet, according to a tutorial on the project posted on GitHub. “Verifiable credentials” are cryptographically signed and issued to the identity holders by an issuer who is a “trusted and reputable party.” Then a verifier checks the proof presented by a holder.

“The simplest example of a Verifier is a Bar that wants to verify if you are over 18. In the real world, the Identity Holder would need to provide an ID and show all their personal information,” according to the tutorial. “With Polygon ID they only need to pass a proof.”

Proofs can be done either off-chain or on-chain via smart contracts.

According to the Polygon website, there is a Polygon ID wallet app and wallet software development kit or SDK.


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Bradley Keoun

Bradley Keoun is the managing editor of CoinDesk's Tech & Protocols team. He owns less than $1,000 each of several cryptocurrencies.