Root Name Service (RNS) – A blockchain-native Digital ID from Palau
Geographic borders have become ineffectual in a hyper-connected world, whether that’s international money transfer, operating business remotely or negotiating geography-reliant property rules, Blockchains have aimed to overcome such innovation-hampering issues, yet have remained virtual without authority and transparency from institutions. For instance, existing on-chain identities can’t be used to open bank accounts, handle KYC or democratically vote. Thanks to cryptographic development, namely, Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) and (soulbound) NFTs, this is about to change, enter RNS.ID.
Intro to RNS.ID NFT
The RNS.ID is a legally recognised means of Digital ID issued by the government of The Republic of Palau. Any individual can apply for the RNS.ID, also an NFT deployed on the Ethereum blockchain (and a physical card). Through integration with zkSync (a privacy engine), RNS.ID is the first active application using Zero-Knowledge proofs to issue self-sovereign IDs. Besides a Web3 (or Web 3.0) Identity, users acquire Digital Residency, virtual government services and geography-agnostic status, à la Digital Nomads. Consequently, individuals gain a sense of economic autonomy as they’re able to completely control their own digital identity and assets.
Current Use Cases and Functionality
- Banks, membership enrollment and organisations such as Airbnb
- Hotel check-ins and domestic flight check-ins
- Registration for Palau digital corporations with 0% individual tax rate on income
- Access to US Markets via Compact of Free Association (USD based currency)
- As identity verification certificate for digital services requiring legal ID verification e.g. Global Crypto exchange KYC
- Note these include Binance, Coinbase, Kucoin, Bybit and Huobi. I have used RNS.ID to pass KYC on Gate.io and MexcGlobal (see more below).
Zero-Knowledge (ZK) Proofs Explained
In layman’s terms: A “zero knowledge proof” is a method that permits you to prove something, or are permitted to access something without providing specifics of information you want to remain private. A powerful use-case is identity and data verification through which the individual manages the sharing and transferring of separate data. ZK proofs display and publicly record the validity of each block on-chain which decreases computing resources needed for validating blocks. Consequently, the quantity of data held in a transaction also decreases and zero knowledge of the entire data is required.
zkSync – Decentralised and Trustless
zkSync is a Layer 2 blockchain that supports Ethereum’s virtual machine (EVM), the software that executes smart contracts. To advance privacy features and enable self-sovereign solutions within digital identity, they run the zkEVM which executes ZK proof smart contracts. For instance, ZkSync developers can build apps requiring personal data, like a home address, and verify owners’ information without revealing it. ZkSync acquires Ethereum’s security infrastructure hence it’s acknowledged the leading innovation to RNS.ID with opportunities to leverage the zkEVM worldwide.
Integration with RNS.ID
zkSync integration allows RNS to combine users’ separable data into encrypted proofs from metadata, producing faster KYC-verification and reduced network fees. These common RNS.ID NFT attributes are verified without disclosing individual identities and the individual can choose which data they share. Consequently, nobody, other than the digital residency holder, can access their own on-chain protected data. Such dynamic use of blockchain technology demonstrates its durability and importance to a global society focused on Digital ID.
Revolutionary Innovation in Digital Identity
Being open-source (decentralised), RNS.ID empowers people to select levels of identification disclosure and control data visibility by customising data security settings. For example, proving authenticity of Palau residence or obtaining of Palau land securely and efficiently, without penetrating customer privacy. Crypto exchanges requiring KYC commonly depend on one entity to manage sensitive data, exposing personal information and prompting security risks. Yet as RNS.ID is trustless KYC it enables simple identity verification in a single transaction and therefore mitigates breaches of data.
Concluding Thoughts on Soulbound NFTs
While NFTs are unique and non-replicable, they can be traded, yet soulbound NFTs (tokens) are specific to an individual and non-transferable. Considered transformable technology in the rising field of Digital Identity, use-cases include Medical and Work History, CVs and credit verification. NFTs therefore create a new framework for Personal Identifiable Information (PII), leveraging autonomy and transparency, whilst providing unrestricted access to Web3. Certainly, RNS.ID bridges the security and anonymity of Web3 identity with the abilities and legitimacy of global sovereignties. Thus it’s perhaps not surprising that, at the time of writing, further sovereign institutions are launching their own DIDs.