KILT is a protocol enabling a fully decentralized claim based Trust Market using blockchain technology. It places claim standardization at the center, providing interoperability between different internet services and applications. This infrastructure is built on top of self-sovereign-identity principles, which means the identity and its claims are controlled by the owner of the identity.
What we believe and how that influences our work:
Identity belongs on protocol level
The original internet lacks a series of concepts, which turned out to be necessary for the commercial internet. These were, amongst others, search, identity and payment. Commercial companies stepped in, providing services for these concepts on application level. Unfortunately the structure of the internet leads to monopolies and this is why those companies today are the most valuable ones on the planet. While regulatory measures against these monopolies seem to have little effect, we believe that fostering the protocol level can solve the problem. Blockchain technology gives us the power to implement basic services like identity or payment on protocol level. Protocols are common good, they belong to anyone and anyone is free to use them. The value, which was accumulated by the companies on application level in the Web, will be accumulated directly in the protocol, letting anyone , who invests from it. (Graphic: Inspired by Union Square Ventures – www.usv.com)
The gap between government identity and commercial identity can be closed
When the commercial internet formed without an identity protocol, businesses started creating their own identity solutions. Some of them were widely accepted like Facebook Connect, some had very limited use only for one service or website. Governments could not accept any of these solutions as means of official identity, because that would have created a strong dependency on one vendor. Though governments have shown, they are completely fine with using protocols like SMPT or HTTP, when they are common good. If governments and commercial companies could agree on one open protocol for identity, it would be a giant step towards user’s convenience. People could use the same identity to login into a web-site, to start their car and to travel to foreign countries.
Personal data belongs to the person and not to company.
Commercial companies collect siloed identities. They often know more about the consumer then the consumer himself. This is not only questionable in times of GDPR, it also leaves a 1984 feeling with the people. Kilt will store the properties of the individual identity on the end-user’s device or (encrypted) on a cloud service of user’s choice. The user ultimately decides, who he wants to share which part of his identity with and for how long. The sharing of information can always be revoked by the user.
Existing data silos should be made interoperable
We understand that the existence of data silos will not end with a new protocol coming up. We want to incentivize owners of silos to make them interoperable through the Kilt protocol. This will provide more freedom and more convenience to the end user.
It must be possible to provide services and applications on Kilt, without paying license fees
The Kilt Protocol can be used by anyone to build services and applications. No license fee will be charged by the owners of the Kilt Protocol. We believe, this is the only possible way to gain acceptance and to build a creative community of software firms and developers around Kilt. If the usage of HTTP would have been charged, the Web would never have gained the size is has today.
Protocols have economic super-powers
When protocols are accepted as standard means of communication they provide investment security for new businesses. It is completely safe to build an E-Mail Client based on SMTP, because it is absolutely sure, that it will be able to communicate with all E-Mail Servers worldwide.
This security generates new business ideas and the possibility to invest. HTTP for example has created millions of jobs, most of them in businesses the creators of HTTP could not even imagine, when they defined the standard.
Identity needs to be permissionless and accessible for all
Identity is so fundamental, that it should not be permissioned by companies or governments. Even if we trust most governments in democratic societies, in many countries we don’t have to look too many years back to understand: there is no guarantee. And of course there is no guarantee for the future in democratic states and not all states are democratic right now. Consequently anyone must be able to generate an identity on Kilt, without asking anybody’s permission.
Off-Chain transactions must be possible
Not every Claim or Attestation needs to be recorded on the blockchain. It must be possible to store claims and the corresponding attestations on the end-user’s device. Also the verification process will be possible off-chain. There will be some limitations to this rule:
On-Chain transaction shall not compromise privacy
Kilt will never store the claim or the verification on-chain. This would disclose the transaction to the public and allows tracking of user behavior. It would also not comply with GDPR, because information, which is on-chain, cannot be deleted on user’s request. Kilt will only store encryted hashes of claims and attestations on-chain, keeping the privacy of personal information intact,
Verifying shall not result in an on-chain transaction
Verification of claims potentially happens much more often than attestation. We believe it is a good reflection of the real world to have the verification of claims as a lookup, but not as a transaction on the chain.
Standardisation of Claims is key to success
Interoperability needs consensus on data formats. Claims often constitute complex data structures. A passport may include the religion in one country and the colour of the hair in another country. If we want to foster interoperability, we must incentivize the creation of standards for claims. This standardization will also provide investment security to companies, which build applications for certain types of claim. Therefore we introduce the concept of CTYPEs, which describe the properties of a claim. Any claims of the same CTYPE can be attested or verified by the same software. We strongly incentivize the convergence of CTYPEs with Kilt, providing implicit standardization.
Attestation is a relevant business model for many companies
The success of Kilt is strongly linked to the convenience of the end-user. For the end-user Kilt becomes handy, when there are many different use-cases implemented with Kilt. The number of practical use-cases depends on the number of industry- and government-implementation available. These implementations will always involve attestation of some kind. We believe, attestation reflects work and there are many profitable business models around that. Businesses will create these business models and benefit from Kilt.
Mapping of existing organizational structures is essential
If we want Kilt to be successful, we cannot ignore existing, hierarchical structures. They exist in states, in governments, in companies and also in society. Kilt reflects these structures through multiple DAGs of trust. Any DAG has a root node, which resembles an authority. Verifiers trusting this authority may also trust attestations within the DAG. Of course the creation of DAGs is permissionless and not dependent on a central authority. Kilt also offers Curated Permissioned Lists, where trusted curators can vote on attesters, to be accepted onto the list. Accepted attesters benefit from the trust of the curators.
New, decentralized trust structures must be enabled
Reflecting decentralized structures requires a mechanism to curate the group, which decides on the who is a trusted attester. We use Token Curated Registries (TCRs) to establish this kind of mechanism. Attesters who wish to benefit from the trust of such a list must apply by depositing TCR’s tokens (derived from the KILT token). Token holders of the registry are incentivized to be diligent curators to maintain the high quality of the list, which in turn drives the demand for the registry’s token and increases the token price.