- Vitalik Buterin has released a blog note on what he thinks about biometric Proof of Personhood as cases of identity theft rage.
- He applauds the Worldcoin team for their efforts in linking up to discuss the matter.
Vitalik says that Proof of Personhood has been a key point in the Ethereum community as they try to build an undisputable real-world identity that asserts a person’s registry on a blockchain. In the blog, he explains that there have been multiple attempts to tackle this issue, with Proof of Humanity, BrightID, Idena, and Circles coming on top.
Why Proof of Personhood matters
Worldcoin, a crypto project built by Sam Altman, the CEO behind the world-moving GPT chatbot, has been in the limelight after showcasing the lengths AI can go to replace human prints on the internet. As a result, they have devised an idea to plug the hole by making it possible to tell who is a human and who is a bot.
The philosophy behind these plans will follow the following deliberations
(i) creating a really good proof-of-personhood system so that humans can prove that they are humans
(ii) giving everyone a UBI.
Worldcoin will achieve this by scanning the user’s iris with an orb. However, it has not gone without a backlash that the security concerns around it could compromise users. According to Vitalik, Proof of Personhood, all in all, is valuable because “ it solves a lot of anti-spam and anti-concentration-of-power problems” in a way that reduces their solves a lot of anti-spam and anti-concentration-of-power problems.”
In the article, Vitalik says that if Proof of Personhood is not developed, decentralized governance could become much easier to capture by wealthy actors, including hostile governments. He adds that most of the available services would only be able to provide denial-of-service attacks by setting an access price which ensures that bots won’t be used owing to high cumulative costs.
However, he pointed out that the current usage of government-backed identity systems like passports may be ineffective in the long term as it brings forth unacceptable sacrifices on privacy, which is open to attacks.
“Today, Many major applications deal with this issue using government-backed identity systems such as credit cards and passports. This solves the problem, but it makes large and perhaps unacceptable sacrifices on privacy and can be trivially attacked by governments.”
Vitalik further pointed out the already existing use cases of Proof of Personhood.
- Airdrops for token distributions
- Token or NFT sales that give more favourable terms to less-wealthy users
- Voting in DAOs
- A way to “seed” graph-based reputation systems
- Quadratic voting (and funding and attention payments)
- Protection against bots / sybil attacks in social media
- An alternative to captchas for preventing DoS attacks
He explained that the major underlying problem with Proof of Personhood projects is the leakage of personal data, where he suggested using zero Knwoneledge proof technology.
“Instead of directly making a signature with a private key whose corresponding public key is in the database, a user could make a ZK-SNARK proving that they own the private key whose corresponding public key is somewhere in the database, without revealing which specific key they have” he suggested.