- Crypto / Web3
An Infrastructure that Brings Web 2.0 User Experience to Web 3.0
One of the main obstacles that prevent the mainstream adoption of Web 3.0 is usability. The user experience of Web 3.0 is significantly different from the existing Web 2.0 products. The users need to download a Cryptocurrency wallet and install it and set up a password and then store the password in a safe space before being able to use any Web 3.0 product. These steps can be quite intimidating for users who are not tech-savvy. As a consequence, although there are a growing number of Web 3.0 projects emerging every day, it is challenging for them to attract a significant amount of Web 2.0 users. On the other hand, we observe users are already familiar with managing Web 2.0 accounts such as Twitter, email accounts, etc. They already know how to manage the private keys of these accounts. It would be great if there exists an account management system that can leverage this kind of familiarity and thus free the users from the trouble of managing new secret keys in the Web 3.0 world. What we need is a usable infrastructure that brings Web 2.0 user experience to Web 3.0, and thus smoothly transfers Web 2.0 users into the Web 3.0 world. A Web 3.0 account system that does not require a user to manage a secret key is called keyless, and this will be our first contribution to improve the Web 3.0 user experience.
The payment scheme of the existing blockchain networks such as Ethereum is based on blockchain addresses, which are usually random strings that are hard to memorize and manage. Therefore, it might lead to many inconveniences for the users such as funds being transferred to the wrong address. In contrast, traditional payment is usually based on human-readable identifiers (HRI) instead of random strings, and this is for a good reason. For instance, when you pay your debts to your friends, you want the transaction record to be bound to your identity so that it can serve as proof later that your debt has been paid. To base the payment on one's HRIs such as web 2.0 accounts is consistent with the Web 2.0 user experience and therefore remains a final mile to deliver before cryptocurrency and Web 3.0 truly become mainstream and finally take over our daily life. The existing HRI solutions such as ENS usually focus on one specific blockchain ecosystem and fails to incorporate many existing Web 2.0 human-readable identifiers that users are more comfortable using in practice, such as their mobile phone numbers, various social media accounts, email addresses (based on which PayPal systems are built), etc. We believe it is far more interesting to build a cross-platform payment scheme based on a generic HRI system that combines the users' existing Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 identifiers. A cross-platform payment scheme based on a generic HRI system will not only serve the purpose of bringing Web 2.0 users into the Web 3.0 world but also taps into this immense market and helps realize the full potential of Web 3.0. Another feature of the existing blockchain-based payment systems that contradicts the Web 2.0 user experience is its lack of privacy. This is actually closely tied to another interesting application of Faceless protocol, i.e., regulatory-compliant payment. Due to the explosive growth of Web 3.0 payment and its applications such as DeFi, NFT, etc, traditional financial institution is starting to migrate to Web 3.0. However, in order for the Cryptocurrency market to attract institutional money on a large scale, one has to address its regulatory concerns. The privacy issue is likely to play a central part in the regulatory compliance requirements. Faceless will provide a private payment scheme based on HRI and hence resolve the privacy issue. Our protocol will become a fierce competitor in the sphere of regulatory-compliant payment. In the Web 3.0 world, the HRIs will serve as the basis of regulatory-compliant finance. Faceless satisfies two vital requirements of regulatory compliance: 1. HRI will serve as the basis of regulatory compliance, 2. Our payment solution will be private, which addresses a central issue in any regulatory-compliance requirement. One's HRIs such as mobile numbers or social media accounts can serve as the foundation to implement various regulation-compliant operations such as anti-money laundering. More sophisticated applications such as trusted decentralized finance (DeFi) can also be built on top of our system. For instance, one could build a credit system or lending and borrowing system based on one's HRIs. Our scheme is based on a combination of identity-based encryption (IBE) and zero-knowledge proof. Identity-based encryption scheme will allow the users to encrypt the payment under the receiver’s identity instead of random blockchain addresses, and it will also allow the users to manage their multiple HRIs with one single master key, which is a significant usability advantage. Our architecture will introduce a mechanism, which is based on randomized signature, to verify the authenticity of the user identity while protecting the users’ privacy. The verifiable identity will therefore serve as a foundation for the regulatory-compliant payment. On the other hand, we will apply the zero-knowledge proof and IBE scheme to protect the users’ financial privacy. We will provide an open-source library to demonstrate the feasibility of our concrete design. The final product of Faceless protocol will be a layer-2 protocol, which can be deployed on smart contract platforms such as Ethereum. We will potentially introduce a zk-rollup scheme to further improve the scalability of our payment scheme. Our rollup scheme will mainly focus on resolving the conflict between the scalability issue and regulatory compliance requirements.
As shown in our deck, our main competitor projects include Metamask, Qredo, Tornado.cash, and ENS. We compare Faceless with these projects from three dimension: HRI compatibility, regulation-compliant, and privacy-centric. None of these projects except ENS is HRI-compatible. Only Qredo emphasizes a lot on regulation compliance, and none of these projects focus es on providing privacy-payment functionality to the users except Tornado.Cash. Our project is the first to achieve all these three properties.
Heisenberg lin (Founder)
Ph.D, degrees in Applied cryptography and privacy-preserving distributed systems from SJTU and UFL respectively. Postdoc in EPFL, Switzerland. Associate principal engineer in ASTRI, Hong Kong, PI of several blockchain projects supported by multi-million-HKD funds. Over 20 top-tier publications with over 1657 citations on applied cryptography and information security. Two US patents. Previously CTO of Suterusu project.
Michelle Han (Co-Founder & CMO)
She was the co-founder of a top real estate consulting company in China. The company served many unicorn clients including ByteDance and Alibaba. After entering the blockchain field, as the CMO of the Suterusu project, she maintained an active community of over 80000 members and led multiple successful large community events. She is an expert on building a comprehensive network of KOLs and media outlets in various countries and channels.
Zico Huang (Co-Founder & CTO)
Ph.D. degree in Applied cryptography from EPFL, Switzerland. Staff Security Engineer in top Internet companies such as Alibaba, and Microsoft. Developed multiple cryptography libraries that have been widely used in the industry. Multiple publications on top information security conferences and journals.
Geoffroy (Collaboration Scientist)
He is a CNRS research scientist at IRIF, Université de Paris. He received his PhD from École Normale Supérieure de Paris (ENS). He was a postdoctoral researcher at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). He is one of the top experts in secure multiparty computation and zero-knowledge proofs and has published many widely cited papers on ZKP.