Zero-knowledge proofs, attested data, and escrowed transactions

Thoughts on use cases from zero knowledge proofs -

  1. Privacy: Allows you to privately prove something without sharing who you are. Eg. For verification, credentials, etc.
  2. Ease of integration: Code, and create conditional statements, using outputs of any service without API access. Eg. To connect outputs of two separate services.
  3. Trustless escrow: Trust code, rather than a third party. Eg. To create an order book public infrastructure.
  4. Trustless collaboration: Trust code was executed correctly among a non-trusting group. To analyze or do benchmarks without sharing data.
  • For all, reduce cost of quality control, dispute resolution, and customer support

What types of attested data are there?

Attestation is an official verification of something as true or authentic, by certifying the validity of a document and the signatures on it.
  • Government-backed
    • Physical documents (eg. driver’s license)
    • Digital semi-private records (eg. I-94, Digital vaccine record)
    • Digital private records (eg. CA mobile drivers’ license)
    • Hybrid private records (eg. Passport NFC chip)
  • Institution backed
    • Email receipt (Venmo transactions via zkemail)
    • Signed PDFs (Contract via zkPDF)
    • Webpage (eg. TLS Notary, Reclaim, SSL certificates, university degree verification pages)
    • API response (eg. Plaid, Stock market, airline, weather feeds, Strava or stats)
    • Oracle data feed (eg. Chainlink, Pyth)
    • Public attestations (eg. Coinbase EAS, World ID)
    • Licenses (eg. professional associations like Pharmacy, BitLicense in NY, Money transmitter licenses)
  • Network
    • Human-to-human (eg. Proof of Humanity, Karma 3 Labs / EigenTrust, Icebreaker)
    • Reviews-based (eg. eBay, PlayerAuctions)
    • Action-based (eg. CAPTCHA)
  • Hybrid
    • Reputation from many sources (eg. Gitcoin Passport)
    • NFC chips from physical products (eg. Airtag)

What types of escrowed transactions are there?

  1. Managed Auctions (e.g., Christie’s, Namecheap):
    • Manage the auction process, including listing, bidding, and finalizing sales. They often incorporate escrow services for high-value items. Value add outside of the sale itself - Increase sales price by better education, scarcity, reputation, and limited time nature; Guide buyers to, and get them access to, the right objects via concierge
    • Involves competitive bidding, which is not a feature of the other categories.
  2. Peer-to-Peer Asset Transfer (e.g., PlayerAuctions):
    • Facilitates direct transactions between individuals for assets, often including digital assets.
    • Direct transfer of assets between peers, possibly with less oversight
  3. Payment for Services or Goods (e.g., Uber drivers, Upwork, Etsy handmade goods):
    • Mediate the provision of services, handling payment and often quality control.
    • Services rather than goods, involving different dynamics like service quality assessment.
  4. Payment for Online Goods That Can Be Duplicated (e.g., Gumroad, Etsy digital goods):
    • Facilitate the sale of digital goods
    • Intellectual property and distribution.

Questions to think about:

  • What data in web2 do we need to bring to web3?
    • Is there a trusted institution that does this or do we need to use all sorts of zk tech?
  • What platforms can you build upon that already have the requisite data?
    • Eg. Base, BSC, appchains, etc
  • What use cases are there in untrusted computing environments?
  • What digital voting systems are least trusted?
  • What managed marketplaces spend significantly on quality control, dispute resolution, and customer support?
  • What insurance offerings have lowest NPS by those who are insured?
    • Parametric insurance
    • Whether it’s poor pricing, unclear financial strength of institution, etc.
    • Natural disaster insurance (earthquake warnings from recognized agencies), travel (flight delay), crop insurance (weather conditions), supply chain (verified shipping data), etc.
    • Can we automate the insurance process by linking it to verifiable events (eg. earthquake), and increase liquidity by making it a localized prediction market?
    • How is the California earthquake authority insurance?

What types of data do we need attesting to?

  • Transaction
    • Something was done as stated (eg. Money sent over Venmo, donation was made)
  • Personhood
    • Not a bot (Eg. Gitcoin Passport)
  • Nationality or residency
    • US resident (eg. Emailed confirmation by some government or service that you filed taxes or paid fees)
  • Finances
    • Credit scores (eg.
    • Assets (eg. Plaid)
  • Organization
    • Part of YC, etc
    • Has a Coinbase, Airbnb, Twitter account
  • Interaction
    • Has interacted with a VC or founder, for review sites
  • Reputation
    • Credit score
    • Airline, hotel, car rental status

What use cases are attestations used for?

attestation is an official verification of something as true or authentic, by certifying the validity of a document and the signatures on it.
  • Legal documents
    • Wills
      • Lawyer, parties, all sign that something took place and it’s notarized
    • Trusts
    • Documents generally
  • Medical certifications
    • Present with a student when procedure was performed
  • Reviews
    • Yelp has a review system, and has bot detection

Web2 logins in web3

What's Brewing: We are seeing all vectors of existing web2 social log-ins being incorporated into web3. Below are just the very few examples of what I've been noticing: > Embedded Wallet - OAuth their Tiktok / LinkedIn (via @privy_io) > Social - OAuth their Twitter / Github / Telegram/ Discord (via @friendtech, @guildxyz) > Gaming - OAuth their Steam (via @EarnAlliance) > Other - OAuth their Strava (Fitness), ratings (via @receiptsxyz) > Music - OAuth their Spotify

Different types of Privacy enabling technologies

Airline status match tools
Unorganized notes

Focused on coordination between two separate parties, less so on privacy, though that’s the verification piece -

  • Transaction (eg. Financial service)
    • Money transfer
    • Doing a transaction on your behalf
  • Verification
    • Price match guarantee
    • Identity

Coordination between two unknown parties

  • Taking place on two separate networks / environments
  • Payments for a specific transaction or completed service
    • What can you get an email receipt for?
      • Donation matching (campaign donations) via zkemail
      • Rebates - misaligned incentives, discounts that are designed to not be claimed
      • Purchases - attribution?
    • Buying anything for someone for their crypto - this is the example of helping buy someone a flight
  • Proof of financial reserves
  • Identity verification
  • Could power claims

Irreversible purchases

  • Money transfers
  • Mail - proof of received object, for example, say USPS
  • Can we make purchases with someone else’s funds?
    • Eg. I’ll buy a plane ticket for you. You need to trust this company. But we will use their checking account to pay for it.
    • Need ability to contest purchase until date of delivery