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Idena is a novel way to create anonymous identity on the blockchain. It does not collect or store personally identifiable information. Idena proves the humanness and uniqueness of its participants by running an AI-hard Turing test at the same time for everyone around the globe.
The Idena blockchain is driven by proof-of-identity consensus: Every node is linked to one single person with equal voting power.
The Internet has democratized information sharing, but, like any complex socio-technical system, it tends to concentrate power.
The World Wide Web is centered around the cloud infrastructure of super conglomerates like Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook. They enjoy economy of scale and have access to the best engineering teams to create even more gravity for the solid core.
We are all citizens of Google and Apple.
We are happier, fitter, more productive, but... dependent, monetized, surveilled.
Even best-in-class secure email and messaging services like ProtonMail or Signal require us to disclose our identity one way or another for long-term storage on their servers.
Ten years ago, Bitcoin paved the way for reliable censorship-resistant digital cash, truly distributed infrastructure, and innovative leaderless governance. It was followed by Ethereum, which has proven the concept of global general-purpose computing and formed a vibrant ecosystem of decentralized application developers.
While blockchain technology is still in its infancy, it has already experienced its own concentration of power.
Over time, the validation of public blockchains got pooled in the hands of a few miners, making it easy to form cartels and distort governance. There are 13 controlling pools in Bitcoin, 20 distinct miners in Ethereum, and 21 block producers in EOS. Fifty percent of Ethers are owned by 400 addresses. The “Proof of Stake” mechanism will only make the distribution more extreme — the rich become richer. Such is the nature of money.
We believe that a digital identity is the building block of the decentralized future
There is a call for a solution to the growing imbalance of power in blockchain and Internet applications.
We believe that a digital identity is the building block of the decentralized future. Such an identity can be constructed to be anonymous, self-managed, and valid globally, no matter where the person lives. No trusted authorities are needed to achieve this. All we need to know about the identity is that there is a single living person to whom that identity belongs. We call it Idena.
One person - one vote is a fundamental principle for democracy and a foundation for the future blockchain technology. We believe in distributed governance and the wisdom of the crowd to achieve stability. Advanced voting mechanisms like quadratic voting could improve distributed governance for everyone.
A peer-to-peer web without servers and censors would empower people, not wealth or authority, and give them control over sharing information and value. No personal data should be required to access a service, send a message, or buy a coffee in a decentralized world.
Blockchain mining must be democratic: The blockchain node should be light enough to run on an average computer or laptop. In Idena all participants are empowered to maintain the network. Participation in Idena is rewarded in a form of a UBI.
Every voice has a right to be heard. Spreading information should be seamless, and publications should be censorship-resistant.
We believe that a scalable blockchain can be built without compromising its safety. The basis for genuine scalability and safety is a transparent and redundant decentralization.
We are an anonymous group of like-minded engineers and computer scientists who stand for the human right to share information and exchange value freely and privately.
We believe that there is a way to redesign the way software systems in general and blockchains in particular work to achieve greater decentralization and scalability.
The Idena network allows for a proof of humanity and proof of uniqueness for its participants. We call it Proof-of-Identity (PoI). Idena does not require any personal data sharing, does not reveal a person’s identity, and does not need a third-party identification center. Idena is based on a network of people mutually validating their humanness and uniqueness. How is it possible?
Idena employs regular checkpoint rituals — synchronous validation sessions — to certify a participants’ humanness for the consequent epoch. The validation requires solving of “flips-puzzles” easy for a human, difficult for a bot.
Fig 1. Idena validation flow for a single epoch
The uniqueness of participants is proven by the fact that they must solve flip synchronously. Flips are decrypted at the same time world wide. A single person is not able to validate herself multiple times because of the limited timeframe for the answers submission.
After the validation session is over, the network reaches consensus about the new list of validated participants, and the date of the next validation session is scheduled. The bigger the network is, the less frequently the validation sessions happen.
The validation status of a participant is not forever. It expires when the next epoch starts. Participants should prolong their validation status for every new epoch.
To be allowed to take part in the next validation round, the participant must provide a certain number of newly created flips.
To join the network, a new person must get an invitation from a validated participant.
The Idena blockchain is based on a proof-of-identity Sybil control mechanism. Every validated participant has an equal voting power in the network to produce blocks and validate transactions. Randomly selected participants generate block proposals and broadcast them into the network. A random committee is selected to reach consensus about whether to include a block into the blockchain.
Unlike many blockchains that utilize centralization to increase capacity, we solve the scalability problem by exaggerating decentralization. It might be considered as a counterintuitive approach because of the well-known “Scalability-Security-Decentralization” trilemma. However, Idena offers decentralization-based scalability without sacrificing security.
Idena provides a secure way to run multiple sub-chains in parallel driven by different sets of independent participants in a process called sharding. A network with millions of nodes driven by diverse people could be safely split into thousands of groups (shards) processing transactions at the same time.
The Idena protocol formalizes the notion of the human on the blockchain. We believe that it brings decentralization to a new level and supports the creation of a fair consensus by avoiding network centralization despite the nature of capital to concentrate. The Idena network is truly decentralized since every node is linked to a single person.
Technically, an identity can be sold and bought. However, the Idena protocol introduces economic incentives to prevent participants from doing that. The person who sells an identity is able to kill the identity right after it was sold to unlock unspendable coins frozen in a special wallet linked to the identity.
Idena enables democratic access to mining: Neither expensive mining hardware nor a bunch of money for stake is needed, but rather an average laptop that is online.
All validated participants are encouraged to do useful work for the network (hosting their nodes, creating and solving flips, inviting new users, and so on). This resource sharing is rewarded with a universal basic income (UBI). The UBI for a single participant is enough to cover the fees for 1000 transactions on the Idena blockchain per day.
The identity network will have various types of internal governance mechanisms: network improvements proposals (soft forks); network upgrade proposals (hard forks); global fund proposals, and allocations.
There are various use cases that can be facilitated by the anonymous identity network.
Governance is one of the most important killer apps of blockchains. DAOs effectively recreate cross-border organizational structures at miniscule administrative costs and near-zero compliance burden. However, governance mechanisms in permissionless communities can only be based on the stake of tokens; hence, they are inherently plutocratic. Large stakeholders can collude to dominate the outcome of voting, discouraging others from participation. A unique identity proof (one ID per person) can be used to distribute voting credits to the individual members of the community to ensure fairness. Modern voting technologies such as Quadratic Voting can be implemented to engage the crowd to participate in the collective decision-making process.
Current business models of most Internet services imply the monetization of personal information collected about the user's behavior, interests, social connections, in many cases without the user's consent. The new business model could be based on the consensual self-monetization of personal information and proactive intentional disclosure initiated by the user. Based on such intentional information-sharing, advertisers could provide the best deals and pay the user directly to view and utilize them. Internet services and apps could distribute utility tokens, rewards, tokenized coupons, and discounts. This model would be possible only when advertisers and businesses are protected from Sybil attacks.
The network of independent nodes can securely store a queue of undelivered P2P-encrypted messages. Spam attacks are prevented by assigning a minor friction in the form of a transaction fee and a decentralized storage rent fee. The native cryptocurrency of the Idena Network can be used to transact value between users as a special type of message inside the P2P chat. Trustless decentralized two-way bridges are to be developed to tokenize and transact major cryptocurrencies (BTC, ETH) as tokens on the Idena blockchain.
The identity network can be used as a decentralized storage for publications and whistleblowing information to build censorship-free publishing platforms, which are protected from bots manipulating content discovery.
A full node of the identity blockchain could be light enough to run on an average laptop. Participation in the network is rewarded with minting and can be considered as a form of the universal basic income sufficient to cover network services (for example, sending messages) as well as the bill for the Internet service and electricity consumed. At a certain stage the Idena network can be attractive for international organizations to distribute unconditional rewards to network participants.
The anonymous unique identity provider can be integrated with other self-sovereign identity systems to verify claims of uniqueness.
Idena network is fully open. It consists of a set of validated nodes – identities. The number of nodes is not limited, anyone will eventually be able to become part of Idena.
To minimize the probability of the Sybil attack, the pace of the network growth is restricted: Idena network participation is invite-based.
New invitations can only be sent out by validated nodes. The number of new invitations per node is limited and decreases as the network grows, while the total amount of generated invitations will get larger.
Idena core team will be granted to issue a limited number of invitations per month to support the network growth. Invitations will be distributed among backers and adopters first. Early distribution will start in September 2019. Wide distribution of invitations will start in January of 2020.
A flip is a sort of a CAPTCHA that helps to determine whether a technology user is human. In contrast to a CAPTCHA, which stands for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart" and is usually generated by an automated service, a flip should be created by a human. And unlike a usual CAPTCHA, which is based on object recognition, solving a flip requires a semantic interpretation of the relationship between objects.
Each flip contains two stories in pictures. One of them (left or right) is a sequence of pictures that is created by a human as a meaningful story. The other is created by the same author as illogical. Stories are "read" from top to bottom. Solving a flip is choosing the story that seems logical. If both stories seem meaningful or meaningless, the task is still to choose the one which seems more logical than the other and thus would rather be chosen by other people.
A flip is not an IQ test but a test for common sense. There are no predefined correct answers: The correct answer will be the one chosen by a majority of people.
Example of a flip: a meaningful story (left) and a meaningless sequence of pictures (right)
Read more about AI-resitant captchas in Idena blog.
Try to test yourself to check whether you are bot or not.
Our hypothesis is that flips belong to the class of AI-hard problems and cannot be solved by a narrow AI with accuracy equal to or higher than that of humans (80%).
We welcome AI researchers and practitioners to disprove the hypothesis: Idena will award a $25,000 prize (paid in the equivalent cryptocurrency) to the first individual or a team to break 80% accuracy in solving flips using AI and demonstrate this claim publicly on a test sample.
We are here to help to you. Browse through the most frequently asked questions. Can’t find an answer? Email us at email@example.com.
The uniqueness of participants is proven by the fact that they must solve and provide the answers for flip-puzzles synchronously. A single person is not able to validate herself multiple times because of the very limited timeframe for the submission of the answers.
The validation status of a participant is not forever. It expires when the next epoch starts. Participants should prolong their validation status for every new epoch.
Technically, an identity can be sold and bought. However, the Idena protocol introduces economic incentives to prevent participants from doing that. A person who sells their identity can simply kill the identity afterwards to unlock their frozen coins (frozen coins accumulate for each identity as a part of UBI and cannot be spent while the identity is valid).
To sell an identity, the seller provides a copy of the identity's private key. The buyer cannot be sure that another copy of the private key will not stay with the seller. Thus, the private key enables the seller to kill the identity at any time, and the buyer would not have an economic reason to buy identity.
Every identity in Idena has two wallets: the Idena wallet and the stake. The stake is like your identity’s pension account: 20% of all your Idena rewards (mining, validation rewards, flip rewards, valid invitation rewards, and so on) accumulate in the stake, while the remaining 80% goes directly to your Idena wallet.
The stake cannot be spent while your identity is valid. You receive these coins in your Idena wallet or in any other wallet that you choose only when you voluntary terminate your Idena account - that is, “kill” your identity.
When your identity is killed by the network protocol, you lose your stake.
Idena does not use the stake for governance purposes.
The date of the validation session is calculated by the network and is shown in the Idena app. The bigger the network, the less frequent the validation sessions. The time is always fixed: 13:30 UTC.
The validation time of 13:30 UTC covers most countries when most people are awake. These are the local times for some of the world's cities (as of June 1, 2019):
The short validation session has a very limited time frame, less than two minutes, and consists of five flips, each of which is received only by 1–4 participants in the network (depending on the network size). This session’s task is conducting a Turing test: telling humans from AI.
The long flip qualification session lasts 30 minutes and consists of 25-30 flips, each of which is received by a larger number of network participants (depending on the network size). This session enables the network to achieve a consensus on flip quality and the right answer to a flip.
To get validated, you need to meet these three requirements during each validation session:
The validation status of a participant is not forever. It expires when the next epoch starts. Participants should prolong their validation status for every new epoch. A validated person may miss two validation sessions in a row without losing her identity. But then this person cannot mine coins during the epochs when validations have been missed.
There are different statuses of participants in Idena:
Fig: Identity status flow
The validation time needs to be synchronized for people all over the world to verify the uniqueness of network participants. Otherwise, it would be possible to verify a different account at each of the various validation ceremonies.
Newbies and validated identities must submit flips before the next validation ceremony. Not submitting flips is equal to missing a validation.
Candidates, suspended identities, and zombies do not submit flips for the validation ceremony.
If your identity is killed by the network, you lose your stake: 20% of all your rewards (mining, validation rewards, flip rewards, valid invitation rewards, and so on), which cannot be spent while your identity is valid and which can be received only when you voluntary terminate your Idena account.
The remaining 80% of all your Idena earnings go directly to your Idena wallet. You keep those coins even if your identity is killed (by you or by the network protocol).
To use Idena for sending messages and funds, you just need to download the app. To create a digital identity, you should receive an invitation code from a validated participant of the network and use the code to apply for validation.
New invitations can only be sent out by validated nodes. The number of new invitations per node is limited and decreases as the network grows, while the total amount of generated invitations gets larger.
The core Idena team is also granted to issue a limited number of invitations per epoch to support the network growth.
The pace of network growth is restricted to minimize the probability of a Sybil attack.
The Idena protocol introduces incentives to prevent participants from buying and selling invitations. The person who sells an identity can kill the invited identity during the next three epochs. The seller can double-spend the invitation by selling it multiple times. Invitations should be granted for free to trusted people only (relatives, friends, and so on).
Validated participants create flips to be able to take part in the next validation session.
For now, they can't. But Idena is designed as an open-source project, and we hope that there will be teams with specific expertise in this area who will be motivated to develop means for people with disabilities to get validated in the network, such as audio flips, for example.
A flip is submitted without the right answer. The network comes to a consensus about the right answer after the validation session. If consensus is not reached, then the flip is disqualified. Answers for disqualified flips are not counted.
The network comes to a consensus about the right answer after the validation session. If consensus is not reached, then the flip is disqualified. Answers for such disqualified flips are not counted.
As the network grows, the number of people solving the same flip goes down: In a network of 10,000 users, only two different participants will have the same flip to solve. When the network reaches 30,000 users, one single flip will appear in a validation session of only one participant.
The flips are stored as encrypted data in the network before validation, and then they are algorithmically distributed.
Flips belong to the class of AI-hard problems. There is no single pattern for flips since they are created by humans according to randomly selected keywords.
Flips do not fall under the class of "recognition" problems, which are easily solved by neural networks. Solving a flip demands understanding the meaning of a story, using common-sense reasoning.
The example of the Winograd Schema Challenge shows that introducing a larger database does not lead to better results with AI-hard tasks.
In addition, adversarial noise can be added to flip images to make a neural network result in incorrect outputs.
Thus, current AI instruments or even a large database of flips will not achieve the results that can be compared to those demonstrated by humans.
To create a flip, you use two keywords randomly selected by the protocol as associative hints to think up a story within the general template of “Before – Something happens – After.” You upload four images from your device or from the Internet to tell the story. Then you create an alternative – a meaningless sequence of the images that you have chosen by shuffling – and submit the pair of sequences to the network.
These two random keywords selected from a large dictionary are a sort of associative hint for stimulating your creativity. You are required to use them for two reasons. First, doing so helps to ensure the non-repeatability and unpredictability of flip types, which makes flips truly AI-resistant. Second, it enables the Idena protocol to detect and punish protocol abuse such as submitting a number of random pictures instead of a flip or the same flip repeatedly.
Network participants must create flips relevant to the suggested keywords. If you are not sure of the meanings of the word, or if you cannot think of a story with the suggested words, click the Change my words button, and a new pair of words will appear. You are given 9 pairs of words to create three flips each epoch.
The relevance of the flip to the keywords is tested during the long qualification session. Participants who create flips that are irrelevant to the keywords are penalized by the protocol. Identities will be killed for repeatedly ignoring keywords when creating flips.
Flips are created only by identities that have been validated (newbies and validated identities).
The network comes to the consensus about the right answer after the validation session. If consensus is not reached, then the flip is disqualified. Answers for disqualified flips are not counted, and the authors of these flips are not rewarded.
You cannot keep flip drafts for the next epoch, because the keywords used for flip creation are generated for the current epoch. All the drafts will be burnt after the validation session, and you will have to create new flips.
Users creating meaningless flips or spam or flips with inappropriate content or flips irrelevant to the keywords are to be punished.
Flips are distributed randomly, but with two important exceptions: First, identities are not allowed to solve flips created by themselves; and second, identities are not allowed to solve flips created by related identities. Related identities are identified by the similarity of their genome codes; see below for more information.
Every child identity has a genome code inherited from the parent identity that provided the invitation to the Idena network. This genome code enables us to identify relationship between identities. If a pair of identities have matching genome codes, they are considered relatives. Such linked identities are not permitted to solve flips created by each other.
A malicious person might try to grow a subnetwork of controlled identities by forcing real people to validate themselves. To be able to take part in the validation session, the newly involved people need to get an invitation. The new identities will be related to the malicious identity that has invited them by their genome codes. The Idena flip distribution algorithm will not allow malicious identities to receive the flips created by related identities for validation.
Unless the coin is listed it's hard to name the exact price of the DNA coin, but there is a relevant benchmark for getting an idea about the fair price.
Assume the total valuation of the network is a function of the network size (number of validated users). The conservative benchmark for the network valuation is about $1000 per one user. 100k users gives $100M total valuation. The fair price of a coin will depend on the number of coins issued at the certain point of time.
Total minting is capped at 86,400 coins per day. Half of the cap (50%) is mined while producing the blocks. The rest of the coins are minted during validation sessions.
Block reward: 6 DNA
Maximum number of blocks per day: 7,200
Mining cap per day: 43,200 DNA (50%)
Accumulating fund per day: 43,200 DNA (50%)
Total cap: 86,400 DNA
There is a fixed cap for minting Idena coins equal to 86,400 DNA per day:
This is a general safety assumption applicable to any permissionless blockchain, and it is not possible to overcome it: More than 2/3 of honest participants are needed to guarantee safety.
Let's look at Bitcoin proof-of-work. Consider selfish mining when the biggest miners are getting even bigger. As a result, small miners do not invest in Bitcoin mining, since it contributes to their losses. As a matter of fact, we have highly concentrated mining of Bitcoin that cannot ever be reverted. There are thirteen controlling pools in Bitcoin. There are three pools controlling more than 50 percent of the Bitcoin network.
The captcha test starts synchronously at the same time worldwide. Answers must be submitted within an aggressive timeframe. An attack requires the extensive coordination of a high number of unique workers. For instance, 333,333 online workers would be required during validation time to attack a network of 1 million users.
In addition, since the validation timeframe is relatively small (1–2 minutes), the workers might be interested in validating their own identities instead of selling their time during the validation timeframe.
You can download the latest 64-bit develop builds of Idena node for the supported platforms below. Stable release is coming soon. Source code is available on GitHub.
All builds of Idena Node are available on the Github.
All builds of Idena Client are available on the Github.