Snapshot: Rollup ID (opens new window) is focused on digital identity solutions and redefining how we think about user authentication and privacy. At its core, their platform streamlines the user experience across applications from finance to gaming, focusing on enhanced data security and user autonomy.
The impact: By leveraging open-source protocols like OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect (OIDC), Rollup ID empowers users to issue their own authorization tokens, ensuring transparency and control over data access. The platform aligns with OIDC standards, prioritizing user-centric, decentralized identity management. Furthermore, it does not charge fees for monthly active users, emphasizing accessibility and affordability.
On Joining PLN: Soon after founder Adrian Maurer (opens new window) transitioned from fintech consulting to work on identity resolution, Rollup ID open-sourced their product and explored its potential with IPFS. About two years ago, they crossed paths with a member of the Protocol Labs engineering team and they began discussing how to integrate their technology with IPFS. This collaboration eventually led to the team joining the Protocol Labs network.
What's on the radar: Rollup ID has future plans to introduce advanced features for user engagement and security. The team aims to expand into consumer-focused applications, explore blockchain integrations to enhance security and transparency, and develop CRM features for content delivery.
# How it Started: Empowering Users
In today's digital age, managing our online identities can be a complex and sometimes daunting task. We often rely on traditional entities like corporations or governments to issue and control our digital identities, leaving us with limited control over our personal information. The idea behind Rollup ID originated from a novel concept. What if individuals themselves became the issuers of their digital identities? This approach aims to decentralize legacy identity systems, providing users with greater control, privacy, and security. The core objective of Rollup ID is to address these challenges of identity resolution while delivering a user-centric experience.
Adrian Maurer's background in fintech consulting laid the groundwork for what would become Rollup ID. He saw the need to bridge the gap between traditional identity verification methods and the emerging requirements of a digital-first world. While working on zero-knowledge crypto identity and exploring authorization controls around content addresses using IPFS, Maurer and the team developed a solution that was eventually pivotal in a company acquisition. This success led them to conceptualize and develop Rollup ID, aiming to productize the technology for a broader market. “I thought that what we were doing was actually quite useful. It’s right at the edge. Right at the beginning of a user experience,” Maurer said.
Shortly thereafter, Rollup ID engaged with one of Protocol Labs' core engineers who showed interest in their open-source work related to decentralized identity. This connection led to further collaboration and the team joining the network. “Everyone has a different email address or different accounts and if we're going to expose those things externally, we need to have identity resolution and IPFS seemed like an interesting lower layer to apply to that kind of problem,” Maurer said.
# Milestones and Challenges: Navigating Uncharted Waters
Rollup ID's journey hasn't been without its challenges. Bringing a concept like decentralized identity to market required not only technical innovation but also educating potential clients about its benefits. “The challenges of some aspects have been quite novel. Educating clients and segments of the market on what is decentralized identity or what is this 10-plus year old standard. They might not have ever heard of it,” Maurer said. “Specific demographics probably need a little bit more education about how it works, what it’s about, and why you would want to build with it.”
The benefits of building with Rollup ID start with streamlined onboarding. When users land on an application, all of the information and authorizations they need, from their profile to KYC information and email addresses will already be there. “There may be other connected accounts. And we're working on other ideas, like object storage points, IPFS, or namespace systems,” Maurer said. “So anything you might want to integrate around the user can have an API that gives you all of those things in addition to a unified identifier. As users move across your properties or other properties from other apps, that same identifier is used.” This opens up exciting opportunities for service providers to collaborate and deliver superior user experiences.
The company also had to navigate the complexities of commercialization and compliance. “It's really hard to commercialize products here in Canada because we're such a small economy on the global scale,” Maurer reflected. However, as the platform gains momentum, its alignment with data privacy regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will help guarantee the protection of user data and privacy, making it a trusted choice. Its progressive approach to identity management is particularly appealing to financial institutions as it allows them to categorize users based on KYC, PII, and risk, progressively granting authorizations as users navigate through applications. This eliminates the need for integrating numerous KYC tools and back-office systems, providing a smoother and more efficient user experience.
# The Future: Pioneering in Digital Identity and Beyond
The future for Rollup ID is brimming with advancements. Key developments include the creation of organizational and team management roles and enhancing the platform's appeal to large enterprises. Upcoming features also encompass KYC and storage scopes, allowing apps to store data with users and authorize other applications to access the same namespace. The team plans to integrate CRM features, Audience Builders, and partner integrations for content delivery across various platforms going forward. Additionally, advancements in messaging protocols and a potential focus on consumer-side developments, including a native app for identity management, are on the horizon. “There's a lot of opportunity for a consumer app. So once there's a demand for that, then we can start delivering,” Maurer said.
Earlier this year, their beta release focused on the performance and security of core infrastructure. The team also plans on releasing additional features based on user feedback. Developers and businesses interested in trying the platform can still get up to $500 in credits to get started. As the beta progresses, the company will continue to explore opportunities beyond digital identity, envisioning a future where its innovative technologies can be applied to various sectors, including finance, healthcare, gaming and beyond.
“Right now we're seeing a lot of traction with decentralized companies,” Maurer said. “What we're doing from a philosophical approach, is everything's consent based. So we weren't doing a lot of data collection before. But now that we have the tools to do so in a way that works well with the way we want to do business we're starting to figure out more.”
# Further Reading
For more on zk proofs, download the Protocol Labs Research Report: The Future of ZK Proofs (opens new window).