These questions originally appeared in an “Ask Me Anything” session in Telegram, in which NuID CEO & Founder Locke Brown answered users' questions about NuID’s tech, the company’s upcoming development initiatives, and the Nu Identity Ecosystem. Some answers have been modified for formatting.
Could you please introduce yourself and NuID to the community?
Hi everyone, I’m Locke Brown – CEO and founder of NuID.
I started mining Bitcoin in 2013 – I had one of the first ASIC miners from Butterfly Labs (too bad I didn’t just buy BTC instead of mining gear). I published a paper in 2014 on BTC pricing models. I worked for Bill Gates’ family office for a few years before jumping ship to start NuID in early 2017.
NuID was founded in 2017, launched a trustless authentication solution in 2019, and is VC backed. Our core belief is that the future of the internet belongs to the user. Right now with the current digital identity model, individuals are limited in their ability to own and control their identities. We’ve set the foundation for a portable, user-owned identity platform with our authentication solution, and now we’re bringing it to the world through the Nu Identity Ecosystem and our token Kii. The Kii Foundation is a separate entity that was created to aid with the development and support of Kii and the KiiChain, which is a ledger we’re building to uphold identity-related data.
What are the major milestones achieved so far? And could you please tell us a bit about your upcoming plans?
Major milestones over the last 5.5 years include: bringing our core zero knowledge authentication solution to life - which is free to deploy into any app or site on our developer portal at https://portal.nuid.io/.
On top of that, we've been granted patents on 57 claims in the US on the topic (https://patents.justia.com/patent/10880089).
Now we’re launching the token Kii which kicks off the beginning of building out the Nu Identity Ecosystem.
What comes next for your team following the token sale?
Due to a high level of interest and demand, we’ll be holding another offering of Kii in the coming weeks before Kii goes live on exchanges in Q4 of this year.
After that, we'll turn more focus back to building out core Kii services like the generalized data attestation model, developing the KiiChain ledger, and scaling rollout of the authentication solution. We have a lot of exciting developments in the works for the near-term future to amplify adoption and really bring the Nu Identity Ecosystem to life. Plus so many cool identity-enabled projects and use cases that we will help others bring to life using NuID, like the Dev Fund, and making the developer experience more robust and easier to use.
We'll also be scaling our efforts in bringing NuID’s authentication solution to web2 services and organizations to continue increasing the value NuID has for end users. Immediately though, we will be further enhancing the user experience for managing their credentials, issuing attestations and so forth.
What can the token be used for?
So Kii is foundational in the Nu Identity Ecosystem and will be behind all transactions interacting with identities on the network. Kii will be used to register credentials, issue attestations (initially verified identity attestations for KYC, etc). Ultimately, users within the ecosystem will be empowered to decide what identifying data they want to provision, and to whom, and when they share that data, they’ll be using Kii to pay for it.
Also you may see in our documentation that there is a 10% allocation of Kii to the Verification Reward Incentive, which means that the first 10 million people to register credentials and receive an identity attestation issued to an authentication credential will be minted 10 free Kii.
While Kii is an ERC20 token initially, it will migrate to become the native token to the KiiChain, which we will be launching down the line. The KiiChain is an optimized ledger (build super light so full nodes can be run by anyone) for upholding authentication public parameters (public keys). This will incorporate what we call here Proof of Identity consensus. More on that to come!
It's worth noting that our authentication solution is already live and used by hundreds of developers/apps.
What’s your company’s mission with this project?
Our mission is to pave the necessary foundation for individuals to own and manage their personal digital data, and to empower them to choose who to share it with.
Identity on the web is important. Identity underpins everything - all online interactions depend on the notion of identity. The current model of digital identity is upheld by systems of service-owned and service-controlled identity data. As things stand, users don’t have much say over who owns their identifying information, or how it’s used.
The future lies with user-owned, user-controlled, portable systems for managing identity. NuID has set the foundation for this “nu’' model starting with our trustless authentication solution and continuing with the launch of Kii, the Nu Identity Ecosystem, and development of the KiiChain!
What was the most difficult part in developing the project, in your opinion?
It's been a journey for sure, and still continuing on. I think the most difficult part has been having people really understand the implications. As such a foundational technology that is relevant to so many things, it is easy to lose people if you aren't careful to keep a focused conversation.
Also it can be tricky sometimes to want to make decisions or act for the benefit of the short term at the expense of the long run. And we consciously try to ensure we are executing for the long run.
The world often wants things fast and “NOW,” but we took the time needed to meticulously develop and optimize our core tech because to have a persistent solid foundation you can't cut corners. It needs to be perfect. One disaster in this space and it's over.
Can you please explain the Nu Identity Ecosystem?
The ecosystem is going to be made up of participating individuals and services. Individuals can verify their true identity and associate it with their zero-knowledge authentication credentials (they can also spin up as many new credentials as they like which are not correlated to others - whereas emails typically correlate accounts today), stored on a public blockchain; services can deploy the NuID trustless authentication protocol to eliminate liability of storing user authentication data but also to use the Nu Identity Model of interoperable identities.
The interplay between individuals and services will grow a robust Nu Identity Ecosystem which will make interacting online more secure and less painful. It also sets the stage for so many great services that would be “identity enabled” like privacy-preserving asset transfer, ehealth, voting, etc.
In the future, any ecosystem participant will be able to attest to a piece of information about another party, which will provide the digital building blocks required to enable digital “reputation” in a similar way to how reputation works in the physical world.
If you noticed the allocation of Kii to what we call the "Dev Fund,” that is basically an incubator/accelerator to invest in 3rd parties building out some of these services in the ecosystem, as there are countless "identity enabled services" as I mentioned above which anyone will be able to develop.
Ultimately I view the ecosystem as really just setting a stage for an internet where explicated identity sits at the heart of transactions.