zkMe, the zero-knowledge Identity Oracle provider, has successfully secured $2 million in pre-seed funding.Despite closing the funding round at the end of last year, the company has only released the official announcement now after coming out of stealth last month.
In the era of digital transformation, managing identity and personal information has become a critical concern for individuals and organizations alike. zkMe enables users to selectively disclose their credentials to authorized parties, without compromising their privacy; granting them full control over their digital identities. Users can create and manage their digital identities without the fear of their personal information being exposed. The protocol has potential use cases in various industries, including anti-sybil protection for fair airdrops, anonymous web data attestation for GameFi integrations, and private KYC compliance for DeFi.
zkMe has implemented an innovative and secure way for dApps to efficiently verify user eligibility while keeping their privacy safe. With the SSI mobile app developed by zkMe, users can encrypt and anonymize their data and prove claims on their own device using ZKPs. This ensures that no one processes their personal identifiable information besides themselves. The ZKPs are verified by a network of MPC nodes before being minted onto the user wallet as an SBT. zkMe's proof-of-personhood approach ensures the DID holder's uniqueness. DApps can query anonymous yes/no statements from the zkMe network using the SBT, such as whether the user is over 18 years old, to ensure user eligibility without accessing, processing, or storing any sensitive data.
The team behind zkMe consists of highly experienced professionals in various fields including cryptography, smart contract, UX, and front-end development. With a total of 23 members, the team combines academic and corporate experience; with 3 PhDs with cryptography research and 15 developers with big-tech backgrounds. The startup focuses on improving privacy and security in digital interactions using zero-knowledge proofs, machine learning, and decentralized identities. With this recent funding, zkMe aims to complete testing and onboard customers on mainnet within a month. They have announced first go-live partnerships with Infrastructure, GameFi, and DeFi projects through their social media channels.
With the US Department of the Treasury and the SEC enforcing stricter KYC/AML requirements in DeFi, solutions like zkMe's zero-knowledge KYC are crucial. zkKYC enables institutions to participate in DeFi while meeting compliance standards. It plays a crucial role in ensuring verified users access financial services in a permissioned DeFi ecosystem. zkKYC facilitates secure identity verification without third-party verification, giving users more control over their data and privacy. It also provides greater transparency and trust in DeFi, reducing the risk of fraudulent activities or data breaches. Anti-Sybil and zkKYC are just the first credential use cases, further use cases for the verification of users’ web2 activities and social status are expected to drop soon.
“This latest round of funding is a promising first step for us to establish a much needed trust-layer for digital interactions.” says Alex Scheer, CEO and Co-Founder of zkMe. “We believe that selective, secure and efficient credential verifications are of fundamental importance for web3 as a whole to grow and attract new users and innovative use cases. We are thrilled to have the support of Circle and Spartan as we work to build the zk-credential network of web3 and help users verify themselves privately.”