We started Sismo because we are convinced that integrating the latest cryptographic primitives to our digital identity systems will empower humans while protecting some of our most fundamental needs: our sovereignty and our right to privacy.
Our digital identities are currently being held hostage by centralized corporations and governments posing a threat to our individual sovereignty. Their centralized infrastructures, designed in the early 2000s, have become obsolete – and dangerous.
Our team especially believes that self-sovereign accounts are a unique opportunity to take back control of our digital identities and start a new era for societies.
We are losing our ability to keep both our public and private institutions in check. On one hand, we need them for most of our basic needs such as communicating and transacting with peers. On the other hand they have access to our most intimate thoughts and feelings via our search history, bank statement, or social networks consumption habits.
We are not an anti-governments libertarian utopia. All we want is to protect what makes us humans at our core: our personal sovereignty, our freedom to think, and the ability to impact the world around us.
We should have the right to choose what we reveal about ourselves. We need private spaces where we can safely express our personal thoughts and feelings. We must be free to share, argue and refine ideas.
Without privacy and decentralization, we are at risk of censoring all marginal thinkers and artists before they can even express themselves. Society then stagnates and no longer takes input from their constituents. Let’s not forget that privacy is normal and that without it many great innovators such as Alan Turing or Dmitri Shostakovich would have not been able to share their gifts to the world.
Cryptography now offers various primitives that can protect our sovereignty by being integrated into our societal understructures.
Encryption allows you to store your personal data privately, and send messages that are only readable by their intended recipient. Digital Signatures enable authentication, blockchain transactions and passwordless logins. Zero Knowledge proofs (ZKP) let you selectively reveal parts of your data in a privacy-preserving way. Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) or Multi-Party Computation (MPC) makes it possible to perform machine learning algorithms on encrypted user data.
All of these cryptographic primitives are tools to protect our digital identity and personal sovereignty!
One of the most empowering social tool offered by cryptography are self-sovereign accounts. They are controlled by a private key, and anyone can create such an account without needing permission. Bitcoin wallets, Ethereum wallets and Decentralized Identifiers (DID) are all examples of sovereign accounts.
They are very different from web2 accounts (e.g a twitter account) which are the core assets of an underlying company. We can only perform actions that benefit the company (e.g we can engage with others to generate personal data the company will sell but we can not extract our social graph).
Sovereign accounts are ruled by private keys which enable us to perform many sovereign actions!
We can interact with blockchain protocols such as Uniswap (Decentralized Finance) or Lens (Decentralized Social Network), sign in with our account to off-chain applications like Snapshot (voting application) or XMTP (p2p messaging), or generating Zero-Knowledge Proofs to selectively reveal part of your identity using Sismo.
The personal data ported from web2 to your sovereign accounts, or generated when interacting with these decentralized applications form a digital identity - but unlike in web2, this is a sovereign identity, fully owned by the user.
Join the fight!
Many more crypto primitives exist and will be discovered. We are inspired every day by like-minded researchers, builders and entrepreneurs that are building the next iteration of our social infrastructure, decentralized, based on sovereign identities and built using cryptography!