In the recent European elections, anyone wishing to vote had to prove their identity. But how does it work in the digital world? And what is going wrong? A commentary by Botlabs CEO Ingo Rübe.
Botlabs, a blockchain company in which Hubert Burda Media and Ringier AG are shareholders, is publishing KILT today. KILT is a blockchain protocol that enables companies and public institutions to certify the authenticity of identities, data or products. Based on open source, KILT provides the technical foundation for the development of decentralized networks and is freely available as of today. KILT can be used in the development of applications and it ensures complete data sovereignty while excluding the possibility of data abuse and fraud. All data is stored in a decentralized manner and users retain complete control. That makes KILT impervious to attack, manipulation and data loss.
Security and Trustworthiness
KILT represents a technological alternative to the data silos of monopolistic platforms, said Philipp Welte, Management Board Member at Burda Media. "With digitalisation rapidly advancing in all areas of life, we have largely lost trust in information and data from the internet." But the new blockchain protocol provides people, products and information with an unmistakable digital identity, he said.
"KILT will guarantee fundamental security on the internet. It represents the technical foundation for the reliability of digital business models."
Philipp Welte, Management Board Member at Burda Media
“For companies, numerous compelling business models are opening up around the “trust factor” and digital sovereignty. Examples for applying the KILT protocol include access data and identification processes for banking customers (KYC, know your customer), the certification of product features, or the verification of reliable messages, which is of particular interest for media companies.”
Robin Lingg, Head of International Marketplaces at Ringier AG
An Analog Principle in the Digital World
The idea behind KILT is based on transposing a simple concept from the analog world – the issuing and presentation of officially valid documents – into the digital arena: a public authority seen as trustworthy signs an electronic document for a user and includes specific characteristics of that user. The document thus authenticated is not stored centrally by the issuer but directly at the user, as though he or she had slipped it into their wallet. Those to whom the document is later shown can rely on blockchain and on the reputation of the issuer of the document to determine its authenticity and trustworthiness.
Protection of User Privacy
Blockchain technology is characterized by the ability to copy data in real time on myriad computers around the world, making it resistant to attack, manipulation and data loss. An additional feature of the KILT blockchain is that it does not save the user's characteristics itself, relying on checksums (known as hashes) instead. Using these hashes, persons authorized by users can examine the authenticity of documents even as the privacy of users remains completely protected.
"All applications based on KILT eliminate the monopolistic gatekeepers that stand like a wall between companies and consumers and hoard huge quantities of data in silos to which only they have access. KILT applications have the potential of structuring the internet in the democratic manner that was originally conceived. Because the protocol enables users who don't know each other in the analog world to develop trust in one another on the internet."
Ingo Rübe, CEO of Botlabs
You can download the Open Source Demo Client for KILT at the following link.
Further information on the KILT protocol here.
BOTLabs GmbH was founded in January 2018 by IT expert and Burda CTO Ingo Rübe and Hubert Burda Media. In October 2018, Ringier AG also purchased an interest in the Berlin-based blockchain company. The goal of the company is to make blockchain technology accessible and efficiently usable to the broader public. Botlabs focuses on the creation of basic technologies that can be used by companies and public authorities to improve processes and develop new business models.
About Hubert Burda Media
With around 600 printed and digital consumer media brands and its own technological developments such as the open-source software Thunder and the data protection browser Cliqz, Burda is one of the largest international media and technology companies based in Germany. With strong media and digital brands in the segments of news, food, living, garden, fashion, lifestyle, tech and entertainment, Burda reaches around 50 million readers and 185 million users. Burda has around 12,000 employees in 19 countries with revenues of EUR 2.66 billion (2018).
Ringier is a diversified media company with about 7,300 employees across 19 countries. Founded in 1833, Ringier manages leading brands in print, TV, radio, online and mobile media and runs successful print, entertainment and internet businesses. In a history that spans more than 180 years, Ringier stands for a pioneering spirit, independence, freedom of expression and diversity of information. Ringier is a Swiss family-owned business with head offices in Zurich.