SelfKey – KYC-Compliant Identification

SelfKey – KYC-Compliant Identification


Decades after its conception, the internet has become an integral component of society. Much of the global population depends on the world wide web to communicate, trade goods, and perform a multitude of tasks with greater efficiency than ever available before; yet we still lack a trustworthy verification process to identify user identity, even two decades later. In this Age of Information, a secured digital identity is unquestionably essential.

The current status quo for most modern internet user is to employ the use of social media accounts or government-issued identification such as driver licenses for ID verification. But these procedures have their drawbacks. With the emergence of blockchain technology, we can begin to move away from outdated infrastructures.


SelfKey aims to provide what is currently missing, a secured platform for identification and verification. By using the provided tools, organizations and individuals can claim, retain, and manage ownership of their digital identity. The objective is to enable digitally signed and verified identity claims and proof-of-individuality with a user-centric ID system.

Designed with several key components such as a free, open-source identity wallet and KYC-compliant identity services, the platform will also include a marketplace and a native KEY token to support the contained ecosystem. The SelfKey Network is not-for-profit and does not sell or provide as advertising the identity data in the system. All network value is derived from the use of the native KEY token.

A visualization of the platform application, as shown in the whitepaper.

Intrinsically, blockchain is unsuitable for securing private information. The distributed design would replicate sensitive data across all nodes and potentially breach data protection laws. To circumvent this issue, a process called Self-Sovereign Identity (SSID) is utilized to secure information with corresponding keys and digital identity wallet. The SSID will act as a digital equivalent of identity documents such as passports, birth certificates, or utility bills from your home.

Designed to be globally compliant across multiple regulations, particularly data privacy laws, SelfKey does not force a user to store their documents in any one system and will always require consent of an identity owner to trigger identity transactions.

Individual Users

Before the platform can be used, the Wallet application must first be downloaded onto a personal device. The identity data is stored locally and can be safely stored in a backup solution.

Upon generation, the wallet is empty. The user is required to store a public/private key pair inside the container wallet. This key pair, known as a SelfKey, acts as the user’s unique digital signature. The verification comes from the private key, which is known only to the identity owner, and serves to validate any authentication requests.

Additionally, identity claims also required. Individual attributes such as nationality, DOB, and occupation are registered and stored.

With SelfKey and identity proofs, users can receive attestations from relevant verifiers such as government institutions and notaries. These attestations will authenticate identification requests with the minimum required information on a need-to-know basis.

Once the attested identity claims are secured in their digital wallet, users are allowed unhindered access to the platform.

SelfKey’s verification process shown above.


A company or institution can also employ the use of the SelfKey infrastructure. Claims and attested proofs are applicable to organizations, and startup documents can also be managed from the identity wallet. The platform will assist with basic corporate governance and optimize KYC procedures for maximum efficiency.

When parties onboard a new company, KYC is required on both the company and shareholders. For businesses with multiple subsidiaries or affiliates in multiple countries, the advantages offered by e-KYC are significant. Linked identities can provide multilevel verification within multiple ownership levels, complex structures, and changing capitalization tables without being as time-intensive as traditional means.

Differences compared to an individual user’s needs compared to an organization’s are shown.


The native token of the SelfKey platform is known as KEY. It is an ERC-20 token, used to access products and services available on the network and marketplace. KEY is required for participation within the platform, and increased demand will correlate to the growth of the network.

While SelfKey was founded by a for-profit company, KYC-Chain Ltd, it includes a not-for-profit foundation. The open-source platform is designed for Key token holders to build upon, but members have no entitlement to receive a dividend or any distribution of profits from the SelfKey Foundation.

It is stated that there should be no expectation of profits resulting from the acquisition of KEY tokens, although KEY holders may receive financial incentives derived from individual efforts towards growing the network.


The SelfKey team is quite substantial and is categorized by objectives. There are numerous members with extensive backgrounds across multiple industry from several nations involved with the project. Listed below are some notable members of each division.


Edmund Lowell
Founder of SelfKey
Also founder of KYC-Chain, it was Edmund’s initiative to fund SelfKey. KYC-Chain has been in business since 2013, and is since on its 3rd generation platform, built in collaboration with Standard Chartered Bank. The company is experienced with optimizing KYC processes.

Design & Development:

Joonas Ruotsalainen
VP of Engineering
As the VP of Engineering for KYC-Chain, Joonas is undoubtedly already experienced with the platform and the project will only benefit from his expertise.

Legal & Compliance:

Peter Colegate
Fintech Legal Expert
As a Personal Privacy Leader, Peter will ensure proper compliance with privacy regulation. He is an experienced lawyer and specializes in privacy, data protection, fintech, intellectual property, corporate and regulatory work.


Virgil Griffith
Caltech, MIT, Ethereum Researcher
A technologist with a very impressive resume, Virgil specializes in product development, data-science, security/privacy, Tor, psychology, back-end web development and more. He is currently a Research Scientist at Ethereum Research in Singapore, and has worked in the past as CTO of Backbone Telecommunications.