AMA | KILT Protocol: Verifiable Credentials for Web3.0

On Saturday (3.28) at 20:00, as the “KILT Protocol” project leader and the CEO of “BOTLabs GmbH”, “Ingo Rübe” will be our guest to be in the LIVE group and talk to us “KILT: Verifiable Credentials for Web3.0”.

KILT is a blockchain protocol for self-sovereign data and interoperability, enabling a decentralized trust market.

It is the first custody solution based on Parity Substrate, which can store and manage not only Substrate-based cryptocurrencies such as KILT Coin, but also claims-based verifiable credentials.

Unconsciously, the AMA activity of the Polkadot Ecosystem Project launched by LianDu and PolkaBase has entered the 7th session. This time we invited the German project team: KILT Protocol.

Ingo Rübe, the project leader of KILT Protocol and the CEO of BOTLabs GmbH ‘’, is now in our LIVE group. He will talk to us “KILT: Verifiable Credentials for Web3.0”.

  • Host:

Let’s welcome Ingo Rübe

  • Ingo Rübe:

Hi there! Pleasure to meet you all!!

And thanks for having me, Yuki!

  • Host:

Hello Ingo, I’m the host of this AMA, Yuki. Nice to meet you.

Congratulations to KILT for the latest grant for web3.0.

Today our AMA is divided into two parts.

We will start the main question and answer session, first. After that, we will have free questions and answers with the audience.

Are you ready?@Ingo Rübe.

  • Ingo Rübe


  • Host:

We officially enter the main Q & A session.

  • Host:

1. First, we know that KILT Protocol is founded in Germany. Can you introduce me your team? What brought you guys to build up this project?

  • Ingo Rübe:

Sure. I am the founder and CEO of KILT. I am a computer scientist and have a solid background as C-Level Executive of big industry. KILT was founded in January 2018.

We set up a brilliant team of computer scientists, mathematicians, lawyers and philosophers to first theoretically and then practically set up a useful blockchain protocol.

Our focus from the first day on, was to build something, which enhances the traction of blockchain technology in the real world. We believe that this can only happen, by building something useful for industry and governments, who then will be the multipliers.

This is why we chose to work in the field of verifiable credentials. This is something, which is needed by the financial industry as well as IoT and governments.

The timing was also perfect, as the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF) and the W3C where pushing forward the standardization process of verifiable credentials at this time, and of course this needs a useful implementation. Implementing the verifiable credentials mechanisms on a blockchain is a no-brainer.

  • Host:

2. Many are confused about what KILT Protocol is, can you simply describe the project? What is it and what is its function?

  • Ingo Rübe:

That’s true. Many put us in the drawer labeled Self Sovereign Identity. Which we don’t like much, because KILT is much more general. Self Sovereign Identity is only one possible use case for KILT and of all the projects we currently have, not a single one is on SSI.

KILT is basically an implementation of W3C Verifiable Credentials with some extra functionality, which makes it usable for industry. The concept is simple. There are three roles:

The Claimer states a claim about herself. This can be a person claiming to be able to drive a car, but also a chocolate bar, claiming to contain no traces of peanuts. It can also be an employee, claiming to have access to a building.

This Claimer turns to a Trusted Entity, which can be a person working for the driver’s license department, or a private test institute specialized in food analysis or the company employing the employee. The Trusted Entity checks the claim and decides if it wants to issue a certificate. The certificate is issued to the claimer, which then controls the certificate.

The Claimer can then present her certificate to any given Verifier, which could be a policeman in case of the driver’s license, a cooking app in case of the chocolate bar, or a door in the case of the employee.

The Claimer identifies through DID (decentralized indentifier) and a cryptographic challenge and if the verifier trusts the Trusted Entity who attested, it can perform the requested action (letting the driver drive, listing the chocolate bar in a recipe for allergic people, or opening in case of the door).

Now where’s the blockchain? The blockchain does three things here. First the Trusted Entity saves a hash of any credential it issues on chain and is able to later revoke it. This solves the revocability problem for digital credentials: a verifier can either trust the credential alone or can check on the chain if it was revoked in the meantime.

The second utility of the KILT Blockchain is, that delegation trees are stored here. This allows for complex trust structures, where one entity delegates the right to issue certain certificates to another entity.

The third important utility of the blockchain is storing Decentralised Identifiers (DIDs).

  • Host:

3.Why do you choose Polkadot for your project?

  • Ingo Rübe:

Actually we came from Substrate. For many reasons, we decided, we need our own blockchain and cannot work with Ethereum Smart Contracts. We decided to use Substrate because it hast the concept of exchangeable runtimes.

This is perfect for a startup, as we can go live with a limited set of functionalities and upgrade later without forking the chain. We were one of the first teams to build on substrate as we started implementation in autumn 2018. Using Substrate makes it easy for us to connect to Polkadot.

We evaluated risks and chances and it turned out to be great idea to join the Polkadot network. Also because the community is great.

  • Host:

4.What kind of role does KILT play in Polkadot ecosystem? Have you had any partners in the Polkadot ecosystem? How will KILT work together with Polkadot and other projects in the future?

  • Ingo Rübe:

We aim to become the standard solution for decentralized identities (DID) and verifiable Credentials for all projects in the Polkadot ecosystem. We already discuss co-operations with some of the projects.

  • Host:

5. How do you build up KILT on Substrate? Did you encounter with any technical difficulties? And what’s the mechanism behind it?

  • Ingo Rübe:

We are using the bulk of substrates default modules and add our own runtime modules to it.

Our runtime modules store data, which is used for credential verification and revocation status and makes sure, the delegation tree is valid when making an attestation based on one. It also anchors our DIDs.

We also have a strong focus on our typescript SDK, which helps programmers to easily interact with our protocol. This is based on polkadot-js/api, which is very easy to use.

We encountered a bunch of technical difficulties, which can mostly be attributed to using substrate in its very early stages and being new to Rust. Additionally, a lot of substrate is based around macros, which were hard to understand in the beginning and the tooling and documentation wasn’t there to know, what actually happens under the hood.

But nowadays we don’t feel like there are a lot of difficulties working with Substrate.

  • Host:

6. KILT is to develop trust market using verifiable certificates and data sovereignty. Can you explain it to us?

  • Ingo Rübe:

First of all: KILT is not a reputation system. We enable digital credentials and thus disrupt physical credentials. Having digital credentials in a digital world opens up new business models for persons or entities who have trust in the real world, but find it difficult to monetize this trust.

These Trusted Entities generate trust with verifiers through off-line processes. Trusted entities might be governments, trustworthy companies or trustworthy persons. We assume that issuing a valuable credential, this requires

a) trust by a lot of verifiers in the Trusted Entity,

b) constant good and reliable work of the Trusted Entity

and c) some checking process, finding out if the claimer is entitled to receive the credential. This work will generally be paid for by the claimer. This is the core of the trust market. Entities, which have trust shall be empowered to monetize their trust through KILT.

They would need to keep up the trust by the verifiers and have to adjust their pricing according to what the claimer is ready to pay for the certificate and they would be punished by the market if they act malicious.

  • Host:

7. In KILT protocol, how does an identity be attested? How does it work to regain trust in the whole system?

  • Ingo Rübe:

In KILT we support DIDs. Which means that KILT DIDs are anchored with a DID String on the KILT Blockchain. KILT also provides services for storing and publishing a DID Document. The KILT DID resolution method is also available in the universal resolver (

This ensures compatibility of KILT Identities to many other modern platform, including those of IBM and Microsoft.

  • Host:

8. Can you tell us about KILT’s token economy and staking mechanism?

  • Ingo Rübe:

KILT wants to obtain super secure blockspace through a lease of a Polkadot parachain. That means, our own token economy could concentrate on novel incentivation mechanisms.

We aim to implement a “Proof of Availablity”. That would mean: Any KILT Validator would run not only the blockchain node but also a set of off-chain services. These are value added services, which work off-chain as they may store or convey personal data.

An example is the KILT Messaging Service. If for example a Trusted Entity issues a credential while the Claimer is not online, the message services would buffer this credential until the Claimer collects it. The blockchain would check if the validators run the services correctly.

If a validators service availability was proofed, the validators would receive a block reward. His share of the current block reward would be proportional to the stake he has in the system.

  • Host:

9. What is KILT’s subscription model?

  • Ingo Rübe:

People, institutions or things using the KILT Blockchain might often decide to also use the value added services provided on top of KILT. While the whole blockchain functionality would of course be made available without using the services, there are some practical aspects, which might convince users to use these services.

A good example is the Credential Store: If you have your Credential for your drivers license on your desktop computer, you might want to transfer it into your mobile wallet pretty soon.

Of course, you could use dropbox for that, but the KILT Value added service “Credential Store” would also enable you to for example make your credentials available to a certain set of verifiers, while you are offline.

Anyone could subscribe to the services for a monthly fee. The fees would be 100% distributed to the KILT Validators who run the services.

Of course, running the services in the beginning, when the network would not be used a lot, would not be paying a lot of money to the validators. This is what we envision to compensate by very high block rewards in the beginning, which would decrease over time, while the subscriptions hopefully rise.

So, we envision the block reward to be used to bootstrap the service economy.

  • Host:

10. How can KILT Protocol be applied in various industries? Can you tell us some application scenarios for now?

  • Ingo Rübe:

We already talked about banking, SSI, Drivers licenses, doors and certificates for food products. We also see applications coming up in social media and in publishing. We assume the most important market will be IoT and internet services.

  • Host:

11. Last year, KILT Protocol and Finoa announced the collaboration for a custody solution for Parity Substrate. Can you tell us more about it and why KILT is so important in this solution?

  • Ingo Rübe:

We generated the idea together with Finoa, as we didn’t see a custody solution for substrate-based tokens on the market by then. We implemented one for KILT together, which can now be used for any substrate-based token including KSMs and DOTs.

  • Host:

12. What is current status of KILT’s development? When will the mainnet be officially launched? What is your future roadmap?

  • Ingo Rübe:

We deployed our testnet, called “Mashnet”, including an SDK, a browser-based demo client and a not-yet-released mobile wallet for claimers.

With the Mashnet, you can create credential schemas, we call ctypes, make claims and attestations, which can be revocable and have legitimations attached and you can create a delegation tree (similar to a PKI — Public Key Infrastructure , but blockchain-based), for a top-down trust structure.

Currently, we are adding anonymous credentials and support for the w3c spec of verifiable credentials. We are also working on a process for attesters to give a legally binding quote to the claimer so that they can agree on the terms of the attestation (including cost and VAT).

Nested Credentials are another project we are working on, which would allow including data from one credential in another, which would also open up the possibility of defining a credential, which can include different schemas for a given property.

  • Host:

13. What is the biggest challenge so far in your project? And how do you think KILT can facilitate other blockchain projects and technology?

  • Ingo Rübe:

The biggest challenge is the Proof of Availability mechanism as it shall connect on chain proofs to the off chain world.

Our main question and answer is over

thank you Ingo for sharing

great questions. Thank you!

Now we enter the free question and answer time:

Q: I noticed recently the PortableGabi project was added in your Github repo. Can you say something about it? What is its role in the KILT protocol?

A: Portable Gabi is the implementation of Anonymous credentials, which was also the Web3 Grant Project

Q: Affected by the epidemic, Polkadot postponed its launch. Will KILT have any impact?

A: Postponing Launch: no, not really. we are in close contact with Polkadot people and are doing fine.

Q: Will KILT provide services for autonomous driving in the future?@Ingo Rübe

A: KILT itself will not go into an. driving. But you can use it to applications for it. Please do!

Q: Are technical projects like yours not paying much attention to community promotion and community building?

A: Community promotion: oh yes we do.

Q: How to upgrade the function without forking the blockchain?

A: Not forking: this is a polkadot feature (credits!). you hold the runtime on chain. so you can upgrade it with newer versions in newer blocks.

Q: What are the core advantages of POA over POS and POW?

A: POA: this also comes with Polkadot. As a Parachain, the Relay chain takes care of the security. The Parachain can use the Incentivation model for other things. Thats a great advantage!

Q: How do you understand the web3 vision and what role does the KILT project play in Web3?

A: The vision is to build a better Web, without the centralised power of american companies. We are an important building block for that. We offer identity and credentials, which is today mostly done through monopolists.

Q: How can the KILT project guarantee the privacy of personal data? What is special about it?

A: Privacy: good point! the Blockchain only holds hashes of credentials. The credentials themselves are stored by the claimers. Hashes are not personalized data.

Q: Does KILT have plans to go to the exchange?

A: Exchange: sure

Q: What core competitiveness does KILT have?

A: competitiveness: we make Verifiable Credentials work in the real world: delegation treees, anonymous credentials, ctypes, revokability, blockchain based credential hashes.

Q: What is the circulation of KILT?

A: Mining: Its a PoS approach. As a Validator you stake and when behaving in the interest of the network you are rewarded with block rewards, proportional to your stake.

Q: Has the KILT project been involved so far? Or is there a traditional target group intention to participate?

A: For equity and private placement please DM

Q: What is the plan of the KILT project in terms of blockchain governance?

A: Governance: we are in the lucky situation to go live later this year. So we are closely monitoring other PoS networks and learn from them… Datails will come out in summer, I guess.

Q: The Internet of Things + blockchain may be the future trend. How will KILT gain a place in this field in the future?

A: IoT: We work closely with industry partners. (Please send more). And enable them to get KILT Ready

Q: What is the breakthrough point of KILT in verifiable credentials?

A: Breakthrough: I believe its the linking of the blockchain layer to the service layer. or to put it in other words: we are getting out of the bubble and offer something, which can be used right away also by people outside of the blockchain scene. This will generate a lot of tracktion.

Q: When will KILT come to China, what types of institutions will it work with, and how will ordinary users participate?

A: China: first of all we like to work with integrators. We already have one in China (glacier). Those know the local market much better. It seems like some local governments are very much interested in China. But we will also love to work with polkadot related projects in China :-)

Q: If the applicability of the validator node fails, will it be punished? what is the reason?

A: punished: yes, slashed. The slashed coins will not be burned but used for community development

Q: Does the KILT project have sufficient funds to ensure that the project can proceed smoothly?

A: Funds: :-) startup never have sufficient funds. But we are doing fine since two and half year.

Q: What makes KILT special compared to other decentralized authentication projects?

A: special: its not just authentication. It implies the whole credential workflow.

Q: What if the claimant will never be online again? If the message persists, then the malicious message accumulation has been used to attack or block the main network, what should I do?

A: attacker: the malicious message is in the off-chain world. It does not compromise blocks.

Q: How does KILT use layered technology to ensure that risks are kept to a minimum?

A: layers: we delegate the security layer to the relay chain of polkadot. This makes sure the chain is in a clean state.

Q: Nested Credentials allows the data in one credential to be included in another credential, so does this require two or more claimants and validators? what is the reason?

A: nested credentials: your ID-Card could be part of your drivers license. This would avoid many errors and make the world more practical. nested credentials: instead of repeating you name and date of birth, there could be a reference to your ID card

Q: Will KILT cross-chain in the future?

A: cross-chain: definitly. We have usecases already, where we need to trigger e.g. Eth Smart contracts by the existence of credentials. KILT will be a parachain and use the polkador relay chain to communicate with other projects in the polkadot world or with bridged chains.


Today’s AMA is here, thank you Ingo for sharing.

We look forward to seeing Ingo in China.

  • Ingo Rübe:

Thank you so much for having me!!!

Have a great Saturday night, all!!!


Thank you Ingo for the great AMA!!

  • Ingo Rübe:

Thanks for all the good questions!

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