What is Humanode?
Humanode is the first human-powered crypto-biometric network, where 1 human = 1 node = 1 vote.
Humanode is a new-age decentralized crypto-biometric network that integrates pioneering cryptography with private biometrics and blockchain technology. The project aims to create a strong and sustainable decentralized system that is grounded on the existence of unique human beings.
The Humanode project was conceived by the co-founders of Paradigm research institute in 2017. They were one of the many who were optimistic about the Web 3 potential but, at the same time, were stumped by the fact that mining cartels and validator oligopolies seemed to dominate the crypto market. By using human biometrics as the stake, the founders of Humanode saw the possibility of creating a truly decentralized network of equals.
Humanode enables a range of new use cases while solving problems with existing ones.
With Humanode enabling the pseudonymous biometric DIDs tied to various online services, many spheres stand to benefit from such as insurance, financial services that involve credit score, trading, marketplaces, yield farming and many others including airdrops, healthcare, metaverse authentication and nonfungible token (NFT) ownership.
What problems does Humanode solve?
Humanode brings decentralization, Sybil resistance and innovative governance models to the blockchain industry using biometric technology.
In its very foundations, the Humanode project aims to bring accessibility, inclusivity and innovation in the tech and crypto spaces and economics as a whole. The project is an alternative to the majority of blockchain networks that are based on consensus algorithms such as proof-of-work (PoW) and proof-of-stake (PoS) that currently dominate the field.
It is known that PoW and PoS are decentralized technologically but not power-wise, granting voting rights and rewards in proportion to users’ economic investments in an activity or resource, stake or computational power, leading to capital-based oligopolies and mining pools.
In contrast to PoW and PoS, Humanode utilizes facial recognition biometrics with the combination of proof-of-uniqueness and proof-of-existence — efficient tools capable of creating a decentralized protocol to counter malicious attacks on online platforms. The most spread attacks on peer-to-peer networks are Sybil attacks with the utilization of multiple fake virtual identities or, in the case of cryptocurrencies, nodes.
The Humanode system is designed to check and ensure that every person in the network is unique and has a singular identity. Human nodes are created through crypto-biometric authentication which is a combination of cryptographically secure matching and liveness detection mechanisms verifying the uniqueness and existence of real human beings.
Bringing equality and Sybil resistance to the system, Humanode design guarantees every individual the same amount of voting power and rewards, creating a democratic and fair peer-to-peer structure.
How does Humanode work?
Humanode is a project that gracefully combines different technological stacks including blockchain and biometrics.
Humanode tech encompasses a bunch of layers such as a blockchain layer represented by a Substrate module: a biometric authorization module based on cryptographically secure neural networks for the private classification of three-dimensional (3D) templates of users’ faces, a private liveness detection mechanism for identifying real human beings, a Vortex decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) and a monetary algorithm named Fath, where monetary supply reacts to real value growth and emission is proportional.
Let’s look at them in more detail.
Humanode is a layer-1 blockchain whose architecture lies on the Substrate open-source framework that allows the quick development of highly customized blockchains. Substrate, the brainchild of the Parity team, provides interoperability within the Polkadot and Kusama ecosystems as well as an environment for the creation and deployment of general-purpose or specialized blockchain networks with remarkably varied parameters and sound capabilities. Being a Substrate-based chain, Humanode benefits from it and from the high throughput and scalability inherent to the Polkadot ecosystem.
Consensus agnostic protocol
One of the interesting features of Humanode is consensus agnosticism, which is the ability to change the network’s consensus mechanism if the Humanode DAO approves it. It derives from the necessity for constant research on the most suitable consensus for a leaderless system with equal validation power of nodes. Different consensus mechanisms have numerous pros and cons which constantly change. A swappable consensus mechanism allows the system to evolve and not be limited by a single unchangeable framework.
EVM-compatible smart-contract layer
On top of that, Humanode is Ethereum-compatible. Due to an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) pallet, Humanode can use existing Ethereum development tools and take advantage of smart contracts development, supported by several popular languages including Solidity and WebAssembly. On the other hand, Humanode can provide private biometric processing and Sybil-resistance to numerous Ethereum-based decentralized applications (DApps) including decentralized finance (DeFi) and play-to-earn (GameFi) projects, NFT solutions, DAOs, metaverses and others.
Private biometric search and matching
As for Humanode’s biometrics stack, it seems like the privacy and security of biometric data have been among the most critical aspects of the project.
Due to the private classification of images of users’ faces, the system guarantees the images’ privacy, performing all operations without the users’ biometrics data having to leave the device. The only device needed to pass biometric authentication is a smartphone with a camera. Once users scan their faces, they become human nodes. The whole process is private and secure. All the Humanode system cares about is if the user is a unique human being, if they are registered and if they are alive.
Decentralized liveness detection
A technique that ensures that the biometric sample is submitted from a real live person, a substantial security feature that mitigates the vulnerability of biometric systems to spoofing attacks, is called liveness detection. Biometric liveness refers to the use of computer vision technology to detect the actual presence of a living user rather than a representation such as a photograph or a mask, video or screen, a fake silicon fingerprint or other spoof artifacts.
Biometrics accuracy grew tremendously in the last decade. Currently, the possibility of a match between two different people is 1 to 125,000,000, and the possibility of spoofing an identity without a real human in front of the camera is 1 to 80,000. And, these numbers are constantly improving.
For its first version of the crypto-biometric identification solution, which utilizes secure enclaves for some portions of the process, Humanode integrates FaceTec’s face biometrics and liveness detection. Humanode’s first testnet was launched in January 2021 and the official testnet 1 with liveness detection and the updated technical stack was launched in September 2021. Since then, there have been additional testnets deployed with more than 10,000 people becoming human nodes.
Currently, there are three types of nodes in the Humanode ecosystem. First, human nodes who have passed biometric authentication and received a fraction of the network transaction fees. Then, there are delegators: nodes that opt to delegate their voting power to so-called governors. Governors are nodes that participate in Humanode’s governance and must meet certain governing requirements.
Each of these node types forms an important part of Humanode’s governance DAO named Vortex. Unlike other projects, which allow nodes to accumulate voting power based on how much capital they have or delegate, the Humanode platform ensures that all nodes are equal in terms of validation and voting power, bringing true equality between peers in a decentralized environment.
Fath monetary algorithm and rebalancing system
Humanode implements the Fath hypothesis as the basis for the circulation of HMND Humanode token (HMND). Fath is a monetary algorithm with a proportional distribution of issued tokens. It is an alternative to modern fiat credit-cycle financial networks and capital-based public blockchains.
What is crypto-biometrics and how does it work?
Crypto-biometrics is a mix of innovative advanced technologies, which includes blockchain, encryption, cybersecurity, zero-knowledge proofs, biometrics and liveness detection.
To meet the security and privacy requirements of protecting particularly sensitive personal biometric data in a globally distributed system that runs on nodes connected to thousands of human beings, simply encoding the biometric information is not enough.
Humanode utilizes crypto-biometric identification mechanisms that are based on a combination of various technologies and exist at the intersection of the disciplines such as mathematics, information security, cybersecurity, biometrics, liveness detection, zk proofs, homomorphic encryption and, of course, blockchain.
To become a human node, users need to prove that they are real living human beings and not deep fakes, photos, masks or something else. To do so, users go through live video-based 3D face scans and liveness detection. During this process, the 3D face mapping vector of the neural network is converted to numerical values and encrypted. After that, the public and private keys are created and, at that point, users can launch their nodes.
For registered Humanode users, once they log in after biometric identity verification, the 1 to n search and matching operation happens in an encrypted space. And, because it is zk-based, the only piece of information that is searched for and is given out is whether the user is registered.
Humanode embraces a number of exclusive features that help the project achieve its goals.
First and foremost, Humanode provides biometric Sybil resistance. With ensured decentralized biometric identification based on liveness detection, the network is owned and operated by real unique humans.
Humanode accelerates the spread of equality since each user can only create one identity, meaning that they can only launch one node and hence has a single vote. This means truly equal co-ownership of the network with equal distribution of power and fees among users.
Also, Humanode leverages self-sovereign and decentralized identity (DID) to give users full control over their digital personal data. All data is decentralized, encrypted and kept fully and securely on-chain.
Pseudonymity means that Humanode users can freely interact with the network without having to reveal their identity but only by proving they are real human beings. Furthermore, there will be no more concerns about data privacy, as Humanode uses crypto-biometrics to protect biometric data that never leaves users’ devices.
The need for a common device such as a smartphone or a PC to launch a human node means broader accessibility and fast and user-friendly biometric authentication brings usability to the system. Being a Substrate-based platform, Humanode is also interoperable with the broader Ethereum ecosystem making it accessible to thousands of passionate developers.
Moreover, Humanode’s crypto-biometric processing scheme alongside 1 human = 1 vote DAO infrastructure is easy to integrate through the direct Application Programming Interface (API), bringing Sybil resistance, decentralization and more advantages to any chain.
And, last but not least, Humanode introduces a cost-based fee system that denominates transaction fees in United States dollar, based on the actual use of resources. Pegging the USD value not only ensures that Humanode’s (HMND) volatility does not affect resource costs, but also provides a more intuitive user experience
The future of blockchain and biometrics merge
The merge of blockchain and biometrics has cogent potential. A new emerging ecosystem based on it is here to improve human life as such.
The current crypto paradigm is dominated by power- and capital-based schemes. Appearing as an alternative, Sybil-resistant human-based protocols allow reorienting the systems away from such technocratic and oligopolistic narratives, providing true decentralization and democracy.
Infrastructures based on human biometrics combined with blockchain are capable of creating innovative decentralized human-based digital verification layers and stable financial networks that rely on the existence of human life itself.
Biometric-based blockchain projects formalize a new framework for a prosperous and regenerative world, each in its own unique way. Some of them specialize in identity verification for blockchain services, some of them provide solutions for metaverse authentication, and some are interested in improving things like universal basic income (UBI). Be that as it may, they accelerate a new possible human future where inevitable uniqueness and equality are the main powers.