Faceless-A cross-platform private payment scheme for human-readable identifiers

Faceless is a cross-platform private payment scheme for human-readable identifiers.

Check out our BUIDL: Faceless | BUIDL | DoraHacks

Value Added

The payment scheme of the existing blockchain networks such as Ethereum is based on blockchain addresses, which are usually random strings that are hard to memorize and manage. Therefore, it might lead to many inconveniences for the users such as funds being transferred to the wrong address. In contrast, traditional payment is usually based on human-readable identifiers (HRI) instead of random strings, and this is for a good reason. For instance, when you pay your debts to your friends, you want the transaction record to be bound to your identity so that it can serve as proof later that your debt has been paid.

The existing HRI solutions such as ENS usually focus on one specific blockchain ecosystem and fails to incorporate many existing Web 2.0 human-readable identifiers that users are more comfortable using in practice, such as their mobile phone numbers, various social media accounts, email addresses (based on which PayPal systems are built), etc. We believe it is far more interesting to build a cross-platform payment scheme based on a generic HRI system that combines the users’ existing Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 HRIs. A cross-platform payment scheme based on a generic HRI system will not only serve the purpose of bringing Web 2.0 users into the Web 3.0 world but also taps into this immense market and helps realize the full potential of Web 3.0.

Another limitation of existing HRI-based payment solutions is the lack of privacy. This is actually closely tied to another interesting application of Faceless protocol, i.e., regulatory-compliant payment. Due to the explosive growth of Web 3.0 payment and its applications such as DeFi, NFT, etc, traditional financial institutions are starting to migrate to Web 3.0. However, in order for the Cryptocurrency market to attract institutional money on a large scale, one has to address its regulatory concerns. The privacy issue is likely to play a central part in the regulatory compliance requirements. Faceless will provide a private payment scheme based on HRI and hence resolve the privacy issue.

Our protocol will become a fierce competitor in the sphere of regulatory-compliant payment. In the Web 3.0 world, the HRIs will serve as the basis of regulatory-compliant finance. Faceless satisfies two vital requirements of regulatory compliance: 1. HRI will serve as the basis of regulatory compliance, 2. Our payment solution will be private, which addresses a central issue in any regulatory-compliance requirement. One’s HRIs such as mobile numbers or social media accounts can serve as the foundation to implement various regulation-compliant operations such as anti-money laundering. More sophisticated applications such as trusted decentralized finance (DeFi) can also be built on top of our system. For instance, one could build a credit system or unsecured lending and borrowing system on top of the Faceless system.

Our scheme is based on a combination of identity-based encryption (IBE) and zero-knowledge proof. Identity-based encryption scheme will allow the users to encrypt the payment under the receiver’s identity instead of random blockchain addresses, and it will also allow the users to manage their multiple HRIs with one single master key, which is a significant usability advantage. Our architecture will introduce a mechanism, which is based on randomized signature, to verify the authenticity of the user identity while protecting the users’ privacy. The verifiable identity will therefore serve as a foundation of regulatory-compliant payment. On the other hand, we will apply the zero-knowledge proof and IBE scheme to protect the users’ financial privacy. We will provide an open-source library to demonstrate the feasibility of our concrete design.

The final product of Faceless protocol will be a layer-2 protocol, which can be deployed on smart contract platforms such as Ethereum. We will potentially introduce a zk-rollup scheme to further improve the scalability of our payment scheme. Our rollup scheme will mainly focus on resolving the conflict between the scalability issue and regulatory compliance requirements.

You can find the link to our whitepaper here: DocSend, and our pitch deck: DocSend.


We are requesting a $100K grant to fund our public beta launch in Q4 of 2022, which will be divided according to the following milestones:

i. Upfront ($30K): The initial fund will be used to kickstart the project including: 1. legal fees to set up the legal Singapore/BVI entities, 2. Purchase of domain name. Project homepage design and development fee, 3. Workplace rental fee, etc.

ii. Milestone 1 ($30K): A cryptographic library written in Rust that implements the underlying anonymous identity-based encryption and zero-knowledge proof scheme. The main statements of the zero-knowledge proof schemes are defined in st_{transfer} and st_{burn} in our whitepaper. We’ll perform unit tests on the individual algorithms to ensure their safety.

iii. Milestone 2 ($40K): The main delivery of this milestone is the client that can trigger the aforementioned cryptographic modules and the necessary UI to enable the users to interact with all these algorithms. We’ll perform unit tests on individual algorithms to ensure their safety. We’ll launch our product on the Solana blockchain.

The $70K fund for the two milestones will mainly be used for two purposes: 1. Hiring R&D team and smart contract auditing, 2. To fund the subsequent marketing activities for the beta product launch, including KOL, media, AMA, community engagement, etc.

How to reach out to us

We believe Faceless will be a project that will revolutionize Web 3.0 payment. Although our project is still early, we have already received the support of Web 3.0 grant and investment commitments from the founders of the top 50 projects (according to coinmarketcap.com). Dorahacks community has been known for its passion for supporting and promoting Web 3.0 products, which is why we chooses you as our first target user. Please join us to make the future happen.


Hi Faceless team, I am wondering if the project is available to retail users or if will it be used for only 2B. If retail users like me can excess the project, what will it look like, and what function can we play with? Thanks

Hey @0x100times , Thanks for your interest. Our project is available to both retail and institutional users. Here is the frontend of Faceless project: Faceless. We are currently working on the integration of backend and frontend. The idea is that the users will be able to verify their human-readable identifier (HRI) such as their mobile phone number, and then base their private payment on the HRI. You will have a private transaction record based on the verified HRI, and you will be able to generate proof of the payment when needed. Since the transaction is based on verified HRI, it will be able to serve as evidence in court for instance. This is why we believe our scheme will be instrumental when it comes to regulation-compliant finance.

In addition, our wallet will be keyless. As long as the user has at least two HRI verified, such as one’s protonmail address and mobile number, the user will be able to login to their accounts without the need of remembering any private key or mnemonics. This improvement in usability will attract a significant amount of Web 2.0 users to the Faceless ecosystem.

1 Like

Very cool, so it’s like a combination of ZK and HRI? I am not very familiar with how HRI works, but it seems to work in a similar way to SBT.
Also, would like to know a bit more about how Faceless can make money, transaction fees?

Yes, technically our work is a combination of ZKP, identity-based encryption, and HRI. HRI does share some similarities with SBT, but it seems SBT is more concerned about tying one’s real-life identities with one’s blockchain address and less concerned about whether the offline identities are verified or not. In our case, HRIs registered by the users have to go through a verification process to ensure the authenticity of HRIs and the user’s ownership of the HRIs. This is also one of the reasons why Faceless will come as a handy tool for regulation-compliant finance.

Regarding the business model of Faceless project, first of all, the private verification of HRI will be performed by the authorities that stakes a certain amount of Facel tokens. We will provide a staking incentive mechanism to ensure the authorities align their interest with the project and behave honestly. Secondly, we expect there will be a huge demand for regulation-compliant financial services in the next bull run. The project will charge a certain amount of service fees for advanced, regulation-compliant financial services such as electronic invoicing, personalized credit systems, unsecured borrowing and lending, etc. Thirdly, we will potentially launch a rollup scheme to improve the scalability of our payment scheme in the future. Our token will be used for the payment for the rollup sequencer.

Update from Faceless project:

We have recently successfully delivered Web 3 grant milestone 2, and here is the notification of acceptance of Faceless milestone 2 by the Web 3 grant foundation: https://github.com/w3f/Grant-Milestone-Delivery/pull/655#issuecomment-1363876952, GitHub - w3f/Grant-Milestone-Delivery at 2be663f283f1fdf24b0af9753ae2bab4fb8d602c.

Here is our milestone 2 delivery: GitHub - HeisenbergLin22/Faceless_milestone2_delivery and you can run the test following the instructions in the readme file: Faceless_milestone2_delivery/README.md at main · HeisenbergLin22/Faceless_milestone2_delivery · GitHub.

Our next step will be focusing on the development of private verification of HRIs and the deployment of our protocol on new blockchains.