Civic Adds Verification Platform to Battle Bots and Scams


The Web3 identity and reputation company Civic is continuing its fight against bots, scams, and rug pulls with the launch of a new tool, uniqueness verification, and a platform called Civic.me.

“Uniqueness verification is one part of the suite of products that we have for enterprise, which is called Civic Pass,” JP Bedoya, chief product officer at Civic, told Decrypt at NFT Expoverse in Los Angeles.

“In a nutshell,” he added, discussing Civic Pass, “it is a token that gets issued to a consumer’s wallet that is non-transferable and also non-visible directly via an explorer, that then attests to some form of verification.”

According to Civic, uniqueness verification is a service designed to stop bots from taking unfair advantage of NFT drops by limiting the number of wallets an account can use for the drop. Each user will only be able to use one wallet, with the aim of preventing bots from accumulating the bulk of a drop.

Along with uniqueness verification, Civic also rolled out Civic.me, a platform that lets users manage their online identity, NFTs, wallet addresses, and reputation from one place on the blockchain.

“That is the place where you will be able to manage your ever-growing NFT collection and all things related to your Web3 identity, profile, and persona,” Bedoya told Decrypt. “We realized NFTs have become a significant cornerstone of who you are on Web3.”

San Francisco-based Civic, which launched in 2015 as an open-source identity verification protocol on Ethereum, has made online identity its focus for Web3, offering enterprise and consumer solutions.

“I think that when it comes to security and cybersecurity within Web3, there are multiple pieces [to be considered] like access and hacking, and that just goes back to bugs and issues with code and smart contracts,” Bedoya added.

Bedoya went on to say that another piece of cybersecurity in Web3 that gets left out of the conversation is learning and identifying who’s behind a wallet.

“That’s where something like Civic Pass and a token issued to wallets can start creating that foundational piece, to build knowledge on top and create a reputation,” he said.

Civic has spent many years building tools that prove a person’s “liveliness” and identity, but the road has been bumpy because proving someone’s liveliness doesn’t necessarily keep them from running a scam.

In December, Civic announced that it had “verified” the Big Daddy Ape Club through its Verified by Civic Pass program. At the time, the program required verifying: control of the project’s Twitter handle, control of the project’s domain, and the identity of the project founder, including ID documents and a 3D face scan.

But the Big Daddy Ape Club still turned out to be fake.

In January, scammers were able to pull off one of the largest NFT rug pulls in the history of the Solana blockchain, making off with 9,136 SOL (around $1.3 million at the time) sent by would-be collectors to mint what turned out to be non-existent Big Daddy Ape Club NFTs.

The company discontinued the Verified by Civic Pass program in February.

Still, Civic is confident that its mission to protect users from scams and bots through identity verification will succeed by making it a common requirement for users to be privately doxxed instead of publicly doxxed.

“If you think about what doxxing means, it doesn’t necessarily mean, ‘OK, look at me, this is who I am to the public,’” Bedoya said. “It can be, ‘This is who I am,’ but then selectively disclose certain parts of my identity.”

Bedoya says building a reputation around a wallet is not enough, and it takes some form of identity, for example, a biometric, that can verify a person’s identity.

For Civic, Bedoya explains, this is done with a video selfie, which is then stored for private verification, adding that while Civic provides the tools, the company has set up barriers so that Civic does not have access to the information being stored.

“We have built a unique, decentralized storage system, where you as the user have the only encryption and decryption key to access any kind of data that gets stored there, like all the wallets that you linked,” he says. “It’s going to be a cross-chain world, so you’re going to have NFTs on Ethereum, Solana, Polygon, you name it. From that perspective, we also believe it’s important to bring all those pieces together with privacy at the center.”

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