ZKLadder Uses Ceramic to Create a Decentralized Authenticity Platform

ZKLadder uses ComposeDB on Ceramic to develop a solution that connects patented physical labels to NFT’s on any EVM compatible blockchain

ZKLadder Uses Ceramic to Create a Decentralized Authenticity Platform

ZKLadder is a venture studio building products that connect physical and digital environments. They empower creators and brands of all sizes to connect authentic physical objects with digital records, like NFT’s, using a self-sovereign design.

ZKLadder’s authenticity platform uses an innovative physical labeling solution based on unclonable three-dimensional identifiers and optical scanning technology. A unique 3D tag is adhered to a physical object and can be scanned and validated with the camera on any mobile device.

“The Ceramic data storage protocol is ideal for extending our core platform guarantees of self-sovereignty, open and permissionless access to data, and censorship resistance,” the ZKLadder team says.

“Our labels last for decades, so it’s imperative that we leverage a sustainable protocol. You have to believe in the design, but moreover the people and their ability to evolve and thrive in Web3. This is why we selected Ceramic.”

The Story of ZKLadder

ZKLadder is a seasoned Web3 engineering group that collaborates with mechanical engineering PHD’s and professors at Stony Brook University with deep experience and patented technology in consumer goods authentication. They have married a unique optical scanning and authentication technology with a scalable, trustless Web3 platform.

ZKLadder utilized ComposeDB on Ceramic to develop a solution that connects patented, tamper-resistant physical labels to NFT’s on any EVM compatible blockchain.

The tech offers a low cost way to prove the source authenticity of a physical thing using the camera on any phone. While it has wide applicability across many verticals such as merchandise, fashion and cannabis—ZKLadder has gone to market leveraging the real demand that exists today in generative art and photography markets.

Several well-known and successful artists have used the platform to create authentic physical prints linked to their NFT art collections. This system allows these creators to offer their collectors authentic, one-of-one prints of the NFT tokens they own.

The Challenge Before Ceramic

When initially designing their stack, one of the key decisions revolved around where and how to store the data necessary for ZKLadder apps, and consequently an end user’s mobile device to authenticate and identify a physical label through a scan.

Every physical label that gets linked to an NFT through the ZKLadder platform is accompanied by a digital 'Certificate of Authenticity' (COA) that encodes the unique label data, describes the underlying physical object, and identifies its NFT counterpart.

“We could have chosen to store these COA’s in a centralized database for maximal control and convenience, but doing that would ultimately lead us down the path of a centralized (and fragmented) technology provider, and would severely limit our ability to pursue our roadmap of decentralization (open sourcing authentication stack, white labeling mobile app, establishing a DAO, etc.),” said the ZKLadder team.

Another alternative would have been to pursue an on-chain data storage strategy, which would ensure maximal data availability, but with their goal of eventually certifying hundreds and thousands of physical items across many verticals—it quickly became apparent that this would be cost prohibitive even on a Layer 2 or sidechain. Other challenges with on-chain storage included difficulty in updating the shape of data once it is deployed, and limits in indexing and query functionality.

“With Ceramic, and specifically ComposeDB, we found a solution that was flexible enough to store many types of data records (through straightforward model creation), and could do it at scale and at lower cost, without sacrificing on our goal of building an open and composable data set,” the ZKLadder team said.

Why ZKLadder Chose Ceramic & ComposeDB

The ecosystem for application-scale decentralized data storage is in its early stages, according to the ZKLadder team.

“One major concern with many of Ceramic’s competitors was that they would not be production-ready for some time, with an even greater gap to reaching the kind of battle-tested performance guarantees that developers rely on,” they said.

What excited us the most about Ceramic, besides all of the useful functionality being built on ComposeDB, was the maturity of the network, with many products and platforms appearing to utilize it in production and an active forum where problems and questions are addressed on a continuous basis.

Seeing many builder groups utilizing Ceramic made ZKLadder’s team feel secure in following a trodden path. They also understand the power of network effects, and strongly believe that Ceramic will continue to grow and coalesce energy.

By joining the pool of apps building on ComposeDB, the team is opting into a world where collaborating with other builder groups is possible without having to worry about significant development overhead.

How ZKLadder Built With ComposeDB on Ceramic

ZKLadder relies on ComposeDB today, in production, to store a data set of 'Certificates of Authenticity' that their application uses to authenticate each physical label, and identify the underlying physical artwork and NFT that it is connected to.

To power this functionality, they primarily rely on two models:

  1. Label Model - Stores data necessary for the authentication of each unique physical label, primarily the 'imageData' field that encodes each label’s unique combination of microbead colors and positions
  2. Certificate Model - Stores data necessary to link a label to an NFT, including the contract address and token ID, along with optional descriptions of the underlying physical object

A typical interaction from an end user’s point of view (authenticating an item) would look like this:

An example of this flow in action can be found here.

“Through our art focused POC platform, called Iterati, we have certified over 500 physical artworks from several artists active on Artblocks, Bright Moments, and FXHash, and distributed them to hundreds of collectors and enthusiasts, all using ComposeDB behind the scenes,” the team says.

At the moment, ZKLadder is using ComposeDB simply as a data storage solution in order to create a more resilient and censorship-resistant platform, but they are extremely excited about their longer-term roadmap of decentralizing the toolkit, allowing anyone, anywhere to tag and certify any form of physical object and own the COA itself as is possible with Ceramic’s DID-based authentication scheme.

“We envision a world where hundreds of creators, brands, and builder groups are able to, in a self-sovereign way, attest to the authenticity of any object, and for a wide variety of applications to have the ability to validate this claim of authenticity and then determine if it came from a trustworthy DID,” the team says.

Get in Touch

Generative artists and photographers looking to transform their digital art into something unique, authentic and physical can check out their platform here: https://iterati.art

Or if you're just curious about the tech and want to learn more feel free to reach out to their team here: chris.tiu@zkladder.com