Incognito Voting and the new generation of ZK social apps

Kitty Horlick, Lasha Antadze

Zero-Knowledge technology is revolutionizing social apps. No longer must anonymity come at the cost of credibility. Instead, apps can ask us to verify only our most relevant characteristics, and we in turn can comply without revealing our identities.

This protects privacy and introduces trustlessness into online community building. Digital subcultures and social movements currently struggle to filter members effectively without resorting to closed ‘friends-of-friends’ systems.

ZKs and verifiable characteristics, however, allow communities to both preserve the integrity of their cause and remain accessible.

The Rarimo community built Freedom Tool, a surveillance-free voting solution, because digital voting urgently needed privacy. Until Freedom Tool, there was no way of verifying voter eligibility that also prevented tracing. For people living in regimes, this was a disaster.

As well as providing safe voting platforms, however, applications built on Freedom Tool can double as incognito digital town squares where users who’ve verified their engagement with particular causes can organize and connect.

Freedom Tool is open-source and license free. Anyone, anywhere, can use it to build completely anonymous, tamper-proof voting systems and social apps. They can also use Rarimo’s broader infrastructure, as a ZK social graph, to add additional incognito functionalities.

Freedom Tool’s First Implementation

The first on-the-ground implementation of Freedom Tool is in Russia where opposition have used it to build Russia2024, an app that allows dissenting citizens to vote in protest elections without being traced.

Led by former Pussy Riot lawyer Mark Feygin, Russia2024 was released in March of this year. Within 24 hours of launch, it received 15,000 downloads: a record breaking number for decentralized social apps.

Last night, the app went live. A referendum challenging Putin’s inauguration has been launched; citizens will vote, over a four week period, on whether they consider the Russian electoral process legitimate.

Fegyin has stated that he intends this referendum to be the first in a series, with ongoing polls establishing a line of communication between opposition leaders and the public.

Further functionalities are not confirmed but could include a secure messaging application for Russians who can (anonymously and through ZKPs) verify their sustained engagement with civil activism.

How Freedom Tool Works

With Freedom Tool, you prove your eligibility to vote by scanning your biometric passport with a phone. None of your passport data leaves the phone or passes through a server where it could be intercepted.

Instead, a Zero-Knowledge Proof (ZKP) verifying your citizenship, uniqueness, and the fact that you are over eighteen is generated. This ZKP triggers the release of an anonymous pass which you can then use to cast votes without any risk of being traced.

The votes themselves are published directly onto the blockchain where they are tamper-proof and publicly auditable.

Passports and Proof-of-Citizenship

Beyond voting, Rarimo’s passport ZKPs have unlocked an entirely new characteristic: Proof-of-Citizenship (PoC).

Rarimo’s builders are already exploring a second use case for PoC: programmable airdrops. This grants projects control over the countries whose citizens they distribute tokens and other digital assets to.

Rarimo’s upcoming token launch and airdrops will include aid distributions that use PoC to ensure charity reaches citizens directly.


Proof-of-Citizenship, Passport ZKPs and incognito voting are huge milestones, but they are only just the start.

A new generation of social applications is glimmering on the horizon. They protect our privacy and our communities; they are safer, they are more fun, and their impact on the world will be as profound as the Web2 apps that preceded them.

If you care about privacy and social apps, need support, want to build on Rarimo, or are looking for ZK frens, get in touch.

Privacy is freedom. Go incognito.


Further Reading

  • Introducing Freedom Tool: blog post

  • Russian Opposition use Rarimo’s Freedom Tool to launch surveillance-free voting app: blog post 

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