[Exclusive Interview] Meet Florian Le Goff, CEO & Co-Founder of Synaps
Welcome to our discussion with Florian le Goff, CEO & Co-Founder of Synaps, a crypto-native identity verification company that provides identity verification solutions from personhood validation to regulated KYC / AML and KYB processes. However, today we will focus on Anima, a self-sovereign identity for instant identification on decentralized platforms, communities, and Web3 services of all kinds. Together, we will discover, what is the relationship between Synaps & Anima, how did the idea of Anima come to life, what are the main use cases, what the fear of most users when it comes to decentralized identity, and many more. Let’s dive in!
[SurferInvestor] Could you please summarise briefly what Anima is about?
[Florian Le Goff] Anima is the ultimate solution for controlling your digital identity in the web3 environment. This protocol allows web3 users to gain complete control over their personal data and can selectively share specific aspects of their identity. The name “Anima,” which means “spirit” or “life force” in Latin, represents our mission to empower individuals and give them full control over their online identity.
[Florian Le Goff] At Anima, we tackle all identity challenges head-on from the need for official documents for regulatory compliance to providing individuals with the means to simply demonstrate their uniqueness and humanity for community entries.
[Florian Le Goff] Anima puts you in control of your digital identity, and our vision is to build a user-centric web3 where trust between communities can be achieved through the managed sharing of identity attributes. We aim to establish a balance between transparency and privacy, creating a foundation for a reputation-based web3 that supports fair democratic systems and communities in the future.
[SurferInvestor] Could you please introduce yourself as a founder? What is your background? What makes you the right team for the project?
[Florian Le Goff] My name is Florian Le Goff. I am the CEO and co-founder of Synaps. I’ve always been driven by a desire to find innovative solutions to problems. In 2017, I stumbled upon the crypto industry and began exploring Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). I joined several discovery groups to gain insights into how the ecosystem worked, and I even started investing.
[Florian Le Goff] However, it quickly became clear to me that investment onboarding was a major pain point in the industry. Back then, projects such as 0x and Kyber were struggling to verify a large number of users in a limited timeframe.
[Florian Le Goff] This is where I had the idea of creating user-friendly Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Business (KYB) solutions to streamline fundraising and investment opportunities on Web3. With the help of my talented co-founders, we founded WeStart to optimize and simplify identification, focusing on high-quality solutions that meet the needs of the crypto market and provide the best user experience for even non-tech users.
[SurferInvestor] How did you come up with the idea of Anima?
[Florian Le Goff] The concept of Anima arose from Synaps and our KYC solution. With Synaps, we focused on improving the web3 user experience for compliance usage.
[Florian Le Goff] Over time, we highly developed our expertise on online identity – a fascinating subject that is still largely overlooked, and one that extends beyond compliance issues. Synaps led to the development of the Anima dID protocol (learn more about the dID protocol here or here), a breakthrough solution for controlling digital identities in the Web3 environment.
[Florian Le Goff] Our goal with Anima is to foster trust in communities through the controlled sharing of identity attributes while striking a balance between transparency and privacy. With Anima, we’re empowering individuals and creating a more democratic and trusted Web3.
[SurferInvestor] Why would a user wanna use Anima?
[Florian Le Goff] Anima is the go-to platform for self-sovereignty. In the web3 environment, privacy is critical, and Anima provides the perfect balance between privacy and trust.
[Florian Le Goff] Our user-friendly technology seamlessly connects to existing crypto wallets like Metamask, Ledger, or Brave, making identity management a breeze. Beyond compliance and proving personhood, Anima offers complete dID management with customized claims, giving users full control over their digital identity.
[Florian Le Goff] Not to mention, Anima leverages the entire Synaps ecosystem. As an Anima owner, you can use your dID on all Synaps-supported projects, including over 600 crypto projects like Polygon, Polkadot, Qredo, Mina Protocol, and Gitcoin. Synaps has helped raise over $5 billion in crypto and serves regulated entities like Jump Trading, Sygnum, and Just Mining to name a few.
[SurferInvestor] What is the number one concern of users when it comes to on-chain identity?
[Florian Le Goff] At Anima, we understand that privacy and security are essential when it comes to on-chain identity. That’s why we’ve taken multiple measures to address these concerns.
[Florian Le Goff] As a decentralized protocol, we do not gather any user data and are unable to access any information transmitted through our platform. Our advanced encryption techniques enhance user privacy and security, and users retain full control over the information they choose to disclose. To explain briefly how this works, your data is encrypted using your wallet’s public key This data is then encrypted again and stored in a decentralized data storage, which divides your private data into chunks and stores them securely.
[SurferInvestor] As a non-technical crypto user, I am always scared that if my seed phrase gets compromised, someone might be able to impersonate me. Is that even possible?
[Florian Le Goff] It’s understandable to have concerns about the security and the risk of someone impersonating you. While there is a risk with any system that involves self-sovereignty, the Anima protocol has been designed to prevent the risk of identity theft.
[Florian Le Goff] Losing control over your identity can no doubt have serious consequences. As a dID protocol, it’s our responsibility to make sure that our users are aware of the risks. In the event of any security concerns, users can delete them at any time through their wallet without our intervention.
[Florian Le Goff] Many of the decentralized proofs in an Anima rely on Liveness technology, which is deep fake resistant and takes only a few seconds to validate. This means that even if someone were to hack your Anima by impersonating you, they would not be able to pass the liveness stage.
[SurferInvestor] My second worry is forced compliance with government entities. If you are the one encrypting my identity as a centralized company, theoretically a government could pressure you into revealing who owns the address xyz? Or am I wrong?
[Florian Le Goff] Keep in mind that as a dID protocol, Anima does not collect any user data. This means that Anima cannot access or decrypt the information that flows through it. Because of this, Anima cannot be compelled to disclose the identities of its users. All identity attributes are encrypted using the user’s wallet public key and can only be decrypted by its owner, giving them complete control over their data and the ability to selectively share attributes with chosen entities.
[Florian Le Goff] However, if a user decides to use Anima to validate a KYC on a regulated platform, they will have to share their information with that platform for legal reasons. But in no way Anima may need to keep user data for compliance needs. And to ensure users are fully aware of what they are sharing, the Anima interface displays exactly what data will be shared with the platform before validating sharing.
[SurferInvestor] What item in the roadmap gets you the most excited?
[Florian Le Goff] In the short term, we’re thrilled that Anima Protocol has released a new dID attribute called Proof of Personhood (PoP). This proof allows users to easily prove their humanity and uniqueness in a privacy-preserving manner, without having to disclose any data.
[Florian Le Goff] This is a major breakthrough for our project and the web3 community. PoP provides a user-centric alternative that maintains complete privacy while balancing transparency and privacy. Despite being a new solution, PoP already has many use cases. It can facilitate fair reward events in communities and establish new governance models based on principles like one user, one vote, or quadratic voting, ensuring that everyone has a say, irrespective of their economic power.
[Florian Le Goff] We can’t wait for the community to try PoP and see all the amazing things our users can do with it! It’s a big step forward for our project and the web3 ecosystem.
[SurferInvestor] How many people are on the team?
[Florian Le Goff] Our team has grown tremendously over the 3 years, we started with just the 5 of us in the first year and now we are a team of 35 members. We come from different backgrounds with diverse skills and expertise that make up the Anima team. We are united by our common goal of delivering the most advantageous and optimal user experience for our dID protocol.
[Florian Le Goff] Our team is divided into several departments, each responsible for different aspects of the protocol. But I can say for certain that no matter what expertise we have to put to the table, we work in an environment of trust, open communication, collaboration, and a shared sense of purpose.
[SurferInvestor] In an ideal world, how would Anima look in 5 years?
[Florian Le Goff] Decentralized identity is likely to become more widespread and mainstream in the next 5 years, with a growing number of individuals and organizations using it to manage their digital identity and personal data. It is our goal for Anima to become increasingly integrated with the emerging Web3 ecosystem, allowing individuals to use their dID to access Web3 platforms, communities, and services.
[Florian Le Goff] We aspire to keep improving our technology, prioritizing user experience and making it simpler for individuals to manage their digital identity and personal data, resulting in a more user-friendly Anima.
[SurferInvestor] For people who wanna jump in, how to get started?
[Florian Le Goff] Our Anima dApp makes it easy for anyone from crypto experts to novices alike in decentralizing their identity. To create a dID, users will need to connect to their wallet and go through a step-by-step guided process.
[Florian Le Goff] Once everything is set up, users can connect to their wallet with one click and choose which document to share from their Anima. The platform will instantly request credentials from the dID protocol and they will be granted access.
[Florian Le Goff] Along with the launch of our PoP release, we’re launching our PoP release along with an Anima NFT fairdrop to showcase our PoP technology’s potential in creating a fairer airdrop process. Anyone can claim their PoP Fairdrop NFT by creating a PoP with a wallet that doesn’t have an Anima yet.
[Florian Le Goff] We welcome anyone who is interested in our protocol and we are delighted to guide anyone in their journey towards dID through our channels.
We would like to thank Florian Le Goff, CEO and co-founder of Synaps and Anima, for taking the time to have this insightful and informative discussion with us. It’s inspiring to learn more about Anima’s journey towards self-sovereignty and how they are empowering individuals by allowing them to have full control over their digital identity. We wish Florian and the Anima team all the best in their mission of creating a more transparent and secure web3.