Reflow crypto: digital product passports for the circular economy

Reflow crypto: digital product passports for the circular economy

Today I feel light and grateful: light for finally publishing something I’ve worked on for the past 2 years and grateful because this is an outstanding achievement that could only be attained with the help of my colleagues at

A pre-print of our paper is freely available: “Reflow: Zero Knowledge Multi Party Signatures with Application to Distributed Authentication

Also mirrored at Arxiv and SAO/NASA ADS, versioned source on github/DYNE

Reflow signatures are based on the work we did in the DECODE project with colleagues at UCL: we built a privacy-by-design signature scheme on top of Coconut credentials (yes, the stuff that got Facebook/Libra so interested).

All Reflow crypto is fully implemented in free and open source code using Zenroom which makes it easy for mathematicians to review what is inside Zencode language statements as well for engineers to integrate it in existing applications.

What REFLOW is for?

The Reflow project is an EU Horizon 2020 innovation action running through 2019 and 2022 which aims to enable the transition of European cities towards circular and regenerative practices.

NEWS UPDATE: Reflow has been nominated as SUCCESS STORY by the European Commission in 2022!

Six European cities gear up for a more circular future
Under the current urban paradigm, cities consume more resources than they produce. Changing this trend by optimising ‘urban metabolism’ means actively involving citizens, completely redesigning products, relocating production and rethinking urban spaces.
More specifically, REFLOW uses Fab Labs and makerspaces as catalyzers of a systemic change in urban and peri-urban environments, which enable, visualize and regulate “four freedoms”: free movement of materials, people, (technological) knowledge and commons, in order to reduce materials consumption, maximize multifunctional use of (public) spaces and envisage regenerative practices. The project will provide best practices aligning market and government needs in order to create favorable conditions for the public and private sector to adopt circular economy practices.

REFLOW is creating new circular economy business models within six pilot cities: Amsterdam, Berlin, ClujNapoca, Milan, Paris and Vejle and assess their social, environmental and economic impact, by enabling active citizen involvement and systemic change to re-think the current approach to material flows in cities.

This paper and the free and open source software referenced sit at the core of the innovative developments in Reflow’s technical work-package and implement a novel signature scheme for material passports whose integrity, provenance and portability is granted by means of provable cryptography.

We need this because if we want to recycle more we need to have a clear picture of material flows coming in and out of our cities, as well a way to track the life-span of each material.

EU plans ‘digital product passport’ to boost circular economy
The European Commission plans to introduce a “digital product passport” early next year that would contain information about the composition of goods on the European market to help boost their chances of being reused and recycled.

Think of material passports as sort of “barcodes” that cannot be counterfeit and do contain the whole history of materials and components part of an object. Here we explain the material passport use-case a bit.

What else can we do with Reflow crypto

Well, quite a lot considering it is all quite modular and configurable. In the paper we analyze 4 base functions:

  1. Credential based and anonymous multi-signature and decentralized verification scaling up to thousands of participants.
  2. Need-to-know application for multiple participants to sign complex documents without distributing the entire document to everyone
  3. Advanced Disposable-ID scenarios augmented with multi-signature
  4. Last not least the material passport, more generally consisting of a system to authenticate fairly complex graph data structures

And so Reflow crypto is a core building block for what we are envisioning to be the future of the so called Industry 4.0:

Distributed Design | Fab City Hamburg
Für die “Distributed Design Plattform” hat Vereinsvorstandsmitglied Benedikt Seidel gemeinsam mit Denis “Jaromil” Roio einen Artikel zu unserem Software-Projekt “Fab City OS” geschrieben.

In a not so distant future we’ll see objects being produced and marketed as the remixing of open and distributed design contributions: the main challenge for this market will be to fairly redistribute the wealth to all contributors while keeping track of them while respecting their privacy.

A lesson about what can we do with crypto

Its not a mystery that I’m involved in crypto since more than 10 years now

So let me conclude that I’m very proud today to present this work, which is not yet another coin to accumulate or mine, nor a system that needs a lot of energy to run (look at our benchmarks!) but a sincere and collective effort to use cryptography and math for the aims of a green and sustainable agenda.

Reflow: Zero Knowledge Multi Party Signatures with Application to Distributed Authentication
Reflow is a novel signature scheme supporting unlinkable signatures by multiple parties authenticated by means of zero-knowledge credentials. Reflow integrates with blockchains and graph databases to ensure confidentiality and authenticity of signatures made by disposable identities that can be verified even when credential issuing authorities are offline. We implement and evaluate Reflow smart contracts for Zenroom and present an application to produce authenticated material passports for resource-event-agent accounting systems based on graph data structures. Reflow uses short and computationally efficient authentication credentials and can easily scale signatures to include thousands of participants.

Tune in to the discussion 💬

(These services are bridged: join your favorite and reach them all)

🗨️ Matrix
🗨️ Telegram
🗨️ Discord

Support Dyne 🫱🏿‍🫲🏾

🪙 Bitcoins: bc1qz9wz2f9swcefra2tfrhk4fx49evqsv03m9nx4l
🧁 LiberaPay

Follow 🗞️

Social Media everywhere!

🐘 Mastodon
🎬 Peertube
🐭 Lemmy
📸 Instagram
🐦 Xitter
👔 Linkedin
🪞 Facebook
✍️ Medium is a digital community & free software foundry. We share tools, practices & narratives that empower artists, creatives & citizens in the digital age. - Website
Haparandadam 7-A1 1013AK Amsterdam


Inventor, Ph.D. think &do tank. - Website