At this moment, bad guys from Darknet are applying for a loan using a copy of my passport. Bad guys from a low‐grade bank will definitely approve this loan. I will find it out from Bailiffs” Service guys. They will come to me when the case of a non‐repayable loan gets to them for execution.
Fortunately, this is a joke. Such incidents do not happen often but still, happen. There are lots of real problems with personal data which can be stolen and forged. While personal data is not properly protected, no one can feel completely safe.
The United States‐based startup Civic propose to protect personal data using blockchain technology. This technology does not allow you to change records in the database retroactively. Once recorded, data cannot be erased. As long as the blockchain is maintained by at least one node, the full database will be available. This is an important characteristic for any data, especially personal.
The founder of Civic is Vinny Lingham, a 39‐year‐old digital business entrepreneur. He has launched several successful startups, and one of them has been profitably sold. However he has become famous not for the profitable sale, but for the fact that he offered simple and important solutions for business partners verification and identification of individuals.
Mr. Lingham kindly agreed to answer our questions. Here are his answers.
1) Why a project with blockchain and KYC — I mean Vinny did well his Gyft, but thus is different industry, so how you decided to move here?
Blockchain and identity go hand‐in‐hand. I implemented blockchain at Gyft, and I was able to see how it could benefit a business and benefit the customers of that business.
Blockchain‐based technology enables new ways of proving who we are. Civic was originally inspired by the idea of mobile voting, but working backward, I realized that the underlying problem with mobile voting is being able to verify millions of people from their mobile device. I saw this as an opportunity to help address the massive problems of identity and identity verification and help people control and protect their personal information.
2) What are main problems in a field of digital identity? I’ve read an article at Medici couple of days ago about blockchain identity, and general tone was quite critical, something about «nobody will use it» — but funny thing that no CIVIC (or Netki, for example) was mentioned.
Blockchain is still a nascent technology, but it is a technology that is well‐suited to solve specific challenges in our modern society, like identity, because it enables an immutable, yet transparent record keeping. In the new digital world, more of our personal information lives online in databases, where it is increasingly vulnerable. This is all compounded by the problem that if personal information is stolen, it’s easy to misappropriate.
Digital identity can help solve problems of data breaches, disinformation, fraud, and identity theft in ways that simply weren’t possible before blockchain technology. Civic is currently working with over 130 partners, and thousands of Civic users are getting verified and sharing their identity information in a safe, secure way every month. While adoption for the industry might be slow, we’re confident that blockchain‐based identity solutions will a fundamental part of our future. Our partners showcase the demand and need for identity verification solutions, and we’re excited to help create the foundation for that future.
3) How other blockchain projects can benefit from the coöperation with Civic. I mean your Civic Libre, Incentive token program and so on.
Civic provides a simple and secure way for partners to authenticate and verify users. Civic does not require partners to store any user information and removes traditional third parties from the identity verification process. Additionally, as the Civic network grows, the benefits will accumulate for users, as they are able to use their verified identity with any partners in the Civic network. To give more companies the opportunity to partner with Civic, we introduced Civic Libre, where we are using our incentive token pool to offer $0 identity verification services until the end of 2019.
Yes, there are not so many blockchain‐based solutions for real business, but they already exist. The first transactions and activities have been executed in banking, fintech, public services, logistics, insurance, and food production. In each area, the identification of counterparties is required. So, the number of areas, where the blockchain is used, increases.
Yes, the process is slow, but it is ongoing thanks to Civic.