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Blockchain For Identity Management: 33 Startups To Watch In 2019

  • 8 February 2019
  • Sam Mire

In the 21st century, the word “identity” ought to be more commonly associated with “theft.”

Never before has it been such a minor chore to acquire somebody’s key personal details and capitalize on them. If your formal government-issued identity is so far unviolated, count yourself lucky— such unfortunate outcomes are only becoming more common.

But some companies are saying enough’s enough, developing blockchain-powered tools to turn the tables in favor of people protecting their identities. By creating hyper-secure storage lockers of sorts for our identifying information and letting us know who tries to access, they aim to put the bad guys out of business.

Here are the names to know when it comes to blockchain-powered ways to protect your identity.


validated-idValidated ID

Barcelona-based Validated ID provides digital identity solutions that cater to individuals and businesses working in the remote and eCommerce spaces. We often don’t know for certain that we are dealing with the real somebody when it comes to digital interactions, but Validated ID hopes to remove much of the certainty from virtual dealings. Paperless legal support and identity authentication are among two of Validated ID’s most critical offerings. Their ViDSigner is a comprehensive electronic signature service that allows users to issue legally-honored signatures in several ways – through a swipeable card, biometric signature, automated stamp, etc. The service is predicated on simplicity, legality, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility – the same features that are required in the remote economy.

Date Founded: 2012

Funding Type: Private


KeyPKeyp

Keyp is looking to take on the digital identity paradigm by offering an open digital identity ecosystem – solutions, partners, etc. – to all of Europe. The broad goal: to create an environment where the cutting-edge in identity protection is made readily available to businesses willing to pay for it. Some of its most-used offerings are intended for hiring and onboarding processes. Their Identity Framework brings onboarding and logins under a single umbrella, making these processes highly-customizable and secure. The Keyp Identity Terminal allows users to design customer access workflows, while the Keyp Wallet lets users establish a decentralized identity for individual control over data. While this may seem like a lot for a single platform, know that it is an ambitious project, but also one with serious promise.

Date Founded: March 31, 2017

Funding Type: Private


NewBankingNewBanking

NewBanking is looking to allow users to prove their identities more easily across the web without sacrificing control over sensitive data. This is particularly useful in the financial sector, where FinTech has created an atmosphere where digital transactions are the norm, not the exception. Users choose precisely which information they want to input into their digital ID, as well as who they choose to share it with. Beyond this, NewBanking wants to alleviate other worries – how is my data being used? Who is it being sold to? Is my personal information ripe for hackers? Etc. In the age of digital banking and general information sharing over poorly-secured portals, such a service will serve a widespread need.

Date Founded: October 1, 2015

Funding Type: Private


MetadiumMetadium

Metadium is a ‘next-generation identity protocol’ helping users manage, protect, and utilize their online identity. Created with blockchain-capability, the Meta ID offers a single source of users’ personal information securely stored using blockchain protections. The self-sovereign identity is also intended to be usable with off-chain and inter-blockchain services so that it has real usefulness in the real digital world. Though the Meta ID can store a plethora of data, users decide what to share and what to keep hidden on a case-by-case basis, lending a measure of versatility to the digital identity solution.

ICO: September 17, 2018

Funding Type: ICO


THEKEYTHEKEY

THEKEY is an identity verification tool powered by the blockchain. It incorporates Blockchain-based dynamic multi-dimension identification (BDMI, for short) to help authenticate that somebody is who they are claiming to be. This level of authentication is in lockstep with what government agencies require. Advantages of this level of security and identity management technology, THEKEY team states, is lower cost, more reliable results, and better user experience.

ICO: January 15, 2018

Funding Type: ICO


TRUSTITrusti

Trusti is an Israel-based, blockchain-enabled platform providing identification technology for cross-chain transactions. The platform also offers services that are critical to identity management; namely, compliance, fraud detection, and identity authentication. Users can do a number of things on the Trusti network – create an accredited crypto wallet, send and receive funds, transact using security tokens, and more. Importantly, they can do all of this on a platform that operates within the confines of the law and regulators’ expectations.  

Date Founded: September 25, 2017

Funding Type: Private


FractalFractal

Fractal is a Berlin-based company seeking to help create a future where the business world governs itself. They want to create a decentralized, shared economy in which communities are self-governed and accountability is not created through the threat of punishment from a single regulatory body, but through well-defined community standards regarding fairness and ethicacy. They’ll do this by automating critical mechanisms using blockchain technology. From know-your-client (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) processes to data protection, security, and identity management, Fractal is taking a multi-pronged approach to securing the shared economy of tomorrow so that regulators don’t have to.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: Private


NuggetsNuggets

Nuggets is a blockchain-powered platform that grants its users a single biometric source to handle their logins, payment, and identity verification needs. The London-based startup encourages users to create a ‘personal cloud’ on which their personal data is securely stored; according to Nuggets, not even their team can access this data. From there, users decide if, how, and when they pass along that data to third parties. For those comfortable with biometric access, Nuggets could significantly reduce the sheer number of devices where your information is vulnerably stored. With no passwords or login credentials, you better hope that your device doesn’t forget what your fingerprint looks like.

Date Founded: October 5, 2016

Funding Type: ICO


AGEifyAGEify

AGEify is a Belgian online age-verification platform with backing from the European Union. How many sites ask you to verify your age? Countless. And, when they do, you simply enter an arbitrary date that you know will allow you to stroll past the age wall. Whether the barrier to entry is 18 or 21, all it takes is the average seven year old to dupe this system. With AGEify, sites who are serious about catering only to an age-appropriate audience can now put stronger measures in place. By piggybacking off of affiliate institutions – banks, telecom companies, etc. – that already have access to verified age records, AGEify is able to enact more stringent protections. Users simply enter a PIN or conduct a finger scan and voila, they are either let into the naughty website or told ‘sorry, not just yet’. And, all data is secured via blockchain systems.

Date Founded: January 1, 2017

Funding Type: Private


MADANAMADANA

MADANA – not to be mistaken with the Brit pop singer – is a German platform conducting data analysis with an assist from blockchain technology. Broadly, MADANA allows users to maintain control over their data while also offering ways for users to anonymously make money off of their personal details and habits. The platform was created to improve upon the data marketing by allowing data miners and marketers to continue deriving value without violating the average user or web browser’s privacy. Built on the Lisk blockchain, the MADANA platform will compensate users who share their data with the PAX token, handed out automatically using smart contracts. By compensating users when they share and making them aware of the conditions in which their data is being acquired, MADANA provides a much more appealing proposition than most legacy identity management platforms.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: ICO


Peer MountainPeer Mountain

Peer Mountain is an enterprise blockchain built as a mobile-first distributed ID-management network. All members of the network, whether they’re businesses or individuals, own and control their data, and can use it to several ends. First, members’ identities are consolidated in a single source – the Peer Mountain mobile application. Users can then share their self-sovereign, Peer Mountain-enabled identity how they please without worrying that data is being taken from them without consent. Business can insulate their form-reliant processes from breach through PM’s built-in blockchain protections, and identity verifiers can earn Peer Mountain Token (PMTN) for validating credentials that go into the platform.

Date Founded: October 2017

Funding Type: ICO


Object TechObject Tech

Object Tech is using blockchain-powered systems of sovereign identity to help individual secure digital visas. The EU-supported Object Tech team envisions a future in which digital passports allow travelers to simply walk off of their plane or train directly into a cab or rental car without having to stop to verify that they have traveled legally. The digital identity ‘follows’ users as they travel, creating a verifiable ledger that serves as proof – no longer will the question ‘have you traveled out of the country recently’ be necessary at the customs gate. Object Tech maintains that their system is compliant with the highest of privacy and security standards, and also points out that its vision falls in line with the smart cities and communities of the future.

Date Founded: May 17, 2016

Funding Type: Private


DominodeDominode

Dominode is a company based out of Florida developing digital identity solutions using blockchain, smart contracts, and crypto technologies. It is specifically focused on creating better identity oversight in regulated industries. For job candidates Dominode is helping candidates prove their identities and credentials to prospective employers. For regulators, the platform is working to create a more efficient system for managing licensing and certifications. On an individual level, their Professional Identity Solution helps secure authenticated data in a shareable way, giving the owner control over how and when the data is shared. On a more macro level, Dominode hopes to help businesses unlock a secure, global business network where qualifications are verified, and trust is ever-present.

Date Founded: July 19, 2017

Funding Type: Private


Hu-manityHu-manity

Hu-manity is a blockchain-powered startup with a grand vision to establish decentralized human rights and corollary sovereign laws on the blockchain. The goal is to cater our 30 human rights to the problems that remained hidden or unforseen when those rights were first established, and to do this with the help of technologies that, in some cases, may present human rights issues. The first target is our personal data; Hu-manity wants to protect our sensitive intel from poaching and illicit propagation. Whether it is geospatial data, spending habits, or medical history, the Hu-manity mission is to establish rights around ownership of that data in a similar way to how property rights are established. Establishing these rights will be possible through ‘decentralized democracy’ by which a community can come to agreement on a standard regardless of where they are geographically located.

Date Founded: April 2, 2018

Funding Type: Private


globalIDglobaliD

globaliD is a blockchain-powered tool that lets users establish, own and utilize their digital identity. The encrypted globaliD platform allows users to built their digital reputation and deploy it in a number of ways. Users can input their attested government ID, social profile, and financial status based from verified documents, then use the platform to deploy necessary information without ever giving up true ownership of the data. With attestations – essentially endorsements – from third parties that can verify your information is valid, your phone becomes your universal identifier – better not lose it.

Date Founded: 2016

Funding Type: Venture-backed


EvernymEvernym

Evernym is the software company behind a number of decentralized, self-sovereign identity applications. They have created an open source ledger dedicated entirely to preserving user identity protections. The ledger, Sovrin, has been made available to everyone, everywhere since Evernym donated it the the Hyperledger project. What this means is that users who join and access the ledger can verify the authenticity of claims made by another person or organization, so much as such a thing can be verified. Partners with Evernym include R3, the Illinois Blockchain Initiative, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and others. Not so much a single project or product as it is an incubator, Evernym has several identity-focused, blockchain-powered projects in the pipeline.

Date Founded: 2013

Funding Type: Venture-backed


HubHub

Hub is a blockchain-based trust protocol that aims to make user reputations deployable across the web. In the age of free-wheeling internet opinions spat out at no cost to the speaker’s reputation, Hub wants to bring accountability back to the digital world. By decentralizing reputation data using the blockchain, the idea is to establish greater value for users whose opinions warrant a greater level of trust. This will allow those users to seek out greater economic opportunities, gain greater interest in their products/services, and reap the other benefits that come from a reputation for trustworthiness. This is the idea behind Hub: use blockchain technology to assign rankings of trustworthiness, then make those ratings deployable and useful across the many spheres of the internet.

Date Founded: June 1, 2016

Funding Type: ICO


CivicCivic

Palo Alto-based Civic is a blockchain-enabled ecosystem equipped with tools for individual users and businesses to maintain power over their digital identities. Civic is the launching pad for those who want to access outside sites and apps, but are unsure that their identity will be protected when they do. By using the Civic platform as a buffer, users can access untrusted locations on the web without the need for a login and password. Third-party keys are generated to serve as a barrier between Civic and a user’s keys while still verifying that the user is who they claim to be. All identity information entered on Civic is completely encrypted; so, despite using the platform to login to all sorts of sites, the information used remains private and insulated from outside threats.

Date Founded: 2015

Funding Type: Private


VettyVetty

Vetty, using deep learning and blockchain technology, is helping users conduct background checks with more certainty. The identity and background verification platform helps companies and individuals make more informed hiring decisions by dispatching their bots to ensure information is complete and legitimate. This saves time for both applications and businesses, as the database serves as an evolving roster of potential candidates whose credentials and potential red flags can be quickly identified and assessed. Candidates can check on the status of their background check at any time, too, minimizing the queasiness that comes with the uncertainty of the hiring process.

Funding Type: Private


1Kosmos - BlockID1Kosmos – BlockID

1Kosmos is the outfit behind BlockID, their identity management platform powered by blockchain technology. The platform is a move away from the physical, legacy copies of identification that can be easily duplicated, manipulated, and used as tools of identity theft. BlockID eschews these old ways in favor of a secure locker for one’s digital identifiers stored on their mobile device. All it takes to activate one’s BlockID is capturing a picture of one’s face, driver’s license, and passport and then recording a voice sample and fingerprint. With this, your information is authenticated and encrypted. If your IDs are lost or stolen, this can be reported on the app. If your phone breaks, 1Kosmos has a decentralized backup of your information.

Date Founded: June 1, 2016

Funding Type: Private


V-IDV-ID

V-ID is a validation service that uses blockchain technology to reduce instances of document fraud. The V-ID protocols can be integrated into existing platforms and systems, imparting blockchain verification technology into a paying customer’s existing operations. V-ID has several unique use cases. From verifying the legitimacy of a diploma, to serving as a legal notary service, confirming the authenticity of digital security footage, photos, research results, or audit trails and beyond, V-ID has a wide range of applications across industry lines.

ICO: September 15, 2018

Funding Type: ICO


Velix.IDVelix.ID

Velix.ID, like many services, is looking to improve the identity verification process by using blockchain technology and a novel approach. It has all the markings of a blockchain-enabled ID verification platform: it is decentralized, each user is assigned a unique, encrypted digital ID, all transactions involving data stored on the platform must have user consent, and the user controls their data at all times. The other benefits of the Velix.ID platform are the efficiency and cost savings that come with blockchain-enabled automation. Smart contracts, zero-knowledge proofs, and the Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP) all go into the building of the ecosystem, which is ‘universal, obscure, transparent, decentralized, time-efficient, and cost-efficient.’

Date Founded: September 2016

Funding Type: ICO


DIWDIW

DIW is a decentralized identification infrastructure that allows users to securely access a number of dApps without compromising their identity or data. Users can store identifying information and documents, passwords, banking information, wills, and other digital data in the DIW ecosystem. There, it will be encrypted and stored decentrally as a digital locker for the most important information we can possibly have. The platform does more than just store identifying documents, though. Once their information is verified, users can accept and send payments in both fiat and crypto. DIW is also working on a global directory which will help users list their services to expand their economic and commercial reach.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: ICO


Blockchain HelixBlockchain Helix

Blockchain Helix is aiming to become the ‘DNA of digital identity’ by reducing the cost and improving the quality of digital KYC processes. With Blockchain Helix, accredited institutions can securely share KYC data among themselves, reducing the time and cost associated with client authentication. Two banks exchanging KYC data is an example of the Blockchain Helix Trust Provider Network in action. The Network is designed to extend secure sharing of authenticated data to larger networks, streamlining processes and decreasing costs in the process. Importantly, BH is compliant with regulations and backed by the power of the EU.

ICO: March 2016

Funding Type: ICO


KimlicKimlic

Estonian startup Kimlic is a decentralized identity validation ecosystem powered by the Quorum blockchain and available via Google Play. Their password-less identification processes are enabled by blockchain tech, and allow companies to easily, securely transfer KYC data for more efficient processes. For users, sharing their identification information securely with companies through the Kimlic app can result in financial rewards in the for of the KIM Token. Their decentralized storage ensures that identity data and documents are rendered easily-hackable on some centralized data; instead, all information is transferred directly from a user’s mobile device to a business, with no vulnerable stoppages along the way.

Date Founded: September 1, 2017

Funding Type: Private


PersonaPersona

Persona is a zero-knowledge identity management system built on the blockchain. It was built this way, because, according to the Persona team “personal details are meant to remain private”. The Romania-based platform maintains this privacy deploying their blockchain protocol to let users prove their identity without actually sharing any data with third parties. Persona embraces community as a form of verification. Once a user has their identity confirmed on the Persona network, they can then act as a validator of other users’ identities. In the network, it takes 16 peoples’ endorsements to reach 90% validation; the other 10% must come from a financial transaction to confirm via a financial institution that you are who you say you are.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: ICO


VerTriusVerTrius

VerTrius is a Washington, D.C.-based startup that is a developer of SaaS technologies, some of which fall into the blockchain-facilitated identification management realm. Their digital ID stamp technology is a central aspect in all of their verification services. It is used to verify content security, traceability, management, and access control no matter where it is stored or displayed on the web. The VerTrius digital ledger takes the authentication process further by generating decentralized, authenticated records of communications, transactions, content location, and more.

Date Founded: March 1, 2016

Funding Type: Private


NuIDNuID

NuID is a startup pushing forward the trustless authentication and trusted identity movements. Through the use of zero-knowledge cryptography and distributed ledger technology, the NuID platform is helping to make identity authentication databases secure and portable. By streamlining multi-step authentication processes, NuID is upping the ante in terms of ease of login. The passwordless nature of the database helps reduce cases of fraudulent accounts hacks, and the decentralized ledger lets users be more aware of how their data is being shared – this is aided by the fact that securing that data requires permission from the users themself.

Date Founded: April 19, 2017

Funding Type: Private


KABNKABN

KABN is a suite of financial services that begins with identity security built on the blockchain. The platform arose out of a growing need for greater regulatory compliance with initial coin offerings (ICOs). The end-to-end suite of services includes a patent-pending B2B2C infrastructure that will let clients and consumers cut chunks of time off of KYC and identity-verification process through the use of smart contract technology. This is critical in the ICO climate, where onboarding processes are rapid and, if not done right, messy. Verifying identity and user data through KABN represents a step towards making ICOs a more above-board way to raise funds.

Date Founded: January 2018

Funding Type: Private


lifeIDlifeID

lifeID is an open-source, tokenized protocol for the establishment of self-sovereign identity. As the name hints, lifeID is a way for users to consolidate their most important identifying information in a way that is secure for, well, life. Open and permissionless, the service is available to anybody in the world with the technological means to access it. Features will include biometric authenticators, 100% user control over the privacy of personal information, a complete lack of passwords, and the ability to use the lifeID in both digital and physical settings. In time, aspects of the lifeID network will include physical key cards for real-world deployment, VPN/Cloud access to one’s lifeID, a digital ID card, and travel-ready iterations of the platform.  

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: Private


Block SystemsBlock Systems

Block Systems is a blockchain access management platform based out of Palo Alto, CA. Apocrita is their pet project that is meant to make it easier for users to access files, regardless of how they have logged in to open it. They want to solve the problem of – as one example – the Facebook user who cancels their account and no longer has access to all the applications they logged into through their former Facebook account. Apocrita is a blockchain-powered solution to this problem. The distributed web platform is a unified access platform that provides interoperability for existing and new identity models. When such a system is deployed at large scale, the logistical and cost savings can be substantial. Even on the personal level, it’s a useful tool.

Date Founded: March 9, 2018

Funding Type: Private


Cambridge BlockchainCambridge Blockchain

Cambridge Blockchain is a Boston-based innovative group working on blockchain-based identity management and compliance software solutions for the financial sector. Know-your-customer and other stringent regulatory imperatives make finance one of the most red-tape heavy industries there is, and Cambridge wants to reduce some of the headaches for compliance departments. Customer privacy is a major part of remaining compliant, so Cambridge has conceived a blockchain-powered solution to give the control over personal identity back to the customer in a shareable way. Their distributed architecture ensures that financial institutions have access to needed data without infringing on privacy laws.

Date Founded: 2015

Funding Type: Venture-backed


SelfKeySelfKey

SelfKey is a blockchain-based digital identity system for the integrated financial services marketplace. Self-sovereign identity is at the heart of SelfKey’s mission, as they believe self-ownership of personal data is the key to secure management of identity. By putting forth the systems for users to take control of all facets of their identity, SelfKey aims to reduce frcition in cryptocurrency management, financial onboarding, and immigration processes, among other purposes. Tools for achieving this goal include the Identity Wallet, which digitally secures personally-identifying assets and documents; the SelfKey Marketplace, for comparison of and access to a wide-array of identity-related services; and the KEY Token, which allows users to pay for notary and verification services as well as other assets on the SelfKey platform.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: ICO

About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.

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