We are all tired of logins and passwords, and the promise of switching to the use of biometrics to replace all of that. The new Apple iPhone 8 has done a fantastic job of explaining what’s possible for going way beyond the easy to hack fingerprint with the addition of facial recognition.
But there’s a problem with that.
As great as all of that is – it still starts at the “second mile” of authentication. Facial recognition like that can confirm that your face is the same face that set up the service, but it doesn’t do anything to confirm that you are who you say you are. That’s the first mile of authentication and it’s surprisingly rare.
And if, like a lot of people you are diving into blockchain, while a lot of aspects of blockchain thrive, even depend on user anonymity, other industries can’t move forward until the first mile identity problem is solved. Financial Services and Healthcare are the two big ones that will go nowhere until there is a good, fast, trusted solution for blockchain.
UPort and Civic are two companies that have done a fantastic job of making identity an issue on blockchain. UPort is focused on the private key aspect of things, and Civic is looking to build on the KYC/AML validation that banks need to do for the first mile, and leverage that for future interactions in a way that adds trust and removes friction from the user experience.
AuthenticID provides first mile solutions today for large business throughout the world, as well as providing what blockchain identity services such as UPort and Civic need – the first mile in an interoperable way.
So when is KYC/AML validation needed? Banks and employers will do this when they first establish a relationship with you. They have to do it by law. Banks have a Know Your Customer (KYC) regulation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_your_customer). This is getting a photo ID issued by the government, like a driver’s license or passport and making sure you are who you say you are. They also have to do an Anti Money Laundering (AML) check to be sure you got your money from trusted sources.
But they only do it once. It’s expensive for them – it’s at least $20 per customer for KYC validation for online accounts – and many times more for in branch accounts. Once they know who you are – they let you get a login and password that could easily end up in the wrong hands because all of the ID/Password information is stored centrally. We know that Equifax and Target have been badly burned by people hacking all of the ID/password information of customers.
So it seems pretty obvious that doing this once is not enough for an ongoing relationship where you have data that you care about.
Once you understand what first mile authentication is, you are probably shocked that more places don’t do more to ensure that you are who you say you are, from banks, to healthcare, even to other things like the babysitter you hire.
It’s probably because until now there wasn’t a fast, easy affordable way to get this done and verify it on an ongoing basis, until AuthenticID.
So, what’s going to happen?
What’s going to happen is that people are going to start asking for first mile authentication and services like AuthenticID, and expect / demand it, and because our services are affordable and the biometric data we use to replace your login/password stays on your mobile phone (in the secure enclave making it unhackable), users will maintain control (via consent) of who gets to see it, and because the data will be so distributed, it will be much less likely that you will have these mass identity breaches that we have been seeing from places like Equifax.
This will become ubiquitous.
As it relates to the blockchain, the frenzy right now is around Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). So, AuthenticID is starting to offer its first mile authentication service in the registration process for the buyers of ICO tokens. Demand for this type of service will continue as countries continue to clamp down with regulations on ICOs with KYC/AML regulations.
OK, so what impact is AuthenticID going to have?
Besides offering fully automated KYC/AML services, we are focused on reducing time and friction in the customer enrollment process for apps and services. There’s about a 25% abandonment rate when people start signing up for a new service because it takes too long and it’s too much typing for what we want to do in the moment. When you can use your biometric (second mile) as an authentication and know that it’s trusted from a first mile authentication (AuthenticID), the enrollment process takes a lot less time to move forward then the first transaction, so abandonment rates will plummet, which means customer conversion rates will soar, which means revenues will also soar and we will be better able to get on with our lives.
There you go.
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