The IRS may not be good for much, but their website has an interesting page detailing examples of identity theft and fraud for the current fiscal year. Of course, the web page only provides a small sampling, as the number of cases will reach the tens of millions by the end of fiscal year 2017. Just last year alone, 15.4 million consumers were victims of identity theft last year, costing an aggregate of $16 billion.
But corporations hardly fare better. A list of 2017’s biggest cyber hacks contains some huge names – Verizon, Equifax, Deloitte…wait for it… the CIA. Even one of the world’s best intelligence agencies isn’t immune from cyber breaches, breaches which oftentimes give up personal information.
Cyberattacks typically lead to questions about cyber security and preventing future attacks, but they also touch on a crucial point–who controls personal identity data? After all, this is usually what hackers are after.
The examples cited above are a reminder that for various reasons, the current system isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. People’s personal data is in danger, and something needs to be done about it.
Enter blockchain technology, a new segment of the fintech industry that is causing ripples in every sector it meets. In this case, blockchain companies like SelfKey are working on platforms that give end users the power to own, control and manage their personal identity data.
Rather than have large corporations, government agencies, or other central authorities control identity information, SelfKey is putting the power back where it belongs–in the hands of individuals who know what they need better than anyone else.
How SelfKey’s Blockchain Technology Changes the Game
The problem with centralized entities storing personal identity data is that the data, once security systems are breached, is all held in one location. The Equifax hack is a perfect example of this. Equifax’s security issues aside, once the wall was breached, the hackers were able to easily access the personal information of 145.5 million people, a number larger than originally thought.
Additionally, large data gathering organizations have an enormous target on their backs. Why rob ten local community banks and get $100,000 each when you can rob a large central bank and walk away with $10 million in one job? The same logic applies to centralized data hubs.
SelfKey’s platform, as a decentralized blockchain, gives each user their own Self-Sovereign Identity (SSID). Users, with their digital identity, are given privacy, security, and above all, the freedom of choice to do what they want with their data.
The platform operates based upon two corresponding keys held in a SelfKey blockchain wallet. Users first download the SelfKey Wallet app on their personal device. After creating a wallet, they can then upload their personal identity information. The data is saved locally on the device. Backups can be made to others devices.
The two corresponding keys on the platform are the public and private key pairings. This pair, called a SelfKey, serves as the individual’s digital signature. The private key is known only its owner, while the public key is known to any parties requesting information. Because the private key is required to digitally sign any documents and release any personal information, it is much more difficult to forge signatures. When filling out applications or completing requests for information, users have the choice of disclosing only what is required to be disclosed.
Because each individual is in charge of his or her own data, there is also much less risk of being affected by a global cyber attack. Individuals must be specifically targeted, and even then, the decentralized nature of the blockchain platform ensures that individual targets will be harder to find and difficult to hack.
SelfKey’s Decentralized Marketplace
One of the primary features of SelfKey’s platform is its decentralized marketplace. Here, identity owners can shop for various services and offers, and then place an order for a product or service they find helpful. Service providers are able to list their products and / or services in the marketplace for free or for a fee. SelfKey’s token, KEY, is the cryptocurrency through which the transactions take place.
A detailed list of the services provided can be found on SelfKey’s whitepaper. Some of the more notable ones include bank account applications, passport applications, and the ability to incorporate a company or an LLC. By applying for these services through SelfKey as opposed to traditional methods, users can control what information is released to requesting parties. The two-key system offers a double verification of sorts, making sure that the data transfer is safe and secure.
The public token sale will be happening soon, but for now, interested parties can register for the private pre-sale via SelfKey’s website.Once registered, all parties will receive a copy of SelfKey’s Token Sale Deck which will provide further information about the platform and its uses.