The 21st Century has given birth to the global proliferation of the Internet. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though. The Internet has given rise to a completely new world where people can reside seemingly anonymously behind any number of different pseudonyms that serve as some inkling of protection. You can have multiple accounts on a single platform, all with different ID's and personalities. Little do you realize, the site you're using keeps track of your IP address and various other identifiers for your devices - all of which can positively identify you.
Truth is, anonymity is even harder to achieve over the Internet now than it was 20 years ago, and in many cases, harder than it is in the physical world. The more advanced data tracking efforts become, the more strain goes into safeguard one’s identity. To effectively protect one’s personal data, it takes an exhaustive and expensive list of measures one must take on their own.
Luckily, with the emergence of blockchain technology, which utilizes the Internet in many ways, people are finding new ways to protect themselves against misuse of their personal data. One of the latest innovations to come from blockchain technology is decentralized identity, or DID. In DID, a government authority does not store someone's personal data on one server - rather, each citizen is issued a hash which serves as the key to their encrypted data that they store on their own. Their hash must simply match a hash on a government server to verify their identity.
There are several projects throughout the world now testing various DID solutions, such as Credify. We recently talked with Maurizio Raffone, Chief Financial Officer at Credify about what they do and how they use DID.
What's your background? How did you get involved in crypto/blockchain?
MR: I am the CFO of Credify, a fintech company based in Singapore and active also in Vietnam and Japan, building digital identity and user acquisition solutions. Blockchain is an important component of our tech stack.
I spent 20 years in capital markets and investment banking and I was intrigued by the inclusive and empowering business models that blockchain's trustless confirmations protocols can provide.
What value does Credify bring to users?
MR: We offer our technology to enterprises in South East Asia and Japan. We help them offer their users control over their personal data and access to a broader range, cheaper and more convenient financial services.
Where do you see Credify five years from now?
MR: We want to establish Credify as a world leading embedded finance platform. Our goal is to help bring about financial inclusion and support the healthy development of financial services into the future.
What are the most common misconceptions you hear about decentralized identity?
MR: We deal with companies and the most common misconception is that by providing their users with a decentralized tool to manage their identity, somehow the companies may lose valuable information about their users. That is actually quite the opposite: empowering users to control and manage their identity via a well engineered decentralized tool, such as Credify’s idX, is the easiest way to obtain valuable information (not just data) about their users from other sources which can help create a better picture of your own users, reduce a company’s compliance and security overheads as well as actually being able to monetize the data they have about their users through a user consent-driven ethical process.
What's next for decentralized identity in 2021?
MR: We believe we will see decentralized identity become a mainstream topic after the successful rollout of the relevant technology, including Credify’s suite of products, by large financial service providers. We also think that South East Asia in particular is the perfect location for this technological leap to occur given the local demographics, high degree of tech savviness and need to bring about more inclusive financial services matching pace with the rapid overall economic growth.