Can We Safeguard Our Identities in an Increasingly Automated Web?

Episode 45 Trinsic with Riley Hughes

As of February 2023, 850 million people globally don’t have an ID: no birth certificate, national ID–a legal identification that enables access to basic services like setting up bank accounts, getting a job–a system we’ve taken for granted in the West. Solving the identity problem becomes more pronounced as societies become increasingly digital. This will further elevate the need for secure and convenient ways to verify a person’s identity as they transact and communicate online or remotely. This comes at a juncture as we face many problems with impersonations, deep fakes, AI generated media and content where safety and trust become just as crucial especially as generative AI accelerates.

We welcome Riley Hughes, CEO of Trinsic, leading infrastructure for issuing and accepting reusable ID credentials from a network of providers. Riley has been early to the Self-Sovereign Identity space. He’s worked with communities that have been evolving the technology and governance in this area and with his company, he is paving the future for how we manage our identities.

Transcript

Hessie Jones

Hi everyone. Today we are discussing digital identities from the context of an automated web. My name is Hessie Jones and this is Tech Uncensored. Just to give you a couple of stats, February 2023 there were 850 million. People estimated globally that didn’t have an ID, so that means they had no birth certificate, no passport, no driver’s life. No national ID, so the United Nations, in its attempt to actually tackle this ID problem, echoed the need to actually establish legal identity for everyone, including free birth registrations before 20-30. So having proof of legal identity or official. Officially recognized ID, it matters for equitable, sustainable development. It’s a key enabler for things like financial, economic, inclusion, social protection, healthcare, gender equality, child protect. Action and the World Economic Forum identifies it as a basic human right, and it’s often the thing that provides this. The the things that we need access to services opportunities, how to how to get a job, how to open up a bank account and receive the necessary social assistance that we need for us in the West. It’s actually something that we take for granted it this is a given. So solving this identity problem. Becomes more of a priority, especially if we consider that many of our societies right now are moving towards digit. And the growth of digital services has further elevated this need to make our identities more secure as we as we take on more convenient ways to actually transact online or remotely. So what are the risks that we face today? So we all know that there are a lot. Of problems in the. There are impersonations spam bots can actually make calls on behalf of the CEO, and who can ask employees to actually send money or make donations? We see the prevalence of deep fakes across the web, political actors that are more common, and there’s no way to really validate their authenticity. And what does this mean for platforms like LinkedIn? Like Twitter, Airbnb it these places where many of this fraud arises. And as we start to even get into, let’s say, the automated data scraping of data and our identities across the web. Towards development of these LLM models what are the implications for that? So we start to see that the risk to securing protecting our own identities in this broader web becomes a bigger challenge. AI generated Media Trust and safety age verification. These are all emerging areas that demand forms of digital identity. So all I have to say, I’m happy to welcome today, Riley Hughes, who is the CEO of Trinsic, which is a leading infrastructure for issuing. And accepting reusable ID credentials. From the network of providers, we’ll get a little bit more deep into what transit is all about during this session. Riley has been early to the self sovereign identity space. He’s worked with communities that helped evolve not only the technology but also governance. As this area started to merge. And his company is paving the way for how we actually manage our own identities. So welcome, Riley, to the show.

 

Riley Hughes

Thank you so much, Hessie Jones. I’m so glad to be here.

Hessie Jones

No problem. So I’m going to throw a. Bunch of stuff at you because there’s a lot of people. But are not familiar with with digital identity, so I. Wanted to ask. You So what if you were to define? It in your own way. What is it?

 

Riley Hughes

Yeah, I think Simply put, digital identity is just a digital representation of a person, right? It’s like the digital you now obviously we can dive a lot deeper into it. But conceptually I think you know that would be my answer.

 

Hessie Jones

OK, so if you could, let’s say distinguish the characteristics of the digital ID from, let’s say a physical ID like what are the properties that it holds?

 

Riley Hughes

Yeah. So I can. Maybe to answer that question and be helpful to explain a little bit about physical ideas, because people are familiar with physical ideas generally and they work pretty well. I think if digital ideas were more like physical ideas, our lives would be a little bit better off. So in the real world. You know, we all carry around ID’s cards, credentials in our wallets or purses or whatever. And you know, the reason that these are useful, like when I go to the airport and I hand my government, you know, my driver’s license to the, to the TSA attendant at the airport, they don’t trust. That credential, because they trust me. They trust it because they trust the DMV that issued the credential. Right. And just like. Any form of identification, whether it’s a birth certificate which was, you know, issued by the government or a Social Security card, or a passport or a drivers license or whatever, people don’t trust those things because they come from us. They trust them because they come. From a trustworthy source, right? So identity is really this way to bootstrap trust by taking some token from a trustworthy source. That is somehow bound to me on a driver’s license that’s done by a picture, right? There’s a picture of my ID and a pic and and and whoever I’m presenting it to. Can see my. Face and they can see it’s the same thing. And you know, presenting that in a new context so that. Even though I’m a complete stranger that the new place that I go can trust me because they trust the source of the ID credential. Right. And what this means is that I don’t need to do the full blown identity proofing at every single place I go. Right. When I go to a bank to open up a bank account, I don’t need to bring my birth certificate and my Social Security card. And you know, all all kinds of stuff. All I need to bring is this one little credential of my driver’s license because the DMV already did all that work to validate those things originally, and the the driver’s license is almost an abstraction or a proxy. Of the inputs. To that driver’s license, which are. All the things. That DMV, you know, verified about me, right? And so, you know, that’s really how physical ID works. Digital ID on the other hand, kind of still works without those proxies or those you know passports or whatever. Like what a driver’s license represents in the in the real world, if you think back ten years ago, every single website you needed to create a brand new account from scratch. Right with a username and password and every single. One of these accounts, every single one of these businesses, would need to verify my. Identity from scratch because. You know, just like if I were going to the DMV, I’d have to verify from scratch, they would all have. To do that. So all that work themselves. Well, eventually, these social media providers and the big tech companies got smart about, you know, they already have all this data. They’ve already done all the work. And so why don’t we federate against their data source and allow us to leverage our existing social media, you know, logins. Speaking to access third party services, so now we see so, so, so that brings in the advent of log in with Google log in with Facebook, log in with whatever right and that’s that’s something that everybody is basically familiar with today. But there’s some problems with it it it, it relies on one big company that that holds all of your data. And unfortunately, there’s a little bit of an adverse incentive there because of course, Google wants me to use login with Google Everywhere I go so that they can. Know everywhere I go, and as soon as they know that I’m logging into one place, they’re going to serve me ads for a different thing. And it’s it’s a little bit of an adverse business. Model Google’s. Not doesn’t necessarily have my best interests at heart, right when they’re doing that. So that’s the first problem and the. Other problem is just trust. Anybody can go create a Google account and. Put in whatever. Name they want to in there right? And so up. You’re you’re never going to see. Log in with Google to your bank or to your government or to your healthcare institution, right? These these are still entities that need to do all that work from scratch. And so I think where we’re where identity is going next is more like the physical world where we will obtain digital credentials. And we’ll hold them ourselves in a digital wallet, just like we have a physical wallet and we’ll be able to present the right credentials for the right use case, you know, to share the right information. You know, as we go. About our life online.

 

Hessie Jones

OK. So so from the perspective of, let’s say, a student who is just, let’s say emerging OK, so they they will have their birth certificate, they will have, let’s say their passport, they they are already starting to list, they get a. Job and they probably will have their. I don’t know. They’re. Their credentials from school right, their university ID. But as they as they emerge in life into a job into developing a bank account and into, you know, getting a mortgage and all that, are these the types of credentials that will help ease his way? Into into. I guess the the digital world as he develops more of these accounts.

 

Riley Hughes

Yeah, yeah. In the long run, I think we will all carry around credentials of all different kinds from all kinds of different. I think in the near term, what we’re seeing is more traction on specific use cases, right? So most of these. Identity wallets, we’ll call them that. That are out there in the world exist to solve a specific problem. 1st and I think that’s normal in any technology development, but eventually we’ll see. Convergence or or aggregation or you know, whatever less less fragmentation in that market and we’ll start to see more general purpose while it’s pop up. That will allow us to do things throughout our life.

 

Hessie Jones

OK, so more simply though, because I I want you to respond to, let’s say the World Economic Forum, when they talked about the urgent need to for identity access to many of those countries. Where the citizens really just don’t have any form of idea yet. And maybe that’s the simplest form of how they can, I guess, develop a much easier towards an identity system. Do you think than the Western world that has already established all these different identities because of the logins and all the accounts that we’ve created? Starting from scratch, like what are? What are the implications for somebody that’s come out of one of these emerging countries where they have to establish that first ID?

 

Riley Hughes

Yeah, I think that. From what I’ve seen it it can be hard because before you can create an identity that is worth anything, you need to have systems and institutions that are trustworthy to establish it in the 1st place, right? And so if you take. The example of a. A birth? A birth certificate. Before the birth certificate will be trustworthy. You need to have kind. Of the systems in place to make sure. That the right. You know, parents are filling out the right forms and that the right people are issuing it and checking off on it and all of that. And generally speaking, if you already. Have all of that stuff set up. Then you’re already doing birth certificates. You know what?

 

Hessie Jones

Got it.

 

Riley Hughes

And so I think that the problem is like like part of the problem is upstream, right? In terms of the institutions that exist and and then the other part of the problem is of course the product problem, right? If if your digital identity solution requires your people to have the latest iPhone, then it, you know, it might, might, might work. You know, if you live in Toronto or San Francisco. Or London, right. But if, if you, you know, are talking about some of these other other parts of the world that has have less developed identity. Structure some of those assumptions don’t hold and you need to think a little bit differently about how you you present it. I spoke to the. The chief technology officer of of the holding company of a part of the Government of Bhutan and Bhutan is doing exactly this. They’re they launched a self sovereign identity, a national government. LED self sovereign identity for all citizens. And what he told me is that they ended up needing to build 13 different. For all the different edge cases that they faced. So what that means is you know Android app is 1 iOS app is another right a paper based form that allows people without smartphones to participate is another web-based form for people who only have a desktop computers another right. But in total there were 13 different variations of of wallets needed to be created and that and. That’s a lot of work. That’s a lot of, you know, effort. And so you can see why, you know, when digital inclusion is important. And so, you know, you wanna think about that kind of thing. If you’re a government. But but it’s a lot of work to cover. All the edge. Cases and so. I think that’s the other half of the problem.

 

Hessie Jones

Yeah. So for emerging nations, so you’re talking about like just the gap, the technological infrastructure gap that exists. Like if they don’t have the basic stuff that we that we have, then even forget about the identity. It’s like, how do you carry it? How how do you afford it? Like, those are the. The things that we they have to think about, OK. So you mentioned self. Sovereign identity and for a lot of our audience. They don’t understand. And how it actually fits into the identity space? I’m assuming it’s it is one of the foundations of identity. But tell me what it means and how is it actually presented in ID technology.

 

Riley Hughes

You say the self sovereign identity. Sorry, my audio cut out OK. Self Sovereign Identity is a concept, right? It’s an ideal and it’s a it’s an ideal state of the world in which people. Are the sole. Arbiters of their identity information. Right? As in, you know, as as of course, juxtaposed to a world in which, you know, big tech companies own all of your data. And you know, the only way you can even access your own data or your own. Property or your own stuff or whatever is via mediation from a third party who allows you to access your own stuff, right like that. That’s a world that I think most people don’t want to to live in regardless of, you know, I mean, I like Google. I like Apple. I like the services that I use from them, but I don’t want them standing between me and. You know my digital existence? Yeah, exactly. So self sovereign identity is the idea that people would control their, their their information on their own devices and be the the only ones in charge of who it is shared with and for what and how it’s processed and how it’s used. And and all of that.

Now I think self sovereign identity is also sometimes a term that people use to talk about specific set of technologies like verifiable credentials and digital wallets and centralized identifiers and all kinds of things that they sort of lump into that category. And what I would say is that. Most products that are getting traction in the market today are stepping stones on their way to a future where self sovereign identity is realized, not necessarily already self sovereign products today. Just because you know you got to meet people where they are and you have to. Get products. Out there that people adopt.

 

Hessie Jones

Can I ask about because you had mentioned Google and you had mentioned you know where we had to authenticate through through let’s say like A1 password or you know through a Google interface at the outset that has become the norm as you know so? How difficult will it be to to move away from the? Not, I guess expectation or reality in the future, especially as people start to realize that their identities are and their information are at risk if they continue to kind of be funneled through this one, you know, centralized, you know.

 

Riley Hughes

Yeah, I think the first thing to say is that there are a handful of risks that, that, that consumers face with their data. And most of them come down to centralization. As you mentioned, so I don’t as much. Have a problem. Relying on Google for something, but if I have to rely on Google for everything and they’re my central point of failure, then that can become a problem. Because if my Google account is breached, my Gmail. Well, guess what? My Gmail is used for me to access my social media. It’s used for me to access my bank. It’s like one point of failure and everything crumbles right? So I don’t necessarily have a problem with. Technology companies helping people manage their data. It’s just that when it’s all centralized into one spot, that’s that’s when it becomes you. Know more of. A problem? And so I think what we’ll see is. For consumers over time. You’ll start to see other names besides Google, Apple, Facebook, whatever for specific things that the Google, Apple, Facebook. Whatever’s of the world don’t solve right now. One of those is strong identity verification, right? You’ll start to, you know, there are lots of vendors out there that do strong government issued ID, document verification and selfie matching or liveness detection that will. You know you’ll start to see. See, you know, verifying, you know, the buttons to verify with these types of companies, you’ll start to see buttons to verify your. I don’t know if you need to share your medical credentials or something like that or if you need to share other information about yourself, you’ll start to see those types of things. And then over time. I think the market will expand a little bit more and there will be more diversity in, in the providers that allow us to help us mediate trust between our US and the service providers. We want to interact with.

 

Hessie Jones

OK, so let’s get into your company. Tell me about you. First of all, you ventured down this path very early on. Why and then what led you to develop transit?

 

Riley Hughes

Well, I did it. Because I saw a lot of my friends at college going to work at fancy companies that I’d never heard of, like McKinsey or Deloitte or Goldman Sachs or whatever. And I’m like, well, what are these companies? Right. And it’s like all my ambitious, all the most ambitious people around me are going to work at these these companies. With the names of. People you know on them and. You know, maybe I should do that too. So I realized, oh, I need to. I need to beef up my resume a little bit. And so I just went and got the most off the wall job that I I searched a job board at my college and found the most sort of differentiated looking job, which was the first employee at a nonprofit. Doing blockchain meets identity and I’m like, geez, this is a very, you know, esoteric role. I’m I’m going to take it right because it’ll it’ll differentiate my resume from all the other, you know, straight white males that look like me that want to go work with all these, you know, big companies. And so it was as simple as that now once I. Started in that job, I realized, Oh my goodness, there are a lot of problems to solve in this industry. It is ridiculous to me that we’re sending people to outer space and we have cars that drive themselves and we can edit genes and we can create an M RNA vaccine to a global pandemic in 48 hours after the genome sequence or whatever we can do so many incredible things. With science and technology, and yet the cutting edge of identity is still pulling out a plastic card and taking a photograph of it with my phone camera. Or or emailing it around, it’s just it’s like ridiculous. It’s like, clearly this is gonna be better in the future than it. Is today. And so, you know, we’re we’re obviously, you know, we’re not gonna get off of our, you know, SpaceX craft on our Mars colony in 100 years or whatever it is, and pull a plastic card out of our spacesuit right to, like, settle Mars or whatever. Clearly, identity in the future is going to be. Better than it is today and I thought that. I wanted to have a part of that right. It’s a. It’s a really, really cool space because identity touches everything, touches every interaction that you have online. You have some identifier that you’re exchanging with the counterparty and making that be able to be done at a higher level of trust and making it be able to be done in a way that’s more consumer oriented, meaning it’s more privacy protect protecting. And more consent driven by the by by consumers, so they know what their. They’re doing is something that’s going to just expand. It’s just going to blow markets wide open. It’s going to expand the market for what what we can do online and ultimately lead to much better outcomes for, for, for people. So yeah, that that’s my little rant, I guess, on on why I went into the space.

 

Hessie Jones

So there you had given me a paper and your title on the paper was the future of identity is reusable. What does that mean?

 

Riley Hughes

It means that right now most of digital identity that is not just a login right logins. Are kind of reusable with the social media logins that we talked about, but anything beyond just a login right? Like for example if I need to prove that I’m over 21 or over 18 or over 25 and. I want to rent a car. That car rental agency needs to somehow validate that I’m over 25. And how do they do it? They do it with they they do, they do it from scratch, right? They hire some vendor to send me through a process of taking a photograph of a government issued document, taking a selfie of my face, right, matching it, checking it against government databases, doing all this stuff. And then if I if I decide that I need to rent a different car and I go to a different provider, that next provider does that exact same process from scratch over again and and then the next day, you know, I get there, I get to my hotel or whatever they do the exact same process from scratch. Again and then I go, you know, maybe I want to, you know, get into or or order alcohol online at my wherever I’m traveling, right. And they do that exact same process again from scratch. It’s it’s crazy. And so the same person like, each one of us is reverified from scratch over and over and over and over across dozens of different vendors. And what does that mean? It means a bad. User experience for people. That means that these vendors are paying out the, you know, out the wazoo or whatever to to to reverify the same people. And it means that now your inform. Action is now duplicated across all these different places, and guess what? Only one of those places needs to have a data breach for your information to. Just be out. There. And so it’s just not a sustainable model, right? It’s not, it’s not a good model for the Internet. What we need is something where I can get verified once. And then I can turn that verification into a reusable credential is what we call it. You could say that you tokenize the location if you want to. You could say that you know the verification is credentialed. It put into a wallet so that then every place I go instead of getting reverified from scratch, I can share only what I need to. For example I can share that I’m over 25 without divulging my birth date or whatever. And I can. Do it in a way that is trustworthy. And that will actually allows me to accomplish my objective. So that is the premise of reusable identity. Does that make sense?

 

Hessie Jones

Yeah, it makes sense. So what? So what exactly is this new? Is this something like because in the before? In in, in. Many cases let’s say. Like for a bank for example, you need to like you. You only set it up once and then once you have your identity it’s attached to your login information. But also, it’s almost the same thing as the authentication applications. Do you see it? Do you see that as some? Similarity or parallel? With this.

 

Riley Hughes

Well, let’s see now what happens if you want to sign up for another bank or if you want to use a fintech product to. Get a loan on. A mattress or something, right? Like like that. Then what happens? It doesn’t even matter that you got verified at the first bank. What ends up happening is that you need to get reverified from scratch at the next place. What that does is it limits your choice. Because now your switching costs are so much higher to go shop around that most people don’t do it, you just have to stick with the one, the one place that you’ve already gotten authenticated and verified at so. So you can tell that I, you know, I’m passionate about reusable identity, but anyway. I I you. You said one other question in there. What what? Was that other question?

 

Hessie Jones

It’s almost parallel to…

 

Riley Hughes

Well, is it new you said? Is it new? Yeah. And the the short answer is no, it is not new. Everybody’s known that this is a problem for decades. And when I got in the space six or seven years ago. I was told by all the veterans of digital identity that I was surrounded with that this has been a problem that they’ve been trying to solve for decades and so. The question became well, why doesn’t this exist already? This seems like such an obvious thing. We all do this already in the physical world, right? We go get a high degree of verification done once with the DMV. They give me a driver’s license and then now I can use it everywhere, right. That, that, that we already have this reusable ID thing in the. In the physical world. Why don’t why doesn’t this exist in the digital world? Well, it turns out first of all, that it’s hard technically to do. It’s not that hard, technically, and it’s easy to say that now because we now have the solutions to the problem, but. You know, you don’t always know a priori what the right solution to the problem is, and so there were various iterations of things that had to go through to get to where we are today. But but it is. It is a challenging technical problem to solve, but the more interesting part of it is if you think about it logistically. Especially in the context of our conversation around big Tech, how will you feel Hesse if your reusable ID was owned and controlled entirely by Samsung or by Google?

You’re probably not going to be that excited about it and and if everything is owned by let’s say, say. Is the government going to then say hey all citizens, you need to get a Samsung phone in order to interact with me? The government? Of course not. Of course not. And so what’s required here is standardization. Standardization is the magic that enables so much of what makes technology work and without it. Technology would just, I mean we would be crippled from a technology perspective in so many ways if we didn’t have, you know, standards to power important things like the Bluetooth that I’m using right now from my little headphones in my ears to my computer. You know, the fact that these headphones can be, you know, made by Apple and my computer can be made by Microsoft and they still work seamlessly together. Through the Bluetooth standard is magical and it means that the the you know the the the market for headphones and and other things is so much bigger than it otherwise would have been. And similarly what what occurred or what what was completed a few years ago in the identity space is a new standard called verifiable credentials. And that is the thing that really got me excited and makes me think that this problem is finally solvable now, and in fact, verifiable credentials is. Verifiable credentials are being rolled out across the world now. They’re they’re they are the standard that’s powering the E ID’s that are going live in in Europe, in the United States, we have a slightly different standard called mobile drivers licenses or MDL’s. That’s an A slightly different standard and that’s in the, you know, being driven primarily by state, state DMV’s. And and things like that, but but these are standards that imply interoperability between applications and mean that consumers now have choice in what? What providers they use?

 

Hessie Jones

So if we take that example so of these, I guess you you call it digitally, native forms of ID, how much of that is evolving in the healthcare space because as you know, those are highly, highly sensitive pieces of data. And for the most part, it’s still very much. I would say analog, where me myself have really all the the information about what happens to me when I go to one clinic versus my doctor versus another clinic. And I have all my kids stuff, but it ends up being in a. Physical wallet like. How do you think that that plays out within the healthcare space?

 

Riley Hughes

Yeah, well, this is an important problem for me because I had a family member pass away in the last couple of years due to their the the inability for for, for the doctors to get the right medical information from the the other clinic or health system that they were being treated at and and made, then made mistakes because they didn’t have the information. And so it’s it’s, it’s tragic what you know the the the current state of affairs. In healthcare and and the same thing can be said across the economy in all different industries. And what what I’ll say is that the cool thing about verifiable credentials is that they’re not industry specific. I mean the the ISO mobile drivers license standard is good at doing mobile drivers licenses, as you could imagine, that’s what it was made for. But verifiable credentials is made more as a general. Purpose standard which can be applied across across industries, and so you know, we see things evolving in healthcare as well as you know industrials and logistics as well as employment and HR and and and and education as well as all these other places. So I guess what I’ll say at a high. Level is that there is work. Going on in the healthcare space. But I don’t think you know we’re going to see massive transformation there in the next, you know, year or two. Broadly, I mean, I mean I think we’re seeing innovation happening in small pockets. In the next year or two, for sure. And that’s going to. Continue and grow. But I don’t think the average consumer will have a dramatically different experience in the next couple of years due to due to this stuff in healthcare. Just because things move slowly and as you said, it is high stakes. So you don’t want to just rush things and move fast and break things with people’s healthcare data, so. You want to be really careful about how you roll it out. And that just takes time.

 

Hessie Jones

And so like, it’s still what we’re saying is that if it’s, let’s say, healthcare or even fintech or finance institutions where KYC is a huge deal, especially for every single transaction that goes through the bank there, there is going to be, I guess a level of adoption that’s going to be fragmented across. Industries, I would assume. So, from your perspective, so like I think everything is regardless of what tech that that’s being developed is moving towards some kind of standard of. Trust and safety, right? And if we can’t even solve some of the things today that are happening on the web but that we had discussed earlier with fake accounts and impersonations, all that stuff. How do you see things changing, let’s say in the next decade, because everything has to be fixed, but they have to do it? In log, right?

 

Riley Hughes

Well, here’s the thing. We can solve most of those problems. The reason that they’re not solved is because it is a economically challenging and B user experience wise, not ideal. So imagine like take a fake account on dating apps to take people’s data and scam people whatever. Well, if we use that. As an. Example, why doesn’t the dating app just verify the identities of everybody who’s on? Reporting they don’t need to share the true identity if they don’t want to, right? You can still have a pseudonym or. Or you can you know the the question of what is shared publicly or whatever is a different question. But the ability to verify the identities of people onboarding is absolutely a possibility. Today. They could totally stop all the bots, all the fake accounts, all the scammers. Right now, if they did that. The problem is that it’s going to cost them. You know $2.00 a person. And it’s gonna and and it has to. Send people through. This two to four minute flow of going to find their ID out of the, you know, go fish it out of their person. Into the room. And then bring it back and hold it. And then, oh, there’s a glare on the camera. And so now let’s change the lighting. And then you take the selfie. And now it’s under manual review. And I have to wait for too many, you know, the so. So the user experience of doing that is is not ideal. Nor is are the economics. However, if you have reusable ID’s right? Once you do that. Kind of crappy process once. Now it becomes much, much, much much much easier to to to to get that strong verification done because it’s as simple as. Apple Pay or something, right? It’s as simple as, you know, the simplest experiences that we have right now to share, to share data about ourselves. So basically the the cost and the friction drop an order of magnitude. And So what it means is that we can solve a lot of those problems that that you’re describing. I think that the fundamental, there’s just a fundamental infrastructure. Problem that we’re grappling with, which is this identity infrastructure and as you can tell, I’m really passionate about solving that. And I think I think. We we are making headway in solving that and once that’s solved, we can make headway on a lot of other things, including something that I’m really passionate about, especially in 2024, which is content authenticity, right? How do you know whether a person was behind this piece of art or this photograph or this, whatever, or or whether it was created by an AI? Elections and with you know, everything that’s going on in the world, that’s just going to be super critical. But you can’t do it unless you fundamentally have solved the identity problem that is at the root of. Content creation, so I I’m optimistic that we’ll see major progress in 2024, but. Yeah, anyway.

 

Hessie Jones

It’ll be so my. So my question to. You is that? Other sectors of industries that are adopting digital identity much faster than others, and if so, can you give us an example of clients that are that are doing this effectively?

 

Riley Hughes

Yeah, I think at a high level, the concept of a verifiable credential, we’ve already talked about, it’s the idea that I can basically do what we do in the real world, but digitally, right? I can get a digitally native credential that is. Provably from a trustworthy source. OK. And then when I share it, I can I can prove that it actually came from that source and it was actually just issued to me and all of that, right, so. What that does is it means that you know there’s a lot of businesses right now that are intermediaries or data aggregators. If you think about a, a, a credit Bureau for example, they just get data from your bank and they aggregate that data and then they sell it to. Other people but. If your bank just gives you that data directly, then you can be your own aggregator of data and it disintermediated the credit Bureau or or or whatever. The same thing happens with identity verification companies with background check companies with employment verification companies and education verification companies right there. There are lots of companies that that intermediate these kind of trusted. And in a world of verifiable credentials. That is disruptive to them. And so ironically, well, I guess not, ironically, smartly, we’re seeing those kinds of companies adopt first, right. They want to get out ahead, they want to disrupt themselves before they get disrupted. And so. So I think there’s a lot of companies in those types of industries that are moving the fastest because it’s frankly existential for them. In terms of sectors, I think travel is a sector that we’re seeing quite a bit in healthcare, not not as much healthcare on the consumer side, but more healthcare on the enterprise side in terms of staffing or in terms of insurance reconciliations and and and B2B. Use cases around the supply chain of pharmaceuticals. For example, there there are lots and lots and lots of niche places where we’re seeing digital identity being adopted. But I think if I had to say a single category, it would be the the category of companies who who, who are mitigating disruptive tendencies of verifiable credentials by taking action themselves.

 

Hessie Jones

OK, there’s a lot to unpack there, there. Honestly. There everything that you said here like from the perspective of even where we evolve to in the next five years. Is it it’ll? Be it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays together, especially with the these large LM stuff, so I think that’s all we have time for today, so. Thank you Riley, for joining. And helping me and level this fascinating topic, especially now that you know, data privacy continues to be a lot more pronounced today and could digital identity be something that could work in lockstep with how things evolve. So thank you for joining us. If you are in our audience, have any specific topics that you want us to cover, please e-mail us at communications@altitudeaccelerator.com. We are Tech Uncensored is created by Altitude Accelerator. It’s also available wherever you get your. Podcasts. So I thank. Everyone for joining us today and until next time, have fun and stay safe.

 

Riley Hughes

Thank you.

Host Information
Hessie Jones

Hessie Jones is an Author, Strategist, Investor and Data Privacy Practitioner, advocating for human-centred AI, education and the ethical distribution of AI in this era of transformation. 

She currently serves as the Innovations Manager at Altitude Accelerator. She provides the necessary support for Altitude Accelerator’s programs including Incubator and Investor Readiness. She will be the liaison among key stakeholders to provide operational support and ultimately drive founder success. 

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