Looking back on 2019: Identity, blockchain and Verified.Me

It feels like it wasn’t that long ago that we all imagined 2020 would be one of those years far in the future when everyone would have a sort of robotic personal assistant, microchip implants or flying cars. Well, the first electric “flying” vehicle is scheduled to be tested next year by ride-sharing giant Uber, and AI personal assistants and microchip implants are a reality.  

What I imagined the future would look like revolved around technology serving humanity and helping solve societal problems. We’ve seen examples of technology, like blockchain, being used to enable digital commerce while also fighting corruption, deterring fraud and, mostly importantly to me, solving problems with today’s identity landscape. 

Identity-related digital fraud is one of the direst challenges with today’s digital economy. Whether it’s trouble with credit card fraud, data breaches of varying sizes, the advent and rise of SIM swapping fraud or identity theft, bad actors are becoming increasingly sophisticated at stealing our data through innumerable channels. Just last year, over five billion records were exposed through at least 6,515 publicly reported data breaches. In Canada, CPA Canada’s 2019 Annual Fraud Study(1) found that 70 per cent of Canadians are more concerned about fraud today than they were five years ago, 86 per cent are familiar with identity theft and credit card fraud and almost 80 per cent have experienced email and telemarketing fraud. 

Think this doesn’t have an impact on your personal life? Take a quick visit to Troy Hunt’s haveibeenpwned.com to see where your email address has been publicly leaked in reported breaches, the vast majority of which occured in the latter half of this decade. 

These concerning stats serve to both scare and encourage us to continue to develop solutions that protect people’s data. From conversations around FaceApp’s face-aging filter opening the door to hackers to stories about how people still write their passwords on a piece of paper, it’s clear there’s still lots to be done to mitigate risk. We believe that taking care of personal data should be a combined effort between users and technology providers – and we look forward to doing our part at SecureKey. 

My vision for 2020 is seeing blockchain reach its full potential in helping participants in the world’s digital economy arm themselves against bad actors. My vision is to solve the problems of today’s identity landscape and help consumers – and their data – move forward into the next decade with greater privacy, security and consent-driven tools at their fingertips. 

My personal goal is to move beyond society’s justified milieu of fear and frustration toward online services, instead making online service delivery trustworthy and cost effective. I want to grow online transactions for business while also making it simpler, more convenient and respectful of privacy for all of us who want to do more online.

In the last year, there were a number of important milestones, amazing advancements and new use cases of blockchain technology:

2019’s milestones in blockchain (2)

January

  • Blockchain-based Bitcoin turned 10 years old
  • Coinstar machines begin selling cryptocurrency at grocery stores across the US

February

  • Ethereum’s Constantinople hard fork is released, part two of Metropolis
  • Parliament of Canada Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics holds hearings on what can be done to better protect Canadians online with emerging technologies like AI and blockchain

April 

  • Bitcoin surpasses 400 million total transactions

May:

  • SecureKey and Canada’s major financial institutions launched blockchain-based network Verified.Me in Canada

June 

  • Daily Ethereum transactions surpass one million

June

  • Facebook announces Libra

July 

  • United States Senate holds hearings titled “Examining Regulatory Frameworks for Digital Currencies and Blockchain”

August 

  • Ethereum developer dominance reaches 4x that of any other blockchain

September 

  • Santander bank settles both sides of a $20 million bond on Ethereum

October

  • Block.One fined $24 million by the SEC for its unregulated $4 billion EOS ICO
  • Over 80 million distinct Ethereum addresses created

November 

  • Over 3000 Dapps created. Of them, 2700 are built on Ethereum
  • Amount of Ether locked in Decentralized Finance apps reaches all time high of 2.7 million ETH

Register for Hyperledger 2020 to absorb everything you can about blockchain, how it’s being used and how it will impact our day to day lives. Join our CTO, Dmitry Barinov, during his speaking sessions as he explores building a new standard for trust using Hyperledger.

Looking for tickets? Readers can take advantage of a special promotional offer and receive 20% off your general ticket. Visit Hyperledger Global Forum’s website https://events19.linuxfoundation.org/events/hyperledger-global-forum-2020/register/ and entire the code HGF20SEC

We look forward to seeing you there – and seeing what the future of digital identity, blockchain and tech holds for all of us.

(1) CPA Canada 2019 Annual Fraud Study: https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/the-cpa-profession/about-cpa-canada/media-centre/2019/february/canadians-express-strong-concerns-about-fraud-cpa-canada-survey

(2) Taken from Consensys’ “The Decade in Blockchain – 2010 to 2020 in Review”

Cover image: Image by Schwoaze from Pixabay