Spotlight: Geoffrey Emerson from Decentralized ID - Shaping ID security and privacy using Blockchain
Surrounded by the throng of city life at his local park in Sydney, I start my interview with Geoffrey Emerson, Director of Communications of Decentralized ID. He describes in detail the innovations his team are building on the ERC20 token. Decentralized ID or (DID) aims to free us from the shaky trust issues we have when we transact online. There is more to it than that but that alone makes sense to me when, more often than I'd like, I read headlines about the next phishing scam or MITM attack.
"The 'why' of DID is to give you control of your identity... to give you control of your metadata. Importantly, we want to bring trust back to the blockchain, so that you know who you're talking to, that there are no man-in-the-middle attacks...so there are secure transactions and you're not going to get phished and taken advantage of."
Geoffrey spends the next 45 minutes laying out the concept in greater detail. As I started to hear more about Decentralized ID it dawned on me that, as a crypto enthusiast, this project had legs, and yet it had slipped under the radar for me. That said, I'm a slave to my news feeds, Twitter feeds, Facebook and YouTube. I, like most investors am looking for the next Kyber or Ethereum but the space has changed so much in just one year, where now we are seeing initial coin offering's gain 20,000+ Telegram members based on hype. Not to say that there is no merit in those projects, only that there is a shift in how caught up investors are in the ICO whirlwind we are in now. In short, if a project slips under the radar, it now, to a greater degree, has my attention. But I digress...
Who would want to utilise this token? Think of any interaction or transaction that needs ID verification - institutions such as government, and banks; businesses such as e-commerce sites, moneygrams or simply accessing a secured physical space. To break it down even more, one could digitize ID and select what they wish to share from just your name, age, address or full anonymity in any given transaction or interaction.
"Currently in NSW, Australia, they are running a digital driver's licence challenge. You don't carry your licence anymore, you carry it on your phone and you can select which aspect of your ID you want to share."
Identity protection is incredibly relevant in light of the recent CoinCheck exchange hack in Japan which saw $500 Million of the NEM cryptocurrency stolen. Mr Emerson claims that Decentralized ID would have prevented that hack, otherwise known as a MITM (man in the middle attack) "...where the hackers spoofed the DNS, directed traffic to the copy site and stole people's money. With BOCA that can't happen because they wouldn't have the certificates... it wouldn't matter if they [hackers] pointed to another site, it wouldn't authenticate." BOCA or blockchain originated certificate of authenticity is the SSL certificate of the Decentralized world. It's the key to your ID.
Talk of teams is a tad important in crypto projects and Decentralized ID has had its share of criticism in this regard, specifically the team's experience in the identification/cryptography sector. With public knowledge about tokens becoming more sophisticated and analysis and metrics creating standards of excellence based on key categories like the token price, supply, working prototype and namely the team and advisors, it is no surprise that some projects fall by the wayside simply because they fail to meet someone's particular standards. Mr Emerson noted that the team may not be known for ID experience however they have significant experience in writing code and developing security protocols which they are fully transparent about.
Sheikh Abdullah Naveed leads all aspects of the development as the veteran coder with expertise and experience spanning decades, credited for coding/writing Pakistan's ad server. In terms of coding security and custom frameworks, his background is proven. With that said, there are no pretensions to be made and the proof is in the work being done.
Mr Emerson explains that there is a clear line of work that is being done by the Decentralized foundation leading from ICO to achieving partnerships, building adoption and implementing the utility.
"...once it gets picked up by a government to trial, all of a sudden you've got a country using BOCA, that's a huge adoption... and the adoption rate will dictate the price."
Token supply is an unavoidable metric and it rightfully has its shining moment here. 20 billion tokens upon initial launch at phase 1 of the ICO sounds like a high figure but the good news is that Decentralized ID is burning unpurchased tokens, currently in phase 3 sitting at 13 billion total supply. Coin burns are welcome news to one and all.
What about a prototype or working product? We've seen projects without products launch in crypto and 10x in price post ICO yet ICOs with a prototype get even more attention since the potential is more apparent. Decentralized ID has software at the beta stage and an app in the works. We have some exclusive news to On the Ground; the app will launch with a beta testing program, where a beta tester can instantly win Ethereum by using DIDs to login to a digital roulette wheel for a chance to win.
As we started to wrap up the interview probably the most important news of all is the token innovation embedded in the code. A process called 'harvesting' which simply put allows the token to hibernate or fold in on itself thus avoid being burnt or spent. This is a new function of ERC20 tokens and possibly another exclusive aspect of DID. Harvesting allows stability of the token supply during adoption since it is a utility token for ID functionality it makes sense that they are not spent like currency. This aspect of the token won't be functional for at least one year during the partnership and adoption phase of the roadmap.
Some key figures: current price of $0.0019 per token, a total supply of 13 billion. A $1000 investment would snap up 526,315 tokens. If the token were to achieve just $0.1 that's 50x the initial investment. Of course, no guarantees in life and the market will dictate the price based on the project's progress.
I'll leave off with Geoffrey's last words which resonated well with me on what he and his team are working to achieve with DID....
"The reason why the idea exists, it's a cosmopolitan nonhomogeneous world out there...we all want our identity and privacy, we want to live our lives happy and peacefully...without being hacked, without having our rights violated...so that's what we're here to do, to facilitate the wellbeing of people."
You can learn more at the official Decentralized ID website
and visit their ICO portal to participate in the token sale but be quick as it's in the final phase.
Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor and this is not financial or investment advice. Nothing in this blog article should be relied upon as such. This content is the writer's personal opinions and interview excerpts / materials and should not be taken as advice of any kind.