Money 20/20 Recap: 2019 will be the year of digital identity

Left to right: globaliD co-founder CEO Greg Kidd, Ben Milne (CEO/founder Dwolla), and Brendan Miller (Principal Analyst, Forrester) at Money 20/20

That is perhaps the biggest takeaway from our fruitful trip to Money 20/20 the other week in Las Vegas.

the most influential fintech conference of the year here in the US served as the perfect validation for the work we’re doing here at globaliD — where self-sovereign digital identity served as a leading conversation.

As our co-founder and CEO Greg Kidd noted, “It was one of the best talked about topics at the conference.”

More than that, we heard speakers and panelists repeating terms we coined in our whitepaper — ”attestations,” for instance. Indeed, it wasn’t just that the industry agreed that the status quo required a new approach, there seemed to be a general consensus on what that approach might look like.

It’s an approach that sounds a lot like the globaliD framework we’ve been describing for the past year.

A convergence of social, cultural, political, and technological forces as fertilized the soil just right — from fake news to election meddling to billions of dollars worth of security breaches to privacy to the billions of underbanked to blockchain to biometrics to peak smartphone.

Facebook is great. It’s a fun distraction. But as an identity framework? Comeon.

As evolving digital citizens, we expect and demand more. Because we’re beginning to understand what’s possible. And at Money 20/20 this year, we’ve learned that the industry at large seems to agree.

Digital identity’s time is now.

For globaliD, this culminated in a panel on Tuesday featuring Greg alongside Dwolla founder and CEO Ben Milne — two of the leading players in digital identity and digital payments — to discuss their ongoing partnership. Identity and payments that truly exist natively on the Internet will serve as the fundamental building blocks for a new chapter in the Web’s history — unleashing the social and economic potential of people all over the world.

We’ll be discussing the finer details of this partnership in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned.

Some key takeaways from Money 20/20:

-Money 20/20 is often a “buzzy” conference, and the buzz last year was around crypto and blockchain. So this year was a bit peculiar in that it was far less buzzy. Rather, it was focused on real topical fintech issues.

-Despite that — and in part due to the topical focus — identity played heavily into being one of the big themes at the conference — commanding its own, full-day speaker track on the conference’s opening day.

-There was a general consensus around the idea that the current identity status quo is lacking and that there is immense potential to do identity in a different way. More importantly, the audience was very receptive to this point — at times laughing and cheering during David Birch’s introduction to the day’s first panel. (David is Director of Innovation at Consult Hyperion.)

-There also seemed to be a bit of consensus around what that framework might look like. As you might have guessed, it looks a lot like the GID framework — and there were multiple speakers and panels who more or less echoed that perspective. Including ideas such as self sovereign identity, portability, and attestations.

-In fact, there were plenty of speakers and panelists repeating globaliD coined terms like “attestations” — including Vinny Lingham of Civic.

-Validation is great, but challenges remain. As our globaliD SVP of Products Taku pointed out, referencing a joke during David’s intro: “Consumers do not want to deal with identity or sensitive info/they want banks to deal with it and sue them if they screw it up.” In other words, the onus is on us to deliver a product that is not only easy and convenient, but adds real value for end users.

-It’s also about addressing specific customer pain points. One great point Ben made during his panel with Greg is that having the sort of streamlined identity approach globaliD delivers helps with business side automation efforts. (And as one panel including four major retailers noted, the primary two areas of focus for new technology and IT investments are security and automation.)

-In all, the sense was that people “got it” this year. Which only sets the stage for digital identity and globaliD to have an even bigger presence at Money 20/20 in a year’s time. See you then!