Spaceman ID brings Self-Sovereign Identity to All
Self-Sovereign Identity Incubator Startup Headed to Demo Day
In September 2019, the Self-Sovereign Identity Incubator (SSI Incubator) announced the selection of five teams from around the world to participate in the inaugural cohort of the new technology incubator. The teams that were selected were those that showed the most advanced and clearly articulated products and services incorporating true self-sovereign identity (SSI) principals. SSI is a new type of decentralized identity affording you — the person — the ultimate control, privacy, and security over your own digital data. Teams participating in the SSI Incubator agreed to come to San Francisco for the intensive 12-week program focused specifically on the development of their SSI products and services. Immersing themselves in the world of identity, teams participated in numerous events and workshops, learning not just about one type of decentralized network or system, but gained valuable insight and introductions across the full decentralized identity landscape.
One of the teams that was selected for the Fall 2019 cohort was Spaceman ID, an Identity as a Service company offering a set of products that makes SSI easy to implement. After spending years as a blockchain consulting company, the team at Spaceman ID discovered the promise of SSI and started building solutions to provide off-the-shelf components for anyone looking to implement SSI solutions and systems, thus reducing the initial SSI learning curve typically associated with this new technology.
We caught up with Jacob Frey, Co-Founder at Spaceman ID, currently working to launch the team’s newest services — an API and SSI wallet for non-smartphone owners. By removing the blocker of owning and operating a smartphone, Spaceman ID hopes to offer SSI products and solutions to a greater subset of the world’s population.
Sovrin: Thank you again for making time to answer our questions. Can you please tell us a bit about Spaceman ID? Who makes up your team? How did you meet? What about your backgrounds brought you together?
Jacob Frey: Of course, happy to spend the time with Sovrin! Spaceman ID is a new Identity as a Service player offering a set of products that makes SSI easy to implement. We enable our customers to easily implement an SSI identity management system by solving the technical complexities with our products. We are focused on the B2B2C market.
As a tech company, it is important that our tech team is our strength, and with Dev Bharel, Co-Founder, and Alexis Falquier, Co-Founder, that is a reality for us!
Dev met Alexis at a hackathon and was incredibly impressed by his technical knowledge and ability to grind through the early morning hours at the event. Dev and I were both working for the same boutique consulting firm at that time, Nussbaumer Projects, and the three of us started working on some projects there.
Our team is one of our biggest strengths as we have been working together for a little over two years and bring diverse skills to the group. Out of Nussbaumer Projects, we created Spaceman Holdings, our previous venture, which was a blockchain consulting group. We had an engagement to build a Proof of Concept for a Real Estate company, MRED, hoping to implement SSI. We were frustrated with the lack of off-the-shelf components that exist to implement SSI and had to implement a difficult tech stack just to implement basic identity. We started building our solution, so we could provide off-the-shelf components to anyone who’s excited about SSI and wants to start using it straight away.
Sovrin: What motivated you to begin work in decentralized identity? What about this technology and self-sovereign identity made you think of integrating it into your work? Describe your ideal customer?
JF: Our project for MRED really launched our company’s path into decentralized identity; however, as mentioned before, Dev has been in the space for a while and always wanted to get back into the identity world in some manner. Through market research and being connected to resources in the SSI community, we saw quick growth in a few companies and foundations but saw a large gap in enabling technology.
Our idea at Spaceman ID is to be the integration engine that enables any and all applications or services to use SSI easily; we see a lot of applications being built but not too many tools being developed. One of the great things about working with tech is not having to reinvent the wheel for each implementation, so we really want to focus on off-the-shelf components that abstract away the complexities of SSI.
We are currently targeting community groups, such as coworking spaces or event meetups, that have membership based perks and screenings because they are prime examples of how SSI isn’t just an improvement over traditional identity but in fact opens new doors which weren’t possible before. We can help these groups remove manual verification processes and give the members of the community even more benefits and ease of use for community perks!
Additionally we are in discussion with a lot of groups working in developing regions of the world because we are building out technology to enable anyone with a phone, regardless if it is a smart phone or not, to interact in the SSI ecosystem.
Sovrin: We are so happy to have you join the Self-Sovereign Identity Incubator. Your passion for bringing this tech directly to developers made you a great fit for the program. What will you demo at the end of the program?
JF: We are currently working on a set of products, Spaceman API and Spaceman Wallets. (check out our technical docuemtnation here)
These two products make up our base offering and allow for users to easily implement an SSI identity system. At demo day, we will be showing off both products from implementation through actual use.
We have multiple benefits for applications/services that implement the Spaceman ID product suite, and one is the ease of implementation and time to onboard users. We also want to showcase our text based wallet interaction product that we are building up to approach the large market of non-smart phone owners in the world. Emerging markets and developing countries are not phoneless, but they do have a majority of phone owners using only feature phones, which creates a barrier for a lot of SSI implementations that rely on smartphone applications to manage wallets.
More than just our MVP, we are currently working to launch our beta product to the public on November 19 and run some promotions around signing up with Spaceman ID’s SMS wallet and interacting with the system. Our goal is to show end users how easy it is to actually sign up and receive a wallet and promote them to interact and see first hand what SSI can bring to them.
If you have a phone near you, you can see for yourself how easy it is by texting the message: “Register <enter a username here> to (619) 359–0376.
Once you get a text back you are a wallet holder and an early adopter of SSI, great work!
If people wanted to learn more about the giveaway, where could they find information?
JF: We have an overview article currently on our Medium that will let people know about the promotion, why we are running it, and links to additional articles to help explain SSI. Our event is called Shoot the Moon.
Making SSI more accessible to developers has great potential to affect multiple industries. How do you think this will influence identity– big picture?
JF: There is no doubt in our heads that SSI has momentum. The market space is projected to grow from about 90.4 million currently to 1.4 billion in 2023 and will be a larger scale technology of the future, and as an identity toolkit, we plan to be an enabler of faster adoption and more widespread affect.1 We are working hard to set up early moving customers for success, but we see real growth in emerging markets and developing countries who will be coming into technological advancement with SSI available and in some cases already in use.
Our vision is to be the standard toolkit for SSI Identity Management and a company that is able to capitalize as a first mover in the space! We plan to start with community services and move towards more enterprise groups and higher regulated industries as the SSI ecosystem grows and the number of wallet holders increases.
Data breaches are not slowing down — 4 billion records stolen in the first half of 2019, so instead of throwing more money at the same system, it is time to invest in a new technology that can help enable better data portability, privacy, and security.2 Spaceman ID will be a group to help companies quickly and easily launch their identity management systems using SSI!