Why Google, Amazon, and Facebook Won’t Win the War for Digital Identity
And why we at passbase think a decentralized approach is a necessity
Our team was recently introduced to one of Google’s earliest investors as a potential business angel. He reviewed our company overview and gave us his perspective on the digital identity space:
I don’t see how you have enough moat against Google, MSFT, Amazon, Facebook, etc doing the same thing.
This is a question we hear a lot, so we decided to publish our answer. The question seems to come down to what you believe about the future of the internet more than anything else — That’s what makes it so interesting. Here was our response:
Thank you for your feedback. This comes down to a belief in decentralized ownership of information as a value proposition.
If you’re interested, here is our perspective on why Google, Facebook, Amazon, and MSFT are not well positioned to win the digital identity market:
Google, Facebook, and Amazon have built their business models on collecting data about users in order to optimize their product experiences. Because they have so much data about you, and such wide coverage, this made them the logical owners of your digital identity on the internet as we know it today — where identity is made of accounts & passwords.
There are two trends that make us believe that a decentralized approach for a digital identity is needed:
(1) People are required to provide substantially more sensitive information about themselves online in order to prove their identity (E.g. Biometrics, SSN). This is being pushed by regulated industries such as challenger banks, fintechs, healthcare, and gig economy.
(2) People have begun to lose faith in centralized data architectures, especially ones owned by private companies, for fear of misuse, manipulation, and data leaks. Recent hacks have proven that even big companies are simply not able to securely store our sensitive data (Marriott, Equifax, Uber, Yahoo…). Concerns about Facebook’s influence on the 2016 election also demonstrate the societies anxiety about potential manipulation.
This led us to the conclusion that (1) as people need to provide more sensitive information to web services in order to identify themselves (2) people are going to want to own this sensitive information and give less of it away because they do not trust centralized databases and the companies that control them to protect it.
Our decentralized architecture gives people a way to own their own identity data, control who can see it, and confidently identify themselves to businesses while giving away less information about themselves. We are collecting some of the most sensitive identity information in the world: The information that connects a person’s biometric signature to government id to accounts. Our thesis is that in order to connect all this information it must be structured in a decentralized way.
The burden of proof is on the innovator so, I know we are the ones that need to prove our hypothesis. I am happy more than happy to keep you in the loop as we hopefully prove you wrong and dig our own moat.
Mathias, Felix, and Dave
We can’t blame him for this perspective — he made billions through the aggregation and centralization of data. We would love to hear your thoughts. Where do you think that the future of digital identification lies?
Passbase (www.passbase.com) is building the first self-sovereign identity platform backed by verified government documents, linked social media accounts, and biometric signatures. This allows people to securely & privately share their login credentials and verified government documents with the companies that need them.