Blockchain-based ID verification system goes live in Canada

Five Canadian Banks Employ SecureKey Blockchain System to Identify Users

Five Canadian banks will be employing a blockchain-based user identification system developed by tech startup SecureKey Technologies. This is considered a major milestone in the management of ID in banking for Canada.

Canadian startup SecureKey utilizes IBM’s blockchain technology, enabling consumers to prove their identity using cellphones and Windows devices to governments, banks and telecom providers.

This means Canada is making a big leap in modernizing identity verification, tapping blockchain technology to let consumers digitally prove who they are to securely access banking and other personal services.

Verified.Me, developed by Toronto-based SecureKey Technologies Inc, allows individuals to provide proof of their identity, using the information they’ve already provided to their financial institutions and launched in early May, 2019 according to LinkedIn. You can download the app here.

The new service, called Verified.me, boasts investments from all major Canadian banks including Scotiabank and RBC. According to the Financial Post, the system runs on a private blockchain and does not track your location despite having a lot of your financial data.

Developers hope Verified.me will be used for a range of functions and are eyeing the inclusion of facial recognition for future updates to the service. While it’s not China level tech, it’s interesting to see a local Canadian startup partner with Canadian banks.

The system works at

  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank
  • Bank of Nova Scotia
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
  • Desjardins Group, and is coming soon to Bank of Montreal and National Bank of Canada. Sun Life Financial Inc. also signed on to be the first North American insurer on the service, according to Bloomberg.

Blockchain Based ID Systems

So it’s rather interesting to see how digital ID systems will evolve. Basically once you have a Verified.me account tied to your bank account, you can link to other services — and instantly prove you are who you say you are.

In the long run that could include applying for a mortgage, renting an apartment or obtaining a driver’s licence. Eventually facial recognition will be part of the service.

The network is built on collaboration between banks, telecom firms and credit agencies. With this sort of blockchian based solution, consumers are going to be able to share their data in a secure and trusted way, which they never really could before.

Users download the app and give their consent to allow connections, such as banks, to share encrypted personal information about them with third parties in real-time. No data is held within the app.

Built on top of IBM technology, Verified.Me is described as a “holistic approach” to digital identity that protects the interests of both consumers and businesses.

The ID system was first announced back in in March 2017, where the company explained that the IBM Blockchain tech is built on top of the open-source Hyperledger Fabric v1.0 platform.

SecureKey is also a solution to ensure the safety of consumers against cybersecurity threats. Greg Wolfond (listen to him above), founder and CEO, SecureKey Technologies, says this is the first time that consumers are able to gain greater control over their digital identities — one of the most enduring challenges of our time.

Building Trusted Identity Networks

SecureKey is says it’s a leading identity and authentication provider that simplifies consumer access to online services and applications.

  • SecureKey’s next generation privacy-enhancing services enable consumers to conveniently and privately assert identity information using trusted providers.
  • This means connecting to providers such as banks, telcos and governments, helping them connect to critical online services with a digital credential they already have and trust, while ensuring that information is only ever shared with explicit user consent.

Is this the beginning of users having more control over our personal data? Blockchain implementing new identity system architectures are just beginning in 2019.