SoftBank Eyes Blockchain to Solve Issues With Online Authentication

Feb 26, 2019 at 09:05 UTC
Updated Feb 26, 2019 at 09:12 UTC

Japanese telecom SoftBank is exploring blockchain tech as a way to improve upon current centralized and fragmented ID and authentication services.

The firm announced Tuesday that it has partnered with U.S.-based blockchain startup TBCASoft for the initiative and has created a working group within an existing blockchain consortium of telecom carriers, the Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG).

SoftBank aims to utilize TBCASoft’s application framework, the Cross-Carrier Identification System (CCIS), to enable blockchain-based identification and authentication services.

TBCASoft’s CCIS system uses zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) cryptography and distributed ledger technology (DLT) that enables the issuing, storing and authentication of users’ identification in a private and secure way, SoftBank said.

The effort aims to address the problems that users of current identification and verification services need to place trust in a centralized organization, and must disclose their personal data to multiple entities which is stored on different internet databases.

The CCIS system can give users “freedom from creating multiple accounts and remembering countless passwords to protect their personal information from identity theft,” the company said.

SoftBank vice president Takeshi Fukuizumi explained:

“We envision that individuals should create encrypted digital identities, instead of using and storing multiple usernames and passwords on databases here and there with various qualities of privacy protection. We have been working with TBCASoft on solving identification and authentication problems, and have an answer with CCIS.”

TBCASoft and SoftBank are also looking to collaborate with other telecom operators under the CBSG consortium for the initiative.

The CBSG consortium was launched back in September 2017, with other major operators including U.S.-based carrier Sprint and one of Taiwan’s largest telecom operators FarEasTone. The consortium has already successfully tested blockchain systems for mobile payments and topping up prepaid phones across different carriers using TBCASoft’s platform.

Similarly, SoftBank and TBCASoft previously worked with with Nasdaq-listed Synchronoss Technologies to complete a blockchain proof-of-concept that allows peer-to-peer mobile payments across different carriers.

SoftBank store image via Shutterstock 

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