Blockchain identity startup Civic has launched a decentralized verification system – and a social media platform for the crypto community is already moving to adopt it.
Dubbed "ID Codes," the mechanism has been integrated with the website of Hilo, a social network platform for both experienced cryptocurrency traders and "newbies" that, when launched, will provide information on crypto tokens and prices.
According to Civic, ID Codes provide users and institutions with an independent way to authenticate their identity for social media profiles, company profiles and more. After users undergo verification by submitting a selfie and scans of their driver's license and passport, the company provides them with a unique link and verified profile that is then encoded on Civic's network.
CEO Vinny Lingham told CoinDesk in an interview that Civic is attempting to resolve what he considers to be the problematic notion that anonymity is a good thing.
"It's not always needed and not always necessary. And in fact, it's actually dangerous for people because they lose money," he said – through giveaway scams, for example.
First conceptualized over a year ago, the development of the verification technology was prompted by the proliferation of fraud and scams in the cryptocurrency industry, particularly with initial coin offerings (ICOs) or token sales.
One common scheme Civic hopes to prevent, in particular, is the false listing of top industry executives as advisors on scam ICO websites – something of which Lingham himself has been a victim.
It's this use case, in part, that motivated Hilo to adopt the technology.
"Why we're excited about Civic ID Codes to start off with is it allows us to authenticate our team members, our investors and our advisors on our website," Hilo founder and CEO Monica Puchner told CoinDesk.
She went on to say:
"As we release to a global community, that's kind of the first level point of contact that people will have with our website. So, being able to authenticate our investors and advisors is very paramount and important for us."
Although still in beta, Hilo will also use Civic's technology to validate its users' identities. While they will not be required to use the service, users who do not undergo the verification process will be unable to comment on the site and reap any rewards. Puchner estimates that this will mitigate the issues with bots and trolls faced by social platforms like Twitter.
"We think that having that level of transparency and authenticating users at login is very important to kind of get away from the trolling experience and the bad behavior that is surrounding other sites," she said.
Lingham said Civic plans to fully roll out ID Codes in the third quarter of this year. The technology will be free for users, but businesses will have to pay to use the service.
In the short term, however, the company is giving businesses more than 100,000 tokens raised through its $30 million ICO held in 2017.
"That subsidizes the cost of operating the network because these tokens effectively pay for whatever they would normally pay out of pocket for," Lingham said.
He thinks moving quickly is critical to being successful in the industry, and he has wasted no time finding other partners. Lingham said 60 to 70 businesses have committed to using ID Codes, and he also expects the companies he advises to adopt the technology.
"If you see me listed as an advisor somewhere and you don't see the ID Code in probably the next month or two, you should probably double-check that, because I'm going to make sure all my companies start using it," he said.
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