Today cybersecurity firm Avast which has 435 million users, announced it acquired Canadian blockchain identity provider SecureKey. Just four months ago, Avast bought self-sovereign identity provider Evernym. The two identity startups share some elements of common technology. While terms of the deal were not announced, it plans to close the SecureKey transaction this April.
In 2019 SecureKey launched Verified.me in Canada with most of the country’s biggest banks, CIBC, Desjardins, RBC, Scotiabank, TD and others. The objective of Verified.me is to speed up identity checks. If you already have identity credentials with a bank, and someone else wants to confirm who you are, you simply authorize the bank to verify your identity.
Additionally, it rolled out Government Sign-In by Verified.Me for online services. Last October SecureKey sold the exclusive rights to use its intellectual property in Canada to Interac Corp. SecureKey’s solution processes 200 million digital ID transactions annually.
The company worked with IBM to develop the Verfied.Me network. It uses Hyperledger Fabric but is also interoperable with Hyperledger Indy projects. Indy is the open source self-sovereign identity framework based on code originally contributed by Evernym, the other company that Avast acquired.
“We envisage a global and reusable digital identity framework which will underpin a new trust layer for the internet,” said Ondrej Vlcek, CEO, Avast. “It’s clear that digital identity is the critical enabler for many digital services and SecureKey’s success reflects the growing demand for this from consumers.”
“SecureKey is highly complementary to Avast’s prior work in Identity and together we will take our offer to the next level, accelerating innovation and working to establish a user-focused, global approach that aligns user, business, and government propositions.””
While SecureKey has a strong track record in Canada, Avast is eyeing the potential in the European market for eIDAS2.0.
“As the European community is investing in public-private sector digital identity infrastructure in 2022 and beyond, we see Avast well positioned as a collaborative provider of digital trust services for people, digital businesses and government,” said Charles Walton, General Manager and SVP Identity, Avast.
Meanwhile, identity is a vast area, no pun intended. While Avast is exploring identity for everyday activities, numerous cryptocurrency companies have set up an initiative for decentralized identity to be used for KYC in blockchain transactions. Block, Coinbase and Circle are backing the Centre initiative Verite.
And identity applies to both people and things. The IEEE Standards Association is working on a standard for blockchain decentralized identity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The initiative includes Lockheed, Ericsson, Lenovo, Huawei, Bosch, and IoTeX.