Identity, Environment and Saving Music

Off the Blocks | Vol 100, February 4, 2020

At Proteum, we partner with entrepreneurs to develop and deploy innovative products and solutions built around blockchain technology - advising them on building sustainable companies in a rapidly changing investment, regulatory and tech landscape. We are industry and sector agnostic.

Creating a Robust Digital Identity

Our digital, physical and virtual identities are all intertwined and are fast converging into the ecosystem of the mobile devices we use to conduct our business. In today’s digitally transformed social and business environment, it is possible to connect with friends and family across the globe, interact with as many applications as one can imagine, or enjoy tailor-made virtually immersive experiences that would have been impossible a decade ago. However, the access point for these interactions relies heavily on multiple identities and their verification even prior to accessing the digital highway. Identity is critical as we identify ourselves to the devices we use. These devices, in turn, identify themselves to the networks and various combinations of these are necessary to conduct transactions across the network. However, digital identities cast long shadows.

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As we have worked through the complications of making a digital identity work, we have learned the profound implications of a digital identity.

First and foremost, who owns the digital identity? Is it the physical person or the platform that generated the identity? If the latter, can the identity be transferred to the person at any later stage? While the answers to these questions are somewhat complicated, it is clear that the purpose of the identity should be broad enough to be able to store most (if not all) elements of our digital presence. Further, each of us needs an identity that is individually owned and controlled, is private and securely stored and accessed. Such an identity can then be seamlessly integrated into our lives, with commercial interests that we pursue and give us complete control over how our identity data is accessed and used. Sometime in the future, a digital identity can and will be used to revoke access to rogue elements and applications that compromise online presence.

One framework proposed by Microsoft looks at how such an identity can be implemented. To deliver on these promises, they identified a technical foundation made up of seven key innovations—most notably, identifiers that are owned by the user, a user agent to manage keys associated with such identifiers, and encrypted, user-controlled datastores.

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DIDs are user-generated, selfowned, globally unique identifiers rooted in decentralized systems. They possess unique characteristics, like greater assurance of immutability, censorship resistance, and tamper evasiveness. These are critical attributes for any ID system that is intended to provide self-ownership and user control.

One of the most common misinterpretations of a decentralized ID is that all identifiers are accessible on a public blockchain. This is far from the truth if implemented properly. A user’s personally identifiable data (PII) should ideally reside off-chain and under the sole control of the user in an encrypted format. However, metadata regarding the non-PII information and public key infrastructure to enable routing and authentication for the identity can remain on-chain.

In this brave new world, a DID can be created by anyone and may lack trust. In order to gain legitimacy, DIDs will require endorsements from existing trust providers and processes, like businesses, educational institutions, and governments. Identity systems based on decentralization must provide an independent, transparent and always available mechanism to verify endorsements issued to the identity (and by extension identity holder). As a result, over a period of time, by accumulating such endorsements from multiple trust systems, a DID can establish trust in itself as it identifies its risk to any application or service that it seeks to access.

Now some significant news from the world this week:

  1. Tech | Key Milestone’ for Hyperledger as Fabric Blockchain Platform Reaches 2.0 Release: Enterprise blockchain project Hyperledger has released the most significant update of its DLT framework Fabric since launch in July 2017. The Hyperledger Foundation announced Thursday that Fabric 2.0 is designed to improve the usability and performance for the end-user, with updates including new features such as decentralized governance for smart contracts and several enhancements for handling and sharing private data on the platform. Thomas Bohner, VP of blockchain at fintech firm IntellectEU, said the release’s new privacy features would help “drive adoption for our clients on the financial services industry.” [… Read More on Yahoo! Finance]

  2. Environment | Mercedes-Benz Pilots Blockchain Project to Track Emissions throughout Supply Chain: Mercedes-Benz, a division of Daimler, is conducting a pilot project that will use blockchain to track CO2 emissions and secondary material along the complex supply chains of its battery cell manufacturers. The company says the data network will also document whether the sustainability standards of Daimler are passed on throughout the entire supply chain. The company is working with Circulor, a startup specializing in blockchain technology. The project will focus on a single battery cell manufacturer. Mercedes-Benz is working on a fleet of carbon-neutral cars to launch in less than 20 years, which requires detailed knowledge of processes throughout its entire supply chain. [… Read More on Environmental Leader]

  3. India | Indian Govt Policy Thinktank Releases National Blockchain Strategy: A policy think tank of the Indian government, NITI Aayog, has released its national blockchain policy draft paper dubbed “Blockchain — The India Strategy” which explains different use cases of blockchain in India along with some conclusions from ongoing pilot projects. 

    Government should pay special attention to the decentralized network where peer-to-peer transactions can create more socio-economic value. If state entity is there just to ledger maintenance and not adding some value then we can relook the role of government.

    [… Read More on CoinTelegraph]

  4. Fintech | French Payment Giants Ingenico and Worldline Merge: French fintech companies Ingenico and Worldline are set to merge. The €7.8 billion ($8.6 billion) buyout deal was accepted by shareholders of the companies, both of which had previous exposure to crypto. Worldline provides a large variety of services ranging from Point of Sale terminals, online merchant services to e-ticketing and fleet management systems. Ingenico is primarily known for its Point of Sale devices despite major diversification efforts. In November 2019, Ingenico had partnered with Pundi X, a project developing crypto-friendly Point of Sale devices. The crypto project used one of Ingenico’s devices to offer payments in major cryptocurrencies via its software. In August, Ingenico was one of the collaborators in an Austrian initiative to accept cryptocurrencies in several telecom stores. [… Read More on CoinTelegraph]

  5. Payments | Bitcoin Usage Among Merchants Is Up, According to Data From Coinbase and BitPay: According to BitPay Chief Marketing Officer Bill Zielke, the payment processor facilitated $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency transactions in 2019, with bitcoin leading the pack. Likewise, a Coinbase spokesperson said Coinbase Commerce processed $135 million worth of cryptocurrency payments for thousands of merchants in 2019, which represents a 600 percent increase in the number of unique transactions via Coinbase Commerce since 2018. For broader context, BitPay’s Zielke said Europe and the Middle East are generally home to the most high-value merchant transactions, while there are more North American shoppers in terms of unique transactions. In the meantime, Daumas prefers to simply transfer the bitcoin earnings to a hardware wallet and hodl. [… Read More on Coindesk]

The Final Word | 17 Blockchain Music Companies Reshaping A Troubled Industry

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Did Napster kill the music industry? Depends on who you ask. Some will say yes, while others will argue the revolution of peer-to-peer music sharing platforms was an inevitable byproduct of technology (a.k.a., the times they are a changin').

One thing's for sure — Napster fundamentally changed the music business, created moral and monetization problems of which we’ve not yet seen the end.

Kurt Loder, former MTV News anchor

One technology has the promising potential to ease the industry's woes: blockchain. Artists like Lupe Fiasco, Gramatik and Pitbull have advocated for decentralized technologies in music, and proponents champion blockchain's distributed ledger technology as a way to efficiently release music, streamline royalty payments, eliminate expensive middlemen and establish a point of origin for music creators. Which is to say blockchain can re-establish the way music is produced, bought, sold, listened to and managed in a fair and transparent way. [… Read More on Built In]

About Proteum
Proteum is a global blockchain investment and advisory firm that works with public, private and start-up companies to help them transition into the world of blockchains and decentralized applications. We help companies strategically build their ecosystem and unique capabilities so that they can own and control their future. ProteumX, our accelerator program, invests in and accelerates the time to market for startups and emerging ideas based on blockchain solutions. |  | Twitter: @proteumio | ProteumX