Top Crypto Company Coinbase Plans a Year-Long Identity Experiment

December 7, 2018
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Top Crypto Company Coinbase Plans a Year-Long Identity Experiment

The largest crypto exchange in the United States and one of the largest players in the industry, Coinbase, is now experimenting with new ways to let the users control their information better. At the moment, Coinbase has 17 people explored decentralized identity solutions to be used in the company later.

According to B. Byrne, the product manager of the company’s identity team, the main objective is to help people to own more of their online information and “own more of who they are online”. He has been interviewed by Coindesk and affirmed that they are looking at their customers to understand them better.

He believes that the best way to work around the issues of online identity and information is to identify small segments of users who could get real value by handling their ID online. This would include also changing the process of how Coinbase stores and collects Know Your Customer (KYC) information and how it deals with it across its many platforms.

A Year-Long Experiment

Byrne affirms that the company will take 2019 to search answers for this and develop the proper solutions. According to him, it will all be part of a year-long experiment that will not have an immediate impact on the consumers of the company but that will help them later when the experiment is done.

He added that they think it is important to develop this kind of tools so the company will considerably focus a lot on this. According to Byrne, his team is talking to some projects which already have experience with decentralized identity solutions like W3C Credentials Community Group.

The people from this company are developing decentralized solutions that can be used to manage the identity of people while letting they own it.

While the company considers this to be an important development, it is important to note that Coinbase could be making more of an effort to help. Emilie Choi, the VP of corporate business development of the company, has affirmed that the company will not invest a lot in this department in 2019.

The main concern that Coinbase has is that the whole issue is very academic and they are eager to see solutions that can help with the customers. Solutions will probably be achieved in time, but it seems like the company is not too eager to bet during such a bad bear market.

Byrne intends to start the experiment with the users from Coinbase Wallets first. According to him, they could easily find some interesting niche groups that could be benefitted from the decentralization of the information there. The idea is to create some process that is only partly decentralized as fully decentralized solutions are not what they want.

Why? Because they would not be allowed by most regulations for Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering procedures that need to be done and overseen as a way to be sure that people are using crypto to launder money or finance crimes.

Because of this, they believe that the focus should be an only partial decentralization in a way that these users could be benefitted by the process. The company also advocates for transparency in the services, so everyone will be allowed to know what their information in being used for even if the solution is only partially decentralized.

Byrne does not think that there is a clear standard of how the industry will solve this problem and he has affirmed that they will certainly be working in solutions to solve this.

Public Solutions And Cross-Platform Standards

There is still one issue that has to be solved before any of this is operational. Coinbase is not an island that exists alone. Part of the plan is to make the process easier for the whole industry, not only Coinbase, but this would take external collaboration.

As affirmed by Byrne, there is simply no standard today on to do it, so the company has to focus on also finding solutions that can be used to reduce cross-platform friction in a way that the privacy of the customers is secured via many platforms.

Even as groups like the W3C community are aiming to create a set of international standards that will have to be careful because shared systems also mean shareable exploits, so it can make it easier to hack some companies. Therefore, Byrne has affirmed that Coinbase will only take part in “healthy” ideas, so it looks like the company might be tough to convince if security is not good.

Byrne ended talking about how the failure of the industry was to try to take everybody’s identity information instead of just work together to decentralize it and let people own it.





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