Canadians to Verify IDs with Blockchain System by Next Year

SecureKey will soon launch its blockchain-based system that would facilitate identity verification. The Canadian company is working on the project with IBM and expects to complete it next year.

According to Bloomberg, Canadians will soon verify their IDs with the help of blockchain technology. SecureKey Technologies Inc, a Toronto-based ID and authentication provider, is working together with IBM Corp to create a digital identity network – the first ever in Canada.

SecureKey is developing its ID network system based on IBM’s blockchain technology, which is built on the Hyperledger Fabric, provided by the Linux Foundation. The announcement was made in March 2017, and the project is expected to be ready in the first half of next year. The system will help Canadians verify their identities for banks, telecommunication firms, and government institutions. The process will be done within seconds via dedicated mobile and desktop apps.

Greg Wolfond, CEO of SecureKey, said that the new technology allows clients to digitize and share their personal info without relying on a central system. The network is also more secure against hackers thanks to the distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Wolfond told Bloomberg:

“This is transformational for identity. It makes it easier for me to prove it’s me and harder for the bad guy to masquerade as me.”

The ID network’s principle is simple: when a client applies online for a loan, the bank will need to check his/her ID, credit score, and other financial details related to the client’s history. This process may be demanding. However, using the new system, the bank will send a request to the client’s phone to approve the access to personal data. If the clients confirm it, the lender will verify the information stored on the blockchain-based system.

SecureKey’s ID project has attracted leading Canadian banks, such as Royal Bank of Canada, which invested the equivalent of $24 million, and Toronto-Dominion Bank. Besides, EnStream venture, backed by Canada’s leading wireless carriers provided by Rogers Communications Inc., Telus Corp., and BCE Inc., also invested in the project.

For the Royal Bank of Canada, this does not represent the first blockchain-related investment. The bank shows great interest in the technology and has already tested blockchain to send bank payments to US banks.

Wolfond says that the system will succeed without hurdles in Canada thanks to support from the banking system, provincial governments, and telecommunications firms. The firm is already in discussions on setting up the “Canada model” in other jurisdictions, he said.

Stewart Bond, a research director at Framingham, Massachusetts-based International Data Corp, commented on the SecureKey’s project:

“They’re ahead of the game as far as implementing digital ID type solutions on blockchain. SecureKey has some benefit in that they’ve got a brokered solution already that they’ve created and they’ve got trust in the industry -- trust with the banks and with the government of Canada.”

Canada is very active in testing and implementing blockchain for various use cases. Earlier, we reported that the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) of Canada along with other blockchain entities announced a nationwide blockchain ecosystem.