Same story, different day. This time, it appears that Equifax has had a major data breach, resulting in 143 million social security numbers being stolen. The anger on social media is inarguable. It's a very interesting time in the Equifax PR department to say the least! Equifax is not alone though. Let's look at just a few of the larger breaches in recent memory:
2013 - Evernote had 50 million customer accounts compromised
2013 - Target had 40 million customer credit cards stolen
2013-2014 - Yahoo compromised 1.5 billion user accounts (yes billion)
2014 - Home Depot had 54 million customer credit cards stolen
2015 - Health insurer Anthem had as many as 80 million customer health records stolen
This broken record will keep playing as long as user data is kept in a centralized manner. Despite endless security upgrades, hackers will always remain one step ahead until the end of time. It also begs the question, "Why are we OK with companies storing our personal data?".
What's somewhat surprising is that consumers have given up ownership of their identities so readily, especially on the internet. There's a perceived value exchange on the internet (and in real life) that makes consumers feel they must give up <X> in order to receive <Y>. What if there was a different way? What if you were in control of your own information? What if companies didn't actually need any personally identifiable information from you to do business?
It's VERY early days in this space but let's explore what a few of the leading blockchain solutions are trying to accomplish.
Civic is built on decentralized blockchain technologies, which use an approach of multi-factor authentication, bypassing the traditional username and password. One identity gets you access to any application that uses Civic. This promising technology may prove to be extremely useful in eCommerce, eSignature and healthcare applications.
From an investment perspective, Civic has been on a wild ride, nearly tripling at one point over the past few months.
MaidSafe is building a decentralized file management platform that allows developers to build applications with no central point of failure. Identity, files and web applications are split up into separate files. The nice thing about personal identity is that there's no need to give login information to any 3rd party. All users keep their own information locally on their system. This means that no 3rd party will ever hold a record ofa user's files or login details.
The chart below is nothing short of incredible. MaidsafeCoin has increased exponentially in value over the past three years.
Blockstack is the newest on our list, promising to build an entirely decentralized internet. At the heart of this is decentralized identity management, storage and transactions. Blockstack allows users to own their own identity and allows access to applications, based on what a user wants to share. This allows for some incredible possibilities with applications.
There will surely be many solutions to come in the coming months and years. We look forward to seeing the incredible things the crypto community will come up with to properly solve identity management.