How will it work? The blockchain distributed ledger is strengthened every time an individual presents evidence of their identity online. For example, when you open a bank account – that’s one link in the chain. If you take out a home loan, that’s another link in the chain. Bear in mind that your online identity is not only linked to financial transactions, your social media profiles including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are additional links in the blockchain, building up your digital identity profile. “Implemented into our current systems, ThisIsMe with its Blockchain Identity and Access Management technology has the potential to reduce current compliance costs to financial institutions and eliminate the crippling fines they face, expanding the concept of Identity as a Currency of the future” Chirnside says. Identity theft remains a significant concern worldwide and is estimated to cost South African businesses between R1 billion and R2 billion each year. Contributing factors include a strong infrastructure of money wire services, readily available Internet, prepaid cell phones, high levels of corruption within certain companies and government agencies, and lack of police resources/expertise to combat this type of crime. The Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report, released earlier this year, found that:
- 76% of South Africans believe that the likelihood of identity theft has increased;
- 2 in 3 (67%) feel that it is more difficult to control their personal information due to smartphones and the Internet;
- South Africans are engaged with the topic of security (78% acknowledge the need to actively protect their information), but there is still some notion that security is an inconvenience;
- 58% would rather cancel dinner plans with their best friend than have to cancel their credit/debit cards after their account has been compromised; and
- 58% would rather endure a terrible date than deal with credit/debit card customer service after a breach or hack.