IBM and SecureKey Technologies to Deliver Blockchain-Based Digital Identity Network for Consumers

Las Vegas, NV - 20 March 2017

Collaboration between leaders in blockchain and identity authentication to help increase privacy, security and trust for consumers worldwide 

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and SecureKey Technologies today announced they are working together to enable a new digital identity and attribute sharing network based on IBM Blockchain. The network will be designed to make it easier for consumers to verify they are who they say they are, in a privacy-enhanced, security-rich and efficient way. When launched later this year, consumers can use the network to instantly verify their identity for services such as new bank accounts, driver's licenses or utilities.

To create a highly secure, global and enterprise-ready ecosystem for sharing identity requires both advanced federated identity technology and blockchain technology specifically designed for regulated industries. Together SecureKey and IBM are developing a digital identity and attribute sharing network using IBM's Blockchain service which is built on top of the Linux Foundation's open source Hyperledger Fabric v1.0. As a permissioned blockchain, the Hyperledger Fabric is an essential component in delivering services that comply with regulations where data protection and confidentiality matter.   

The network is currently in the testing phase in Canada, and once it goes live later in 2017 Canadian consumers will be able to opt-in to the new blockchain-based service using a mobile app. Consumers – or network members – will be able to control what identifying information they share from trusted credentials to the organizations of their choice, for those organizations to quickly and efficiently validate the consumer's identity and arrange new services. For example, if a consumer has proven their identity with their bank and a credit agency, they can grant permission to share their data with a utility to create a new account. Since the bank and the credit agency have already gone through extensive verification of the consumer's identity, the utility can choose to rely on the fact that the information is verified, and the consumer can be approved for new services.

"What IBM is building with SecureKey and members of the digital identity ecosystem in Canada, including major banks, telecom companies and government agencies, will help tackle the toughest challenges surrounding identity," said Marie Wieck, general manager, IBM Blockchain. "This method is an entirely different approach to identity verification, and together with SecureKey, we have a head start on putting it on the blockchain. This is a prime example of the type of innovation permissioned blockchain networks can accelerate."

"Hyperledger Fabric is by far the most advanced permissioned-blockchain technology available today, in my opinion, both in protecting user data and allowing us to work within the context of industry and country privacy laws," said Greg Wolfond, Founder and CEO, SecureKey Technologies. "Among the many contributors to Hyperledger Fabric including SecureKey, IBM is a standout innovator that has proven that they can rapidly bring blockchain solutions to production. We are very excited to enter into this formal agreement that will benefit consumers around the world."

Canada's leading banks, including BMO, CIBC, Desjardins, RBC, Scotiabank and TD joined the digital identity ecosystem in October, 2016, investing $27M collectively in SecureKey. The Digital ID and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) and the Command Control and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analytics (CCICADA), a research center of excellence funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate, have also provided funding to bring the new approach to digital identity to market. SecureKey's leadership in identity is evidenced by its association with industry leaders and regulators such as DIACC, Privacy By Design, NIST, FIDO, OIX, Kantara and the Linux Foundation.

"Our goal for this partnership is to accelerate the pace at which we can develop a service to help consumers better manage, protect and control their digital assets and identity, and ultimately provide our customers with greater convenience and a better overall experience," said Andrew Irvine, Head of Commercial Banking and Partnerships, BMO Bank of Montreal.          

"Implementing forward thinking innovation is key to ensuring our clients have the best possible experience in today's digital environment," said Todd Roberts, Senior Vice President, Innovation, CIBC. "We are pleased to continue working with SecureKey to implement leading edge technology that protects our clients' security and privacy in the digital ecosystem."

"We believe that combining SecureKey's expertise and innovation in identity and the technological knowledge and leadership of Hyperledger Fabric and IBM Blockchain's High Security Business Network will be foundational in delivering a great identity solution for consumers in Canada and also help pave the way at the international level," said Patrice Group.

"Collaborating with partners like SecureKey and IBM in the development and implementation of solutions that make our clients' interactions secure and seamless is essential to meeting evolving expectations in a digital world," said Eddy Ortiz, VP, Solution Acceleration and Innovation, RBC.  "Canada has an important opportunity to innovate with emerging technologies like blockchain to advance digital identity in Canada."

"Scotiabank is embracing digital technologies like blockchain to offer a superior customer experience and to make it easier for customers to bank with us whenever they want and wherever they are," said Mike Henry, Executive Vice President, Retail Payments, Deposits and Unsecured Lending, Scotiabank. "We are pleased to work with SecureKey and other innovative partners to provide Canadian consumers with an easy and secure privacy-enhanced digital ID process." 

"Helping Canadians control the security of their personal data to reduce the risk of fraud online, in person, or over the phone is innovating with purpose," said Rizwan Khalfan, Chief Digital Officer, TD. "We are thrilled to work with SecureKey and its partners in the creation of an innovative identity ecosystem designed to allow our customers to digitally and securely validate their identity, when and how they want to."

SecureKey is a leading identity and authentication provider that simplifies consumer access to online services and applications. SecureKey enables next generation privacy-enhancing identity and authentication network for conveniently connecting people to critical online services using a digital credential they already have and trust. SecureKey is headquartered in Toronto, with offices in Boston and San Francisco. 

IBM is the leader in secure open-source blockchain solutions built for the enterprise. As an early member of the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger Project, IBM is dedicated to supporting the development of openly-governed blockchains. IBM has worked with more than 400 clients across financial services, supply chains, IoT, risk management, digital rights management and healthcare to implement blockchain applications delivered via the IBM Cloud. 

InterConnect is IBM's cloud and cognitive conference where more than 20,000 developers, clients and partners are being introduced to the latest advancements in cloud computing through 2,000 sessions, labs and certifications. IBM is positioning both enterprise and startup clients for success with a complete portfolio of cloud services and marquee partnerships, supporting a wide range of applications including: big data, analytics, blockchain and cognitive computing.

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