Blockchain startup Onename launched its new product Passcard this week, which uses a blockchain-tied profile to create a secure and “trustless” identity. Onename plans on eventually using it as a sort of digital key to your identity, potentially replacing passwords, the keys to your house and even your passport.
Onename takes advantage of Bitcoin’s distributed ledger, the blockchain, which is used to record and verify bitcoin transactions. It is what enables the digital currency to properly function and can also be used to record any kind of information in a public ledger.
“Passcards are a digital form of identity and access control designed to initially replace passwords, and in the future, replace forms of physical identification like passports and driver’s licenses. You’ll be able to use it to enter your apartment or your office and when asked to present identification in an in-person context. The future of identity is here,” read the company’s blog post.
Your access to everything
Passcards will expand upon the company’s earlier blockchain identity product, which was just a onename.io-hosted profile, by creating a fuller identity, allowing users to post their Passcard on websites, such as a blog or company website.
The move in is preparation of enabling blockchain profiles to be used to log into websites and apps. That will give the product its first real use case and actual utility.
“Currently, passwords help you access your online life just like your wallet and keys help you access your physical life. At a high level, passwords, identity cards, and keys are all forms of access control. Want to enter a bar? Show an identity card that says that you’re over 21. Want to access your Twitter account? Login with the username/password that you used to signup. Want to enter your home? Use the key that unlocks the door,” read a public statement.
Passcard can be seen in use on the blog of Onename investor Fred Wilson and the team page of decentralized marketplace project OpenBazaar. To get your own passcard, you can sign up at a registrar such as Onename.io or Namecoin.info. Onename also created Passcard.info, which serves as a portal for the new product and hosts a list of registrars.
Passcard uses a technology called Blockchain Name System (BNS), formerly called Onename, which, according to the company’s founders, Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea, is similar to Domain Name System (DNS), but offers more security as there are “no trusted third parties or servers.”
The startup will be announcing more about BNS and will launch the app login feature soon.
Onename was founded in March 2014. The company raised a $1.5 million seed round from Barry Silbert’s Bitcoin Opportunity Fund, Fred Wilson through Union Square Ventures, AngelList CEO and co-founder Naval Ravikant and investment firm SV Angel.
Jeffrey Maxim is a marketer and writer studying the emerging intersection of mobile, marketing, retail and fintech. Currently living in Uruguay, Jeffrey enjoys soaking up the country’s rich culture and listening to jazz and ska in his free time. He is also a hobbyist coder learning the basics of web development. Follow him on Twitter @jeff_maxim.