As of January 2016, approximately 1.5 billion people worldwide have no access to proof of their legal identity. These individuals are resultantly denied access to banking services, and their limited or nonexistent financial history leaves them at a severe disadvantage for gaining a foothold. Reaching beyond finances, this disparity also accounts for the millions in impoverished environments who are unable to procure, validate and reliably record birth certificates.
At the opposite end of the financial spectrum, large corporations are also disadvantaged in the current state of identity verification. According to Civic’s whitepaper, it costs service providers approximately $15-20 to verify each user. This fee is costly on its own, but one must also consider the fact that the current verification landscape requires this validation to be completed for every different service provider the user interacts with. Then, the user’s personal information is stored, in full, in the centralized database of each service provider, insecure and open to attack.
The Civic ecosystem was constructed for the needs of the 1.5 billion, the large corporations, and everyone in between. The team, headed by entrepreneur and crypto-celebrity, Vinny Lingham, has begun the revolution on Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements as they are known today. Essentially, users validated through the Civic app maintain complete control over their personal information, stored on their own device, which can be selectively revealed to service providers whenever necessary. Service providers also benefit, as once an individual user’s information has been validated, any organization can see that the information has been reliably verified without any access to the information itself.
The process begins with a user who wishes to use some organization’s services. The user places their information on their device within the Civic app to first be verified by a validator. Following verification, the validator records an attestation on the Rootstock blockchain (a smart contract platform linked to Bitcoin that Civic will be migrating to). This attestation acts as a trustworthy notice that the user’s information is valid and accurate. Then, when the user wishes to interact with the service provider, both parties must enter into an agreement as to which pieces of personal information are shared, giving the user complete control and selectivity. After interacting with a service provider, the initial verification remains unchanged, allowing the user to easily sign up to other service providers who also benefit by avoiding costs of additional verification.
CVC, an ERC20 token, acts as the all-encompassing currency for the Civic ecosystem. Validators set the cost of their validation services, which service providers then accept and complete to verify users they wish to onboard. The bulk of the payment goes to the validator, while a percentage goes to the user, incentivizing utilization of the platform. The validators themselves could be a variety of entities, such as government agencies, healthcare organizations, utility providers, etc. With this flexibility, the project could soon branch out to include other identification services, such as background checks or driver checks for ride-sharing.
As previously mentioned, the project was co-founded by Vinny Lingham, along with CTO, Jonathan Smith. Lingham is the founder of Gyft, the digital gift card company, and Smith has over 15 years of experience in banking and technology advising. Although not directly pertinent to the cryptocurrency realm, Lingham holds a seat as a member of the South African version of the TV show, Shark Tank, lending additional credibility to the project. Every member of the team touts impressive resumes, with VP of Engineering, Vino Pyata, even developing an engineering team with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
The Civic ICO ended on June 21st, 2018, after complete sale, reaching its cap of $33 million. The token was created with a fixed circulation, which can never be increased. Though ICO interest was astounding, the project has not slowed since. Just announced on Sunday, October 21st, the CivicConnect app allows for app to app identity verification. CivicConnect will provide connectivity between services at a level of ease unseen before, with the simplicity of opening the app, confirming information selection, and accepting terms of a service provider app. As Civic already has over 100 partner organizations, this step forward paves a path for expedient, widespread adoption. Among these partners are projects such as ShapeShift, Dentacoin and 0x, all of which are alongside the most widely known in the cryptocurrency space.
In broader view, the Civic project boasts plenty of social media activity and interactions. R/civicplatform, the Civic subreddit, has over 8000 subscribers, with several posts per day. The twitter account, @civickey, holds over 88,000 followers, with daily tweets including all important announcements.
With the recent announcement of CivicConnect, the Civic team is clearly active, determined, and prepared for the massive adoption that is naturally anticipated with such revolutionary, adeptly implemented technology. The project solves a multitude of real world problems, both for the impoverished and for larger institutions alike - a unique quality for a crypto-endeavor. The ease of controlling and verifying identity presents new opportunities to those hindered by the current KYC environment, while offering a lifeline to those trampled down by the unforgiving modern financial system.
As the network expands, and more users come to the platform, the value of each individual only increases. With such an enormous list of partnerships, an impressive team, and groundbreaking goals, it is only a matter of time before CivicConnect becomes the standard for app-to-app validation, and before the Civic environment dominates an even broader area of identity verification.