‘Log in With Coinbase’ — a New Digital Identity Standard Looms
Coinbase announced today that it has acquired Distributed Systems, a startup looking to build a digital industry standard for decentralized applications called the Clear Protocol. Although it wasn’t transparent on any next steps, the company has assembled a five-person team to begin working on a “Log in with Coinbase” integration platform, powered by Coinbase’s abundance of consumer data.
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Looking to Develop “Log in With Coinbase”
From the launch of its Coinbase Custody solution for institutional clients to its acquisition of the Cipher team as it continues to build its native Ethereum network browser, the San Francisco-based giant continues to grow, now announcing that it has acquired Distributed Systems.
Distributed Systems will join the Coinbase identity team, which was spun off into a separate engineering unit last year. The unit will begin to explore ways to integrate decentralized identity across their services.
Ideally, rather than having to transmit personal information such as social security and credit card numbers, which sit in centralized servers, a native digital identity solution powered by Coinbase could provide the same proof of identity without revealing any information.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong previewed some of the intentions of the Coinbase identity team now strengthened by the Distributed Systems unit:
On it ?
— Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong) August 15, 2018
Is Coinbase Looking to Take on Facebook?
Taking the Facebook approach to digital identity, which saw explosive growth with the rise of “Log in with Facebook”, Coinbase wants you to connect with decentralized applications through its platform, while maintaining complete control of your data.
The next natural step is to offer financial incentives for attention and data sharing, a battle cry of the blockchain userbase.
B Byrne, a product manager on Coinbase’s Identity team, elaborated on what the group envisions and how the Distributed Systems team was a natural partner on the journey:
“Blockchain technology that powers cryptocurrencies offers a new way to let us all be “verified’ everywhere we go on the internet, feeling safer about our interactions with others and opening the door to the experiences that require trust… Distributed Systems is an incredibly thoughtful team that has been working on decentralized identity solutions. With their work on the Clear Protocol… We believe decentralized identity systems represent a transformative shift in our relationship with technology.”
Coinbase to Become the Bank of the Future
From becoming a one-stop shop for retail and institutional investors, along with building a native crypto browser and pioneering digital identity products, the Coinbase team has a ton on its plate. As a result, it is yet to commit to creating an identity protocol of its own, despite beefing up its identity team.
If that is to be the next step, they will have to compete with the Decentralized Identity Foundation, which includes more than 50 partner organizations such as Microsoft and IBM. They would also face competition from the uPort identity system, which already enjoys a working partnership with the Swiss city of Zug, often labeled Crypto’s Silicon Valley.
With Coinbase’s strong reputation in the blockchain industry and its multiple-year head start with consumer-facing cryptocurrency applications, the acquisition of the Decentralized Systems team is one more weapon in the Coinbase arsenal. The company is looking to become a modern bank for the 21st century, one that thrives without hoarding customer data and sensitive personal information.
Will “Log in with Coinbase” become the new norm? What do you think Coinbase’s next step will be as it looks to grow its platform and integrate cryptocurrency into everyday life?
Images via Coinbase, Pixabay