ShoCard CEO Armin Ebrahimi: “Blockchain-Based Identity Management Gives More Control to Users”

Blockchain, Interviews | October 16, 2017 By:

Armin Ebrahimi is Founder and CEO of ShoCard, a digital identity verification system that protects consumer privacy through patented use of mobile devices and the blockchain. An industry veteran, he brings more than 30 years of experience in scalable platforms, online services, mobile-development and digital advertising to the ShoCard team.

Before founding ShoCard, Ebrahimi was the CEO of Dynamic Retargeting, an AOL company. Prior to filling this role, he was Senior Vice President of Platform Engineering at Yahoo, with responsibility for Yahoo’s registration and anti-fraud platform services. He also built Yahoo’s original Display Advertising platform that served more than 20 billion transactions a day. Ebrahimi founded and was CEO of TRIicon Solutions, acquired by Tandem Computers. Ebrahimi holds a doctorate in organization management from Capella University, as well as Master and Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science from California State University – Chico.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Can you explain what ShoCard is for those who might not know?

ARMIN EBRAHIMI: ShoCard is an identity management system (IMS) built using the blockchain for the highest level of security, and uses public/private key encryption and data hashing to safely store and exchange data. Through the ShoCard application, a person’s identity and data are stored on their device, and they are the only person who determines which ID details are shared. ShoCard uses the blockchain as a public, immutable ledger that allows third parties to validate that the original data or certification has not been changed or misrepresented. ShoCard’s enterprise solution, ShoBadge, also provides identity management for employees, eliminating usernames and passwords and paving the way for BYOID.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Why could blockchain play an important role in identity management?

ARMIN EBRAHIMI: Data stored on the blockchain is immutable, which means it cannot be hacked, modified or deleted. Additionally, data on the blockchain protects privacy, because it cannot be reverse engineered into the original data and can only be used, with a user’s permission, to independently verify the authenticity of the user.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: A lot of companies are aiming to develop identity management services. How are you different compared to your competitors?

ARMIN EBRAHIMI: As opposed to other identity management platforms, ShoCard has built technology that leverages the blockchain as an underlying piece of its architecture. The platform also uses public/private key encryption and data hashing to safely store and exchange identity information. It’s a strong form of multi-factor authentication with out-of- band communication and data matching, implementing multiple private keys and hashes
throughout the process.

Personally identifiable information (PII) is not stored in any usable way either on ShoCard’s servers or on the blockchain. A user’s PII is collected by the ShoCard app, encrypted and stored locally on a user’s device. Then, a one-way hashed, digital signature of those fields is created with the user’s private-key and is stored on the blockchain. The original PII, when processed in this way, cannot be deduced or extracted in any way. The user’s PII can then be validated and certified by a trusted entity such as an identity verification provider, a government agency or corporate office. Using a method similar to the above process, these certifications are also stored on the blockchain using the verifier’s private key. Once this data has been certified, the user can then interact with other parties and verify their identity, or exchange personal data through a completely secure process. Enterprises can also provide validations of their own identity so that others users, whether end users or other enterprises, can be assured of whom they are interacting with.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Nearly 146 million Americans were impacted by the Equifax data breach. Can blockchain prevent the next Equifax?

ARMIN EBRAHIMI: Because managing identity using blockchain technology eliminates the need for databases of personal information to be stored with any one company, data breaches like Equifax can be avoided. Blockchain-based identity management gives more control to the user than ever before, letting them dictate what information gets shared with whom, and always keeping it with them on their device. The blockchain part of the equation is used for verification rather than storage.

Proper use of blockchain identity management can allow a company, like Equifax, to keep its data without sharing external interfaces to every company that needs its data. Instead, the data is shared via the user, and they can be properly compensated for that usage. By limiting external interfaces, security can be significantly improved, preventing hackers an entry point into their secure databases.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Can you tell me about your recent partnership with Bank AlJazira?

ARMIN EBRAHIMI: Bank AlJazira is looking to enhance its services, protect clients’ information and avoid instances of consumer fraud. ShoCard’s scalable blockchain-based IMS, along with the KYC solution from SettleMint, is used to develop a first-of- its kind use case in the region.

The resulting system is expected to reduce cost and duplication for identity management, reduce fraud, enhance customer satisfaction, improve management of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules and allow for the exchange of customer information in terms of data on wire transfers and investigatory reports. Beyond increasing security, the system is intended to make the user experience much simpler and easier to use.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: What are some future business plans at ShoCard?

ARMIN EBRAHIMI: Our goals are to continue expanding our IP portfolio, enhance the platform and interfaces, and most importantly, build more customer and client traction in both enterprise and consumer services. We are also developing a stronger exchange platform to improve monetization and compensation for third parties and consumers who use our services. The blockchain is an ideal platform for building this exchange efficiently and cost-effectively through tokenization of payments.