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Paypal invests in blockchain identity startup

Paypal invests in blockchain identity startup

Today Cambridge Blockchain the U.S. digital identity startup announced that Paypal has joined its Series A funding round with a view to exploring collaboration.

a digital identity enterprise software provider, announced today that PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) has joined its Series A funding round. With this investment, the two companies will explore potential collaborations to leverage blockchain technology.

“Our service helps streamline digital identity compliance while giving customers control over their identity data,” said Matthew Commons, Cambridge Blockchain’s CEO. “We are honored by PayPal’s vote of confidence, and we look forward to their support and guidance.”

Cambridge Blockchain’s solutions harness the potential of blockchain to deliver strong digital identities at a global scale and meet the increasingly stringent data privacy obligations globally. The company has specific experience in designing software systems to share identity data across European financial institutions.

The startup focuses on digital identity, even in privacy stringent jurisdictions with experience in sharing identity data across European financial institutions.

Other new participants in the funding round are Omidyar Network and Flourish (part of Omidyar Group). The original Series A round was in May last year with $7 million raised from Foxconn’s HCM Capital, Partech Partners, Future\Perfect Ventures and Digital Currency Group. That followed a $2 million seed round.

To date, Cambridge Blockchain has inked a few high profile deals according to The Paypers. One was with LuxTrust the state-supported group which provides bank identity solutions in Luxembourg. The other was with the IHTMarkit subsidiary to complement existing KYC and AML checks.

Most blockchain competitors are B2C focused and not designed for bank-grade security standards (e.g. authentication and hosting). In addition, Cambridge Blockchain has explicitly incorporated GDPR standards for consent, data minimization, right to be forgotten, data security and data controllership. We have had an extensive amount of regulatory engagement, certainly in the US but most notably in the EU with the Bundesbank, the European Commission and data privacy regulators in multiple jurisdictions. Our high degree of regulatory engagement has been really critical for the design of our system.

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Other blockchain identity architectures store personal data on-chain or use unproven / computationally intensive cryptography whereas we only store attestations or cryptographic proofs of the attributes on the blockchain. The plain text data is stored in a secured database.

How it works

Personal identity data isn’t stored on the blockchain itself. Instead, the blockchain stores an indecipherable hash which can’t be reversed to reveal any data. However, it acts as a fingerprint. So if the same data is shared with someone else, they can check if the “fingerprint” matches.

Consider if a customer provides identity documents to its bank, and they decide to open an account with another bank. The customer chooses to share the data with the second bank, and the second bank knows that the document has already been validated. The second bank is still responsible for their own KYC, but it starts the ball rolling much faster.

The solution stores the data in a “Personal Data Service” which interacts with a mobile app. That means the consumer can make decisions via the mobile app. However, the data is nonetheless stored on Cambridge Blockchain servers, even if they are bank-grade.

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