Interview

Building a trust layer that puts the individual in control – 'we shouldn't waste any more time'

Thursday 11 November 2021 08:37 CET | Editor: Mirela Ciobanu | Interview

Ahead of the International fintech conference Banking 4.0, The Paypers sat with Daniel Goldscheider, CEO of Yes.com to find out why banks have the potential to be the natural providers of digital IDs and why they should work together to balance the impact bigtechs have on consumers’ (use of) data/ data privacy

What is digital identity and how does this concept relate to yes.com, your work, and your attendance at the International fintech conference Banking 4.0?

I first used the Internet in 1992 and a year later Peter Steiner drew his famous ‘On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog’ cartoon. Almost thirty years the Web is still largely anonymous. Building a trust layer that puts the individual in control is an interesting and challenging endeavour. We believe that financial institutions are well positioned to play a role in many countries because they have verified data, are regulated, and enjoy user trust.

There are already many bank-centric digital identity initiatives like Itsme in Belgium, Mastercard Digital Identity in the US, and Verified.Me in Canada. Some banks like the Raiffeisen Banken Volksbanken and Sparkassen in Germany prefer to act as identity providers directly. What can we learn/apply from these projects if we are to create a global bank identity scheme?

That one size doesn’t fit all. IDPs use a lot of different architectures, standards, and trust frameworks. I believe that we need interoperability to create a trust network that is open and inclusive. A lot of great work has been done already. OAuth and OIDC are used around the world and many people work hard to agree on open global standards for SSI (Self Sovereign Identity) and Electronic Signatures. This brings us closer to shared tools. What’s largely missing are shared rules to achieve a true scheme.

Strictly referring to Europe, how are PSD2, Open Banking, and eIDAS converging to support the creation of an interoperable digital identity scheme? Can GDPR become a blocker?

eIDAS, GDPR and PSD2 are important pillars but they are all European. This is a lot better than unilateral approaches of individual nations, but a global scheme needs to link providers in the EU with Relying Parties outside Europe and vice versa. That is one of the reasons why we focus on interoperability rather than complete harmonisation. It’s more realistic to achieve in a useful timeframe.

What role does your Yes.com play in building an interoperable identity ecosystem and what other companies would you see complementary to your work?

We are operating an identity scheme with over 1,000 banks that act as Identity Providers. yes.com is a small company but has contributed a lot to open standards. We hope that this will be a basis for cooperation of many companies around the world.

Has COVID-19 influenced/intensified collaboration?

The corona virus has been horrible on many fronts, but the crisis has also emphasised how important Digital identity is in a digital world. We see a lot of momentum around the world to rise up to the challenge.

You have recently joined the GAIN initiative. Please tell us more about it.

One of our board members, Gottfried Leibbrandt suggested a white paper. We wanted to write something that wasn’t aspirational but concrete enough to serve as a starting point to prove the ideas of an interoperable network. We had hoped that this would become a neutral effort but were floored by the response. Every week experts joined, and we ended up with over 150 authors including some of the world’s biggest names in identity. All without egos, logos or a single cent changing hands. Don called it an experiment in radical democracy, and I think it went pretty well. I hope that GAIN will evolve to become a discussion forum of leading non-profit organisations to create the underpinnings we need without becoming yet another organisation itself.

Will we have a global identity scheme any time soon? At least at the European level? Will a European digital wallet become a foundation for identity?

There is an old legend I love. Napoleon sees how his troops suffer from marching in the sun and he gives the order to line every major road in France with trees. A lieutenant tells him that this would take decades and he replies, ‘in that case you shouldn’t waste any more time’. The OpenID Foundation administers a PoC to demonstrate the technical concepts of the paper. This PoC is already underway, and you can email donna@oidf.org if you’re interested to join.

About Daniel Goldscheider

Daniel is the co-founder and the CEO of yes.com, a digital banking platform and an ecosystem of over 1,000 financial institutions. Before yes.com he co-founded Mediaguide together with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers as well as Aureus Private Equity. Daniel also served on the boards of the Global Footprint Network and Identity Trust Management.

He is a consultant and investor in numerous high-tech startups.

About yes

Via the yes ecosystem, all German bank customers (more than 35 million) have the option of making their identity data available to third parties for legitimation. Customers of the banks can log in to and identify with partners with their existing online banking access data via yes. Using yes® customers simply sign into apps and websites with their online banking login, verify their identity or sign documents.

In addition, there are far-reaching new ways of service expansion within the entire yes ecosystem in the direction of credit risk management, fraud prevention and payment initiation. Furthermore, end customers are able to use the yes ecosystem to pass on categorized information (for example in tax returns) and an automated budget bill (for example for loan inquiries) to partners in a very secure, transparent and data-saving way.

About Banking 4.0

The fifth edition of Banking 4.0 invites you on the 25-26th of November to Bucharest, Romania, for an exceptional event: 2 days, 500+ attendees, 15+ countries, hot topics, important regulatory bodies representatives from banking, and fintech, infinite networking possibilities.

Banking 4.0 includes an exhibition where you can experience first-hand emerging technologies. We’ll be focusing on Open Banking, AI, blockchain, biometrics, RPA (robotic process automation), machine learning, and more.



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Keywords: digital identity, digital wallet, online security, trust, banks
Categories: Securing Transactions | Digital Identity, Security & Online Fraud
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Securing Transactions