Ping Identity, a developer of intelligent identity management for enterprises, has acquired ShoCard, a startup focused on blockchain-based security, and unveiled plans to bring that technology to market next year integrated with Ping’s security platform.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Ping Identity actually acquired ShoCard in April while it was in stealth mode, and has managed to keep the acquisition a secret until now, said Derick Townsend, vice president of product marketing for Denver-based Ping.
ShoCard’s blockchain security technology is disruptive technology that Ping expects will lead to significantly improved personal identity, also known as sovereign identity, Townsend told CRN.
“People are looking for personal control of their identity and how to safely share it,” he said. “For now, their personal identities are scattered all over the wind with multiple service providers. With ShoCard, we will introduce blockchain security technology that not only provides personal identity security, but also allows users to add and subtract information to the chain.”
Ping’s new ShoCard blockchain security technology will give individuals control over what goes on their blockchain, Townsend said. Users will be able to add things like proof of ID, proof of employment or residence, bank information, proof of income that are then stored with their ID.
“Now you can use your ID to do services such as open a loan or use financial services,” he said. “Now all transactions will be secure, and any friction with the services will be reduced. And as users trust the providers of their services, they will no longer need to carry the burden of all their personal information.”
ShoCard has been developing a mobile app which, when downloaded and activated, lets users start out by securely identifying themselves, Townsend said.
“Take a static photo and a photo of yourself smiling to identify who you are so it’s not just a single flat photo,” he said. “Then take a photo of your government ID like a passport. Once authenticated, you can use these to share personal information and to collect information about you such as your employment history. That information, such as proof of employment, can then be shared with others.”
When Ping acquired ShoCard, that blockchain security technology was already in the beta and pilot stages. Townsend said Ping plans to integrate it with its own identity security platform and bring to market sometime in 2021.
Townsend said that ShoCard was well funded, and not in a hurry to get acquired.
“But its sale to Ping was good for both of us,” he said. “They’re excited about this technology. But to get mass attraction, they needed to be acquired by a bigger company. And Ping has the right market and the ability to bring the technology to that market.”
Ping uses indirect channels for its identity management technology, including global systems integrators, boutique and specialized consultants, technology partners such as Amazon, resellers, and its own direct business-to-business sales force, Townsend said.