Insights & Analyses

SecureKey’s blockchain digital identity network gains support from National Bank of Canada

Canadian identity and authentication provider SecureKey Technologies announced on Wednesday that the National Bank of Canada will join its blockchain-powered “Cloud Identity Ecosystem,” simplifying the identification process for clients who want to open a bank account, obtain a driver’s license, or access utilities.

As one of Canada’s largest financial institutions, the National Bank brings yet another boost to SecureKey’s blockchain efforts, which also secured a $800,000 grant from the U.S. government in February, and added IBM as a partner in March.

By bringing together separate parties in financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, government and more, the blockchain network aims to bring both convenience and security to organizations, institutions, governments, and citizens.

With National Bank of Canada on board, clients will see a simplified online verification process. When it launches, consumers will be able to opt in to the blockchain-based service using a mobile app, accessing trusted digital credentials with a partner organization of the user’s choice.

Consumers who have proven their identity with their bank and a credit agency will be able to grant permission to share their data with an outside party — such as a utility company — to create a new account. Because the bank and credit agency have already identified the consumer’s identity, and because those institutions are trusted, the utility can choose to rely on the fact that the information is verified, saving the customer the hassle of proving their identity to apply for service.

Other Canadian financial institutions onboard with SecureKey and IBM are BMO, CIBC, Desjardins, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD. The banks invested $27 million into SecureKey last October.

SecureKey is also funded in part by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate.

“Adding National Bank to our digital identity network is critical to the success of our ecosystem and brings us one step closer to ensuring consumers are able to prove who they say they are, in person, online and over the phone,” SecureKey President and Chief Executive Greg Wolfond said. “We are pleased to partner with National Bank and look forward to bringing privacy-enhanced digital solutions to its customers.”