Shannon Wu, on building an identity solution for private data verification, sharing, and aggregation.
Hello! What got you into crypto?
Hi, I’m Shannon Wu from Bloom Founding Team. In 2012, when I was a student at Stanford, I learned about blockchain and quickly became obsessed. A close group of friends shared this interest, and we would years later end up building Bloom together.
When I graduated, I founded Mr.Progress, a growth marketing firm that scales emerging technologies. I served as CMO for innovative companies to bring transformative technologies to market: automation, AI, big data, and blockchain. With my background and personal interest, I soon became heavily involved in launching decentralized projects that I was passionate about, including Spankchain, MakerDAO, among others.
Can you explain Bloom at a High Level?
Bloom addresses global identity through a decentralized infrastructure that is private, secure, and financially inclusive. Ultimately, our mission is to:
- Empower users to take their data back from insecure, centralized systems
- Onboard users to take part in the global financial landscape through a system that is private and secure by design
- Protect businesses from fraud and reduce costs
Today, global scale breaches are happening at a rapidly increasing rate - and it’s not going to stop until there’s a fundamental shift in how we securely store data. Data storage and identity fraud are the weakest links in financial technology, costing billions in damages.
Bloom is an identity solution for private data verification, sharing, and aggregation. It natively supports alternative indicators, works globally, and is breach-resistant. It puts individuals in control of how much of their data is shared, and is only shared with their permission.
The core is BloomID, our decentralized identity platform. Banks, financial institutions, and exchanges, and others can issue reusable credentials to BloomID users. The credentials can be anything from the verified asset or income information to multi-factor authentication tokens to enhance login security.
Most importantly, users have full control over what components of the credential they share with a 3rd party. This also enables platforms to check that users are who they say they are.
Can you share more about the various components of Bloom?
There have been countless abuses of consumer data. It’s horrible, and we are seeing it in the news every week! For me, the most important mission is for people to take back control of their data.
With Bloom, users can selectively share verified information without going through a central aggregator. Users can share their data to notify their lenders, landlords, and others of their identity and financial information. This system is user provisioned, meaning users decide who to share the data with. Credit scoring, KYC, account onboarding, and financial access can all be accomplished from this data.
I’d like to see fewer data breaches. I’m sure we all would. We built Bloom Vault, a secure storage of user credentials. Bloom Vault is an encrypted data store with each credential packaged for only the owner to access. Access keys, which are stored on user devices, encrypt the data for storage, and decrypt it for sharing.
Central institutions can not access local user data without permission. Storing sensitive data on the user’s device, and securing access with biometrics is a fundamental step to eliminate data breaches.
This can’t happen without mass collaboration. Interoperability is really important for us as the space grows, and there continue to be productive conversations around global standards for digital identity transformation. We are committed to building an open, user provisioned data ecosystem that enables financial inclusion and privacy. To that end, Bloom joined the Decentralized Identity Foundation earlier this year to actively participate in shaping the standards to be used in the future.
What are some big milestones?
We just passed a million downloads of our consumer app! This was an amazing feeling.
Also, it’s so nice to see regulatory changes, such as GDPR, lead the way for consumers to take back control of their data. In the wake of the Equifax and CapitalOne breaches, the United States Government and standards bodies are recognizing the need for decentralized digital identity.
This past July, Bloom was discussed in oral and written testimony before the United States House Committee Financial Services Task Force on Financial Technology “Examining the Use of Alternative Data in Underwriting and Credit Scoring to Expand Access to Credit”. In addition, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) recognized Bloom in its whitepaper on emerging blockchain identity management systems.
What’s your business model?
We built a consumer app to give users control of their data, and free tools to monitor their financial health. Users can create a BloomID, see if they were involved in a data breach, get tips for securing their data, apply for loans, and soon will be able to see their credit score in the app.
All for free. We want to empower the user. Bureaus love to charge consumers for solutions to problems that they created in the first place.
Our customers are governments, financial institutions, banks, and lenders. Based on the BloomID infrastructure, we provide technology for financial institutions and retailers to address fraud and reduce costs.
What are your goals for the future?
Earlier this year, we passed the exciting milestone of 1M downloads on our consumer app. It’s been great to see so much demand and user traction. We want to continue to bring the technology to places where it will make a big difference, introducing increased security and financial access to people around the world.
I’m also looking forward to continuing to partner with some of the world’s largest financial institutions to reduce fraud and further our mission of inclusive financial access.
Where can we go to learn more?
- How Secure Data Sharing Works - https://bloom.co/blog/how-does-share-kit-work/
- Share Kit Open Source Code - https://github.com/hellobloom/share-kit
- Verify Kit Open Source Code - https://github.com/hellobloom/verify-kit
- Bloom Vault Open Source Code - https://github.com/hellobloom/bloom-vault
- Blockchain Smart Contracts - https://github.com/hellobloom/core