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Digital ID Startup Humanity Protocol Valued at $1 Billion

digital identity

Decentralized identity startup Humanity Protocol said it is now a $1 billion company.

The firm announced the private valuation in a Wednesday (May 15) blog post as it revealed the completion of a $30 million seed round. The company said the funding will help it challenge Sam Altman’s Worldcoin and accelerate hiring and product development ahead of a “public testnet launch” in the second half of the year.

“The world needs a truly self-sovereign identity framework that is built on first principles of inclusivity, privacy and decentralization,” Humanity Protocol founder Terence Kwok said in the post. “Proof-of-personhood is a powerful concept, but the solutions that exist today haven’t seen adoption because onboarding is invasive and high friction.”

“Humanity Protocol fixes this,” he added in the post. “We’re creating a decentralized identity protocol that solves verifiable uniqueness and humanity in a way that protects user privacy and self-ownership of data.”

The company’s proof of humanity (PoH) consensus mechanism makes sure each user’s identity within a decentralized system is unique, thus maintaining the integrity of both online and offline environments by reducing the threat of identity fraud and a form of cyberattack known as “Sybil attacks,” according to the post.

PoH lets users carry out a variety of transactions like “asserting their ownership of real-world assets, accessing restricted services, or proving their education and employment history” without needing to turn over personal information to third parties, the post said.

“The whole concept of identity is starting to become more important,” Kwok told Bloomberg Wednesday. “We look at artificial intelligence. We look at all the deepfake videos that are coming on.”

PYMNTS examined the way criminals have used AI and “twisted it in the service of identity fraud,” in an interview with Prove Identity CEO Rodger Desai posted Wednesday.

“Someone sent me a website where I put in a two-second clip of my voice … and it had me singing songs,” Desai said. “The technology’s becoming democratized quickly, and it’s pretty cheap.”

Deepfakes represent a growing threat to businesses, he added, noting the phone needs to be the foundation of identity verification because it is in many cases the device used to carry out fraud. A jump in business identity fraud is evidence of the need for a new strategy for authenticating the person sending invoices, phoning in and even texting.