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Cambridge Blockchain – anchoring identity in Blockchain

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Company profile: Cambridge Blockchain

Blockchain is the skeptics moment of glory turning to reality. It is like touch-phones, what would life be without one today. The only difference is we never talk about Blockchain in real terms, it is all experimental or so they say. Cambridge Blockchain has just won a Distributed Ledger challenge out of a 100 applications and is anchoring itself to a blockchain-based identity management concept.

Founded in April-2015 by Matthew Commons and Alex Oberhauser, Cambridge Blockchain has 6 employees, their client profile is large financial institutions and they are based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts with web presence on http://www.cambridge-blockchain.com

The Business

Cambridge Blockchain designs software for large enterprise blockchain applications with a specific focus on identity management. What does it mean? It means in a Blockchain environment on a Distributed Ledger where an enterprise is a ‘node’ – Cambridge Blockchain – provides a cryptographic code for each node based on the KYC (Know-your-customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) requirements set by the company’s compliance, regulator and jurisdictional diktat. The identity cryptographic structure delivers trust, a formal knowledge that the node is verified within the realms of operation and enables the other ‘enterprise nodes’ to trust, interact and trade.

The Engine

The most critical element of Distributed Ledger within any Blockchain environment is identity management. The concept introduced by Cambridge Blockchain addresses the identity management requirements in the institutional space. The idea of being a node in the (shared) ledger requires trust and needs to meet verification criterion – Cambridge Blockchain enables that trust i.e. who is writing to the ledger. Conceptually, they address the challenge of ‘ownership representation’ on a ledger. In the institutional space when entities are discussed they are often looked at from three parameters – AML, KYC and Risk ratings. Cambridge Blockchain creates an identity management and verification cryptograph based on the first two parameters. These are stored virtually and a part of this information is then released to the counter-party at the time of a transaction to suffice counter-party’s requirements.

The target clients of Cambridge Blockchain are Institutions and pure play Blockchain developing enterprises. Institutions that are internally developing their Blockchain platforms and ecosystems and Blockchain enterprises that are creating ecosystems based on specific requirements.

The long-term revenue model is based on subscription and license fees, with most near-term revenue from custom integration. This is based on an open-source platform and enables integration at a bespoke level with a set of rules.

The Intrinsic Value

After just being 10 months in existence, Cambridge Blockchain has achieved two things. Firstly, they have found a unique concept that is critical to the modus-operandi and secondly, they have attracted institutional clients that are willing to contribute and partner with them on the journey out of lab to the real world. The endorsement from industry experts has come in shape of Cambridge Blockchain winning the Santander InnoVentures Distributed Ledger Challenge. This is true-value.

The Profitability Conundrum

At this early stage it would not be relevant to discuss profitability. As my discussions with the founders revealed, their focus is on going into production and drive applications. My view would be for Cambridge Blockchain to develop solutions that increase the reliance on their technology and with a committed and driven founding team it will only take them half a client to become profitable.

The Verdict

The measure of Cambridge Blockchain’s success depends solely on speed to market. The presence of different consortiums and their institutional coverage enhances their prospects of leading the identity management standards creation. Blockchain is an ever evolving space and innovation and disruption can be dissected and improved, it certainly pays to be nimble.

At this early stage, the credibility sits with the founding team and their understanding of their strengths and most importantly keeping the development in the context. The pitfalls are obvious and do not specifically pertain to just Cambridge Blockchain but also to one and sundry invested-interested in the concept.

In a relatively slow-moving, change resistant and lack of experimentation-al industry Cambridge Blockchain’s challenge is not monetisation or stickiness but it is instead to anchor ecosystems.

Founder comments:

Identity management is one of the biggest challenges to get enterprise Blockchain technology out of the labs and into production environments.  Permissionless, open Blockchain architectures such as bitcoin or Ethereum typically achieve privacy through anonymity. On the other hand, many permissioned Blockchain designs for financial markets envision that all participants are explicitly identified, with key pairs tracing back to known individuals or entities.  This traceability aids regulatory compliance and audit work, but often comes at the expense of privacy. 

Cambridge Blockchain’s identity Blockchain solves the quandary of meeting both KYC and customer privacy requirements.  We provide financial institutions with an asset agnostic, KYC-compliant control layer for Blockchain transactions.  This enables faster settlement times, reduced capital charges, lower costs and new product opportunities.  Our architecture permits integration with any public or private Blockchain system, allowing system participants to validate identity information about counterparties in a selective and context-aware fashion.  We aim to be most respected identity platform for Blockchain transactions.

Disclaimer: This material is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as research or as investment advice, nor should it be considered information sufficient upon which to base an investment decision.  Further, this communication should not be deemed as a recommendation to invest or not to invest.

The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but is not necessarily complete in its accuracy and cannot be guaranteed.

Featured image: https://stocksnap.io; Logo: http://cambridge-blockchain.com