Digital Identity, Payments, and More

In our most recent Linqto Learn, we sat down with James Loperfido, the Director of Business Development at Tangem, which provides silicon hardware for blockchain and digital asset uses.  We learned about such complex concepts as digital data and governance, digital currencies, the seamless embedding of technology in our daily lives, and self-sovereign identity. Read more to hear James’ thoughts on the “convergence of identity and payments.”

Digital Data and Governance

In his book “Republic, Lost”, Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig describes the governance model of the United States, especially the lobbying process and how it affects the creation of legislation. Governance is only as good as the procedures involved in creating legislation, and the transparency involved with them. When James realized the extent to which law is affected by private interests, he became aware that digital data decentralization can offer an interesting solution to this problem. It provides the ability to enhance transparency at an institutional level, both on a national scale and a global one, without sacrificing personal privacy. 

Understanding Complex Ideas

The ability to leverage digital currencies, in the form of programmable money, to incentivize different behaviors in the long run will most certainly have enormous economic effects. But this is really one of the bigger innovations that people are having a tough time wrapping their heads around. Digesting new complex ideas like asymmetric cryptography, smart contracts, or zero knowledge proofs is difficult. However, once people understand the efficiencies to be captured by using the technology, and the reduction in cost and friction for trade on an international basis, according to James, we can rest assured that the old world will eventually embrace it.

Seamless Embedding of Technology

James doesn’t feel that the adoption rate for this technology will be too slow due to its large learning curve, as he feels that we realistically can’t expect people to do a lot of homework on it. Instead, James believes that the underlying technology will be seamlessly embedded into people’s lives, and will be adopted as a result of convenience. For example, people don’t know how the catalytic converter or the drive-train of their car works, but they know that when they step on the gas or the brake, or change the gears of the car, it does what they expect it to do.  

Underlying technologies like blockchain and its corollaries will most likely be integrated into payment systems, which will evolve in ways that the user doesn’t even know or care about. What they will care about is that transaction costs will go towards zero, and they should understand the implications of that. 

Self-Sovereign Identity

Self-sovereign identity is essentially the ability of an individual to control their own credentials in a digital landscape. James’ company, Tangem, is in the business of tying an individual’s digital identity to transactions in the physical world across numerous applications. The idea is that an individual should not need to share all of their data with Facebook and every other website that they visit utilizing cookies. The technology evolution itself has created the idea that, especially with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), one should essentially be not just aware of how their data is being used, but also a potential custodian of it. Each person should be easily able to  control their data, know who views it, and allow permissions for it to be viewed. This approach gives people much more control over who they share their data with and knowledge about how their data is shared, beyond that initial transaction. 

About our Guest Speaker

James Loperfido currently serves as Director of Business Development at the Swiss digital asset infrastructure company Tangem, manages digital asset investments, and acts as a general consultant in the blockchain space. Tangem develops software, firmware, and smart card solutions for digital money, identity, and anti-counterfeit use cases.

He testified as a blockchain technology expert on the New York Privacy Act and serves as a Co-Chair for the Global Blockchain Business Council‘s Digital Identity Working Group. James was born and resides in New York City and Florida. He has entrepreneurial expertise in international business development, DLT frameworks, capital markets, digital asset infrastructure, team building, and sales and marketing.

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