Overstock’s VC Arm Puts $2M Into Blockchain-Based ID Systems Startup

Overstock’s venture capital arm Medici Ventures has made a $2 million investment into Salt Lake City-based Evernym, a startup that develops blockchain-based self-sovereign identity networks.

Per a Sept. 26 press release, Medici invested $2 million into Evernym through participation in the company’s Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE), closed on September 4, 2019. This allows Medici to convert its share in the SAFE to preferred stock in Evernym’s future priced round of equity financing.

Development of digital credentials

Evernym is planning to allocate the money for further development of its products such as creation of a decentralized ecosystem of digital credentials and blockchain-based self-sovereign identity networks. Commenting on the matter, president of Medici Ventures and recently appointed Overstock.com CEO, Jonathan Johnson said:

“Evernym’s platform allows every person, organization, and connected thing to have an independent identity. Evernym fills out Medici Ventures’ identity pillar within our keiretsu and will help advance our government-as-a-service technology stack for civilization.”

Industry players and ID systems

Other major industry stakeholders are also exploring blockchain-based identity systems. Recently, ConsenSys-backed identity management protocol uPort entered a partnership with Onfido and PwC to develop blockchain-based identity management in the United Kingdom's financial sector.

Catalonia's government unveiled IdentiCAT, a decentralized identity system. Citizens using IdentiCAT will reportedly be able to choose what data they are willing to share with the government, and request it to store a portion of it and share it with third parties.

In an interview with Cointelegraph, Alastair Johnson, CEO of e-commerce and ID platform Nuggets, said that by placing users at the forefront of the process, blockchain ID systems can both empower individuals and cut costs for governmental bodies:

“A blockchain ID system, conversely, adopts a user-centric approach, eliminating central points of failure by empowering individuals with self-sovereign possession over their own data. A blockchain ID system would not require government bodies to store or share personal information in order for individuals to access services.”