At iov42, our ultimate aim is simple: to help create a digital society built of interconnected groups that can fully trust one another.
We help organisations that rely entirely on their users’ trust, but whose processes or products aren’t as robust as they could be. Our product enforces the organisation’s rules & requirements in a way that provides verification, so that their users can have peace of mind when dealing with each other. It’s done through an identity-centric platform inspired by blockchain, but with pioneering technology that makes it simpler, faster, and more secure.
But what do we mean when we say “inspired by blockchain?”
First, it would be helpful to give a quick overview of what blockchain is.
Blockchain technology—first made popular by the rise of Bitcoin and subsequent cryptocurrencies—is the most widely known example of distributed ledger technology (DLT). Put very simply, a DLT is a digital system made up of independent computers that record, share, and synchronise transactions. DLTs aim to offer an efficient, secure, and reliable alternative to traditional, centralised ledgers, which are vulnerable to fraud and cyber attacks.
To understand what’s unique about blockchain, it may be easiest to imagine a growing chain of “blocks,” each of which contain transaction records. Each block is distinguished with an unalterable cryptographic signature (i.e. hash) that prevents any block from being tampered with once it’s added to the continuously growing chain.
And that’s more or less all you need to know to have a very basic understanding of blockchain.
But now we come back to the question of what iov42 actually means when we say our platform is inspired by blockchain.
Back in 2016, when the idea for iov42 was still nothing more than a few sketches on a bar napkin, our founders saw an opportunity to use DLT to realise a vision for a new type of internet, one where value can be exchanged as quickly as data is now—The internet of value, or IOV.
In order to make that a reality, though, we knew we had to overcome the gap between the technological hype of blockchain and real world application. That meant we had to create something that built upon the well-advertised features of blockchain—such as security, transparency, and immutability—while leveraging a combination of standard and pioneering technologies to make our technology scalable, interoperable, regulatory-compliant, and energy efficient.
The result? iov42’s identity-centric platform, designed to codify an organisation’s processes and provide proof that their rules are being followed, so that users can completely trust what’s happening.
What features of our platform are similar to those you see in other blockchains?
First, we have an immutable store. Everything that happens on the iov42 platform is permanently recorded and, thanks to cryptographic signatures, cannot be surreptitiously altered. This enables platform users to view the entire history of a transaction and drastically reduces the opportunity for fraud.
Second, for transactions to be approved, consensus must be reached between multiple parties. One of the most critical aspects of any DLT is the algorithm it uses to reach consensus. Consensus algorithms enable transactions to be authenticated and validated without the need to trust or rely on a central authority. It is by consensus that the parties of a blockchain network agree on what the “true” state of the system is at any point in time.
And like conventional blockchains, iov42 eliminates the need for a middleman. With a consensus mechanism, decentralised networks, and cryptographic security, our platform streamlines due diligence processes, reducing the need for middlemen to verify transactions.
What do we do that’s different from conventional blockchains?
We need to start off by clarifying that iov42 is not a blockchain. We do not “block” transaction records together like traditional blockchains do. Instead, each transaction on our platform goes through individually, which helps with processing efficiency. And instead of recording a linear sequence of events from block to block, we’ve developed a system called Proofmesh® which weaves together multiple, immutable lines of actions for greater security that scales with the network.
And instead of re-purposing one of the existing consensus algorithms on the market, we have developed our own, patent-pending consensus mechanism, Distributed Random Master Election (DRME). DRME follows a Proof-of-Authority model, which delivers high levels of performance and energy efficiency when compared to Proof-of-Stake, Proof-of-Work, and other consensus mechanisms.
Also, iov42 is permissioned, meaning that only identified participants are allowed to interact on our platform. Some blockchain purists argue that permissioned networks aren’t as decentralised and secure as public ones. However, taking a permissioned, identity-centric approach opens up a whole new realm of use cases that require high levels of security and regulatory-compliance, such as e-government services or financial institution applications.
Furthermore, our platform is based on a zoned architecture. Each permissioned “zone” is made up of a limited number of network participants that want to establish a trusted business ecosystem for various reasons, such as geographical location, industry, or even regulatory requirements. The zones can interact with each other, creating broader but still secure ecosystems. We call this the network of networks.
And unlike other DLT-powered platforms out there, iov42 isn’t focused on one niche, such as identity solutions or a single, specific asset, like a cryptocurrency. iov42’s technology supports the creation of unique identities, assets, certificates, as well as claims and endorsements, to fit the needs of almost any organisation. When this platform is combined with our API-first approach, users are able to easily access and leverage our technology, while plugging in their own processes and connecting to other systems, devices, and even blockchains.
The iov42 Mission: Helping to create a digital society built of interconnected groups that fully trust one another
As our CTO Ryan Worsley once explained, “blockchain [principles are] what we use to make our platform secure and verifiable, but that’s not actually the power of what we do…What we’ve really done is [made] identities, asset types, claims and endorsements, and all the other protocol layer features of our platform [easily accessible]… Our technology has the potential to provide mechanisms by which people can completely change how they interact with each other, and, ideally, for the better.”
Our mission—building a trusted, digital society—continues to motivate our team, every single day. Our recent collaborations underscore this commitment, such as our work to secure high-risk commodity chains and a new Proof of Concept for next-generation identity services that put users in charge of their data.
Want to learn more about how our technology can support your organisation’s needs? Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can work with your team of developers or connect you to our in-house Solutions team so we can understand how to make iov42 work for you.