Coinbase just released details of a new partnership with a blockchain startup called Distributed Systems, ostensibly to tackle the potential of blockchain technology to manage online identities. The 5 employees on Distributed Systems will join the Coinbase team researching identity solutions.
In the somewhat vague announcement, a Coinbase representative talked at length about the potential for using crypto technology to provide simple proof-of-identity online, and the potential for this space.
Tangible information was sparse in the post, but the key of the announcement was as follows:
“I’m pleased to announce the Distributed Systems team is joining Coinbase to help us work on this opportunity. Distributed Systems is an incredibly thoughtful team that has been working on decentralized identity solutions. With their work on the Clear Protocol and GraphQL, Nikhil, Alex, and the rest of the team have gotten their hands dirty in the technical detail of using blockchains to improve how identities mesh with digital products. We believe decentralized identity systems represent a transformative shift in our relationship with technology, and we can’t wait to work on these opportunities together at Coinbase”.
The Players Involved
Coinbase is one of the largest entities anywhere in the crypto space with a valuation of billions. There were intense rumors lately of an acquisition by Facebook, which demonstrates Coinbase’s positioning as more than an exchange. Given that KYC/AML is their game, branching into identity management makes sense.
As for Distributed Systems, the company is mysterious so far, without a website and little information available other than the research articles they’ve published on Medium and their aim to give users control of their data. The company was based in San Francisco, and will presumably join the Coinbase offices in the same city. They currently have 5 team members who will now join Coinbase.