As part of IdentityNORTH’s mandate to promote Canadian innovations and organisations, we have launched the ‘Startup Spotlight.’ Proudly supported by TD Bank, this series shines a light on emerging Canadian companies who are driving innovation across the digital ID ecosystem.   

Headquartered in Toronto, Shyft is a consent-driven data exchange platform that leverages their Shyft Network’s blockchain technology for a diverse range of transactions including, but not limited to, Digital ID, Know Your Customer (KYC), AML implementations and custom solutions. By bridging the old world foundations with the new, Shyft creates a paradigm “shyft” of universal accessibility.

What’s The Story?

Shyft was founded with the mission to address the limitations of online interactions and commerce that are created by the risky handling of data. The team’s goal is to improve the way that data is managed and treated, and to help users and organizations reclaim and reshape the way that identity, trust and credibility are viewed in the digital age. Solving for this problem could unlock entirely new data economies.

“There needs to be a new awareness among users about data ownership and sales, as well as a more granular understanding of digital identity itself.”

Who Benefits?

The Shyft team believes effective implementation of Shyft’s technology would result in massive efficiencies, cost savings, and new revenue streams for private firms, new avenues of economic enfranchisement for unbanked and underbanked individuals, and improved performance from public-sector services.

What’s the Future of Identity?

According to the Shyft team, there needs to be a new awareness among users about data ownership and sales, as well as a more granular understanding of digital identity itself. With Shyft, the team is building a network where users can grant access to specific data for a specific use and are compensated for it in a variety of ways. The new data markets that are enabled by such a system represent a massive opportunity.

The lack of cooperation across the space, as well as regulatory intimidation, are challenges that stand in the way of progress, yet are problems that Shyft is actively working to address.

What is the Ecosystem and Who are the Other Players?

In today’s ecosystem, small jurisdictions will continue to be key partners for the time being, due to their willingness to innovate and their relatively simple bureaucratic structures. Down the line, however, more participation is expected from larger jurisdictions and financial service firms.

For Shyft specifically, the team sees incumbent players linking up with Shyft to act as Trust Anchors, and to leverage their existing storage capabilities. More broadly, as these players become wiser to the efficiencies and new profit streams that technologies like Shyft enable, it is predicted that they will turn from cautious explorers to full-on collaborators and data suppliers.

The Shyft Ecosystem is comprised of Trust Anchors, Data Holders, Data Users and Nodes

What’s Next?

Shyft is working with the Government of Bermuda to deliver an eID solution, and is in various levels of conversations with other jurisdictions to adopt this technology for their populations. Shyft also has network partnerships with dozens of firms looking to become active participants in the Shyft ecosystem and provide services, build data-apps or share datasets.