A Chat with Ryan Worsley, CTO at Blockchain Operating Platform: iov42

Iov42 is a blockchain-inspired identity platform for building trust through shared use-cases between organisations.

Within any given online interaction or transaction, records are normally held by a singular central platform. This leaves the data open to corruption and manipulation. At iov42, we’ve developed a technology which allows these records to instead be shared between organisations with shared interests. This means that multiple identities – e.g. stakeholders – are able to access and view them, safe in the knowledge that the data is kept correct at all times and can be trusted.

This is where blockchain comes in: each individual transaction acts like a link in a chain of records. It’s possible to easily see and correct any issues in the ledger automatically as it’s shared between organisations that keep the data in check using our patent-pending consensus mechanism.

By building on this model – providing the basis for fully trusted citizen identities and ensuring immutability of data – iov42 is increasing transparency and accountability online. We’re providing organisations with the peace of mind that their interactions are secure and that all rules and regulations that are relevant to their use-case are being met.

For example, we recently launched an application called Timber Chain, which uses the iov42 platform to provide security across the timber supply chain. The movement of commodities, and their required certifications, are all recorded on the Timber Chain, which can be accessed by multiple stakeholders. This is helping to make the market much less fragmented and more efficient, and reducing error and corruption.
 
 
iov42 | The identity platform for building trust
 

What motivates you to work with iov42?

 
For me, shared values are so important. From the moment I began working with iov42, I could see that they were developing technology with a strong social conscience and integrity. The way they purposefully aim to deliver genuine improvement, and acknowledge the potential consequences of technology, aligns perfectly with my own ethos.

Technology, particularly in the blockchain or distributed ledger space can have a really positive impact on humanity, through our institutions and social systems. However, it must be developed ethically and always considering the potential systemic consequences that may arise, so as not to do any harm. It could be said that our ethos summarises nicely as: move slowly and fix things.

I’ve also had my eyes opened to the extensive possibilities offered by blockchain and distributed ledger technology. I’m fascinated by the potential this technology holds to really strengthen digital security and build an online world that rests on trust and transparency.
 

 

How would you describe your role as CTO at iov42?

 
Throughout every stage of development, I’m always trying to keep the bigger picture in mind, considering the impact and outcomes that the technology will have on people’s lives.

Practically, this involves building a team of engineers that are empowered to think broadly and deeply about the work that they’re doing. We aim to protect their time and headspace so that they can deliver truly outstanding technology. We hire grown-ups and treat them like grown-ups; this means we allow everyone to manage their time, workplace and workload as they see fit. This empowerment has meant we’ve developed a calm, focused culture of deep expertise and curiosity about both the kind of problems we’re solving and the kind of world our technology could play a part in shaping.

Being mindful helps us to ensure that the tool we’re ultimately delivering is positive and improves outcomes for every user. We’re building a platform that guarantees trust, so making sure the technology itself can be trusted to safeguard against misuse or manipulation is the cornerstone of what we do.
 

How has the perception of blockchain changed throughout the pandemic?

 
The pandemic has accelerated the role of digital in every area of our lives and has fast-tracked our reliance on technology. As a result, we’ve seen the potential for online corruption and fast-growing digital attacks increase dramatically. It’s become abundantly clear that we need to be providing protection that can be scaled up to equal this threat. And blockchain is now giving us a glimpse of that possibility.

Many people have rightly become wary of blockchain. For the most part, this stigma is due to its association with the largely unregulated cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, the utility of which is still held under great suspicion, not to mention its negative environmental impacts. But with the right approach and considerations, blockchain based technologies can be used to build highly useful technologies that are safe, secure, and transparent. Technology which also, crucially, doesn’t significantly waste energy and damage the climate.

That’s what we’re doing at iov42. Our blockchain-inspired technology addresses a number of the issues associated with more traditional blockchains. We’re replacing strict anonymity with trustable identities, ensuring that data held on the platform is immutable, and offering security through a decentralised distribution of data amongst a set of organisations that come together to solve their particular set of problems.
 

What can we hope to see from iov42 in the future?

 
There are so many potential applications for iov42’s technology. Our fundamental paradigms are about identities, claims and endorsements, assets and accounts; so the sky could really be the limit! Building upon our work with our Timber Chain, it will be possible to offer increased security and trust for transactions across a whole host of interacting and interconnecting supply chains. Particularly within the agricultural industry, we aim to markedly increase the transparency of commodity trading, drive forward the fight against climate change by enabling greater sustainability, and hold the big players neglecting these to account.

But it definitely doesn’t stop there. Across almost every organisation, there are interactions and processes occurring online which are currently at risk from corruption, errors, and a lack of transparent security. We aim to apply our technology to meet these needs and deliver trust and accountability across the entire online landscape.