How safe is your digital identity? That’s a very timely question a company called Liquid Avatar Technologies Inc. is dealing with in a very novel way.
Increasingly, our lives are lived online and every time we buy our music, groceries, or clothes, sign up for something, order an Uber, and of course interact with our social media, our digital identity grows. Unfortunately, the risk of identity theft also increases. With nearly 60% of everyone on the planet already online, the need to protect digital identity is more crucial than ever. That’s why there’s a burgeoning industry offering a wide range of identity management solutions.
At the enterprise level, there are companies like Okta that secure workforce and customer transactions. While there are many other SaaS solutions, like Microsoft Azure, that focus on security and authentication of data, there are also companies offering free cybersecurity products. One of the newcomers is Liquid Avatar Technologies. Their Liquid Avatar Mobile App (downloadable from the App Store or Google Play) was launched in February, 2021.
In discussing the need to manage digital identity, Liquid Avatar Technologies CEO and President, David Lucatch, starts by reminding us what the internet used to look like. “If you think about the origins of the internet, everyone was allowed to be anonymous because the technology didn’t exist for people to be able to prove who they were.”
Now, proving who you are matters very much on the internet.
Back in the day, the potential of the internet while not apparent to many people, was very evident to Lucatch. “I started at the beginning of e-commerce. And at that time, many people said, ‘no one would shop online.’ I believed that everyone would shop online.” Lucatch also believes that when engaging in e-commerce and all other online activities, a person’s digital identity should be under their control and management. It’s hard to imagine anyone could disagree with that, but Lucatch goes one step further. “It’s a basic human right that users should benefit from the use of their identity and personal data.” And ‘benefitting’ from one’s digital identity is the intriguing part of the Liquid Avatar Technologies’ proposition.
What’s unique about the company’s flagship product, the Liquid Avatar Mobile App, is that it allows you to create multiple avatars, or identities. You choose what information about you is associated with any given avatar. The consent or permission to use that data is under your control. You can have as many, or as few, customized avatars as you like for your various online activities. Most importantly, the information linked to each avatar can be authenticated; because while you can have multiple avatars you can only have one Liquid Avatar account. To verify that, an account is set up using biometric facial recognition software and is blockchain secured. But security isn’t the only benefit Liquid Avatar provides consumers.
According to Lucatch, “Because ‘you are you’ and you’ve proven ‘you are you,’ marketers are willing to do more with you. They’re willing to give you offers and opportunities because you’re a real person. They’re not now marketing to fake people or to bots or hackers.” The value associated with providing vendors with a cohort of authentic customers or users is what creates a revenue stream for the Liquid Avatar App. “When a user engages with one of those offers, the marketplace vendor pays us a commission or a fee for engaging with that audience. Now, why that is so important is because, again, one user, one account.” Other revenue streams include a Cashback Program and their affiliated KABN branded Visa card.
Lucatch is quick to point out that the company never charges users for the services they provide and significantly, “We never sell or rent data.” He’s encouraged by the prevailing surge of legislation in various jurisdictions enshrining data privacy rights and the increasing acknowledgement by many data users that the data privacy playing field needs to be levelled. Lucatch believes, “that everyone will manage to control their online identity and their personal data. And it’s because it’s being supported by governments, regulatory bodies and industry.”
There’s no doubt the safety of digital identity should be taken seriously. According to Comparitech, between 2005 and 2020 there were over 12,000 reported data breaches in the U.S. alone. Account takeovers were up 72 percent in 2019 over the previous year, and perhaps surprisingly, in 2020, almost half of all fraud reports in the U.S. were from millennials. GenZ and millennials are the early adopter demographic that Liquid Avatar has targeted – which explains the very colorful and almost playful attitude of the Liquid Avatar platform. But David Lucatch is confident that it’s only a matter of time before apps like Liquid Avatar will be adopted by a much broader demographic of online users. According to Lucatch, “Consumers have no choice in the future but to basically have a wallet to control and manage digital identity. So, we want to be their choice. We’re offering them a free service, great opportunities, gamification and lots of other services around the opportunity to manage and control that identity. And we believe we have an opportunity to win in the marketplace.”
Making the online world a more secure place is a noble mission. Liquid Avatar Technologies is also focused on supporting businesses as they look to issue digital or verifiable credentials and need to verify credentials, like those for vaccinations, work, education, e-commerce and more. The Company is developing Software as a Service (SaaS) business programs that will allow any size business to engage in the new world of digital identity.
The company’s solutions allow avatars to extend far beyond just a flat emoji that we use as personalized self-expression. This positions Liquid Avatar Technologies on the leading edge of what could become our “new normal” in this digital age.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Liquid Avatar Technologies Inc. is a client of BTV-Business Television. The article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.