This is one of those ideas that made me go: golly, why didn’t I think of that? It solves a very fundamental problem in this world, is dirt cheap and is extremely easy to develop and deploy.
MyID is an OpenID provider. I have written about OpenID in the past. It is a platform for on-line identity authentication. It is used by a large number of people, including Google and Yahoo (Microsoft is looking into it).
Most importantly, the implementation is extremely simple and there are already numerous pieces of software written for it. So, developing an OpenID provider is something that should just take minutes to do.
However, MyID.is put a twist on it by tying the on-line identities to real-world identities. So, you need to prove whom you pretend to be on-line. It does this by tying everything down to a credit card, ala Paypal.
When you register, you need to provide it with your name, a credit card number and a real-world address. They then charge you a random nominal fee of between â‚¬2 to â‚¬5 and they mail you a secret key via snail mail. To verify your identity, you need to enter the secret key and the amount they charged you on your card.
In one fell swoop, they have just tied your on-line identity to your credit card. This means that you can prove who you say you are and if necessary, criminals can be tracked down.
Obviously, there are privacy issues involved but users are not giving out more information than we normally do whenever we go shopping online. Since they use OpenID, the on-line identity can be immediately used on numerous sites.
Of course, there is no reason why their business model cannot be replicated. Barrier to entry is virtually non-existent. All that you’ll need is a cheap server, the free OpenID software, a credit-card processor and a printer (for printing the secret keys). Nothing could be simpler plus it can all be automated.
Anyone interested in starting one up themselves?
PS: My head has already churned out a number of value-added services that can be tacked onto this. Golly!