Money20/20 USA Recap for Digital Identity 2023

Trinsic’s CEO, Riley Hughes, and head of business development, Nick Reinhart, attended Money20/20 in Las Vegas during the week of October 27th, 2023. Riley and Nick talked to dozens of identity leaders, witnessing big announcements from some of the most influential companies, and these are their biggest takeaways:

Identity is everywhere in fintech

Money20/20 is a fintech conference, and as we’ve pointed out before, we believe IDtech is the new Fintech. As financial technology innovation has grown over the past two decades, the need for better forms of digital identity has become apparent. Fintechs have to perform “Know Your Customer” (KYC) checks when onboarding new clients. Right now this means scanning a government document, taking a selfie, and performing checks in the background so the financial institution knows the user is trusted. This crucial KYC step is a source of cost for fintechs and friction for the users of these platforms.

Reusable identity announcements were big news

Identity verification companies know that their business is changing, and the announcements from Money20/20 are a clear indication. Many companies time their big product launches for conferences like Money20/20 to create buzz. There was even a press briefing stage where reporters could listen and ask questions to companies making announcements.

Reusable identity is different from self-sovereign identity

When we talk about reusable identity, it really means packaging up an identity verification that can be used again without having to reverify someone using a new government ID scan. Reusable identity products are not necessarily self-sovereign, interoperable, or user-controlled. Many of the initial product launches are single companies rolling out products within their existing ecosystems of customers.

That said, we believe that products honoring user control and standards will win in the long run. We’ve built Trinsic’s infrastructure using W3C verifiable credentials, and we’re adding features like passkeys to give users security and control of their data without compromising usability.

The conversation about reusable identity has shifted from “why” to “how”

After 5+ years in the decentralized identity space, this was the first conference where we didn’t need to explain reusable identity. Everyone is either doing it or planning for it already! It’s not a matter of “why” a company should pursue reusable identity, but instead the questions are all about “how” reusable identity will be adopted and “how” the business model will shape out. While everyone is interested in the concept, companies are still trying to figure out what are the best form factors for reaching widespread adoption and creating the optimal user journey.

The business models of reusable ID are still a big question

Reusable identity can be viewed as a threat to businesses that charge to verify users. While the idea behind reusable identity is sound, the actual implementation and economic model is still uncertain, even for companies that are already launching products. Some companies believe that you should charge more money for an upfront verification, while charging less every time the identity is reused. Others are taking the opposite approach and charging less for the upfront verification, then charging a premium for the re-verification because it’s a frictionless experience. Other companies are contemplating a shift from a transaction-based business to a subscription business and see reusable ID as a way to get there.

Wallets will be everywhere

There is no clear winner to the “wallet wars” yet. People might have dozens of wallets on their phone just like they have dozens of applications on their phone. There may be an identity wallet embedded in banking applications. There will certainly be identity components integrated into Apple and Google wallets. Given the proliferation of wallets and standards, it doesn’t seem like we’re close to having “one wallet to rule them all.”

Final thoughts from Money20/20 and beyond

Riley shared some final takeaways in a LinkedIn post about the sentiment surrounding digital identity at Money20/20. For a deeper dive on the idea of reusable identity, Trinsic published our thoughts and observations in an e-book called “The future of identity is reusable.” In many ways, Money20/20 was validation that our view on the market is very close to the reality. For people who are interested in learning more about reusable identity, we highly recommend downloading the free e-book. And for those who are interested in how Trinsic can help power your reusable identity strategy, please get in touch.

Zack Jones

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