Cloud Software Firm Workday Acquires Trusted Key For Blockchain Authentication

On July 18th, software giant Workday purchased blockchain identity startup Trusted Key. The Seattle-founded company provides an identity ‘wallet’ for verification across businesses and enterprise with a shared userbase.

Workday was founded in 2005 by former PeopleSoft executives following PeopleSoft’s hostile acquisition by Oracle, and has already achieved a $48 billion market cap.

Meanwhile, Trusted Key was launched in 2016 by former Microsoft and, interestingly, Oracle executives. It was acquired for an undisclosed sum.

Thursday’s report comes over a year after the blockchain identity platform raised $3 million in a seed round. Back then, CEO Amit Jasuja explained that users are proofed by a trusted entity just once, then can “access a large network of providers that trust the proofing processes without incurring the constant costs of identity validation and complexity of passwords.”

The firm essentially creates a single, trusted digital identity which is controlled by the user. This ID is then used across multiple organizations who have agreed that they trust the verifying source. So, the user doesn’t have to go through verification and authentication every time they want to share their credentials.

How does blockchain factor in? Trusted Key’s single ID is referred to as a digital identity wallet, holding many credentials for one person. Underlying the wallet is the firm’s permissioned blockchain, securing and validating the data to prevent fraud.

“While the world of work has been transformed by technology, credentials haven’t changed much — today, they’re still largely offline and paper-based, and verifying a credential often requires a lot of manual effort and time,” wrote Jon Ruggiero, SVP at Workday, in a blog post teasing the Trusted Key announcement earlier this month. “With our new platform, Workday wants to change that by bringing credentials into the digital age.”

Workday managed to purchase the startup after Trusted Key’s customers wanted the identity platform to grow with the help of a larger software business, claimed Amit Mital of Kernel Labs, where Trusted Key began.

Whether the acquisition will form part of Workday’s project on Job-Creds, with Sovrin and IBM, for employee self-sovereign identity (SSI) is not clear. But, Ruggiero did share an example of a job seeker using a blockchain-based ID in his blog post before the Trusted Key sale was revealed.

Workday and Trusted Key, along with the partners on Job-Creds, are members of the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF). The DIF aims to set standards and develop a fair system for digital identity. It also includes big names such as Microsoft, MasterCard, and Accenture.