We at LTP talk a lot about identity in FinTech; however, Travis Jarae and his team at One World Identity (OWI) are completely focused on identity, a foundational component to so many industries. We sat down with Travis to talk about OWI, the K(NO)W Identity Conference, and get his thoughts on identity. We hope you enjoy the conversation!
LTP: Travis, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. To introduce you to our LTP readers, tell us a bit about yourself.
Travis Jarae: Thank you for having me. I am a long-time LTP reader, so I am very excited to be here. A little bit about myself – I am the founder and CEO of One World Identity, a market intelligence firm focused on the identity industry. Before OWI, I led Google’s KYC and identity verification team for a couple of years, and I spent some time as a management consultant at Deloitte.
LTP: Tell us about One World Identity (OWI). Why leave Google to start OWI? What is your team trying to accomplish?
TJ: While at Google, I had the task of verifying the next billion users which, in turn, would enable Google Payments in countries with little to no financial services infrastructure. This project gave me the opportunity to meet brilliant programmers, business leaders, government officials, and international development leads across many different industries and countries. Nearly everyone we met was attempting to solve the same fundamental problems within their own industry silos – how to collect someone’s identity information and verify that the information collected is complete and valid.
The idea of One World Identity was born out of these conversations. We want to help break down silos across industry verticals by promoting common dialogue and cross-sector collaboration throughout the identity industry. We believe that by doing so, the entire world will benefit greatly.
LTP: What aspect of identity is most misunderstood?
TJ: Identity is often thought of as something physical and government-issued, like a passport or driver’s license, something with your name, photo, and a few pieces of information. Identity in the 21st century is about so much more than that. Your identity is a collection of attributes: everything from personal data to your internet of things devices, from your bank accounts to your health records. Identity does not stop with our personal traits but can and should be applied to things as well. By doing so, we can build a foundation for all things to connect safely and securely.
LTP: How can some of these lessons be applied broadly to financial services?
TJ: With regards to financial services, identity is often only seen as a compliance cost. Identity is much more than just ensuring compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. A robust identity regime helps financial services firms mitigate fraud losses, better assess credit worthiness, and improve their ability to provide personalized services to their customers both now and in the future. Financial services firms also realize that consumers in emerging markets may soon have the ability to use their bank-verified identity to access government social services, such as welfare and education. By enabling their customers, not only do they gain loyalty, but they also gain better, healthier, smarter – and most likely wealthier – customers.
LTP: There’s been a lot of recent global activity around identity. What factors have made identity such a hot topic?
TJ: There are some key factors helping to bring identity to the core of many conversations, such as the rise of blockchain technology, the proliferation of biometrics, and year-over-year growth in cybersecurity threats. In my opinion, nothing has had a greater impact than the rise of accessibility via mobile devices worldwide.
With more people being able to connect to the Internet, governments and the private sector are looking for new ways to connect people to products and services. As the world becomes increasingly digital, the inadequacies of the current analog identity systems and regimes are exposed. Building accessible, interoperable and universal identity systems are required before transitioning to an entirely digital economy is deemed possible. The solutions to these challenges are what we are hoping to uncover with One World Identity and the K(NO)W Identity Conference.
LTP: LTP is excited to be a partner of the K(NO)W Identity Conference in May. Why a conference and what do you want attendees to take away from the experience?
TJ: One World Identity’s mission is to drive holistic thinking. What better way to foster dialogue than to bring a group of diverse voices to the conversation? From FinTech, cybersecurity, and healthcare to VCs, regulators, and development organizations, we are bringing identity industry leaders together, in the same room, to foster innovation and collaboration.
LTP: You have a provocative keynote speaker. Tell us how Edward Snowden fits into the conference.
TJ: The trail of data that we leave from our online interactions is now central to our identity. Our data and the way in which we interact with the digital world around us now also defines who we are in an unprecedented way. Who better to kick off a conference dedicated to identity than a man who has started such an important conversation regarding the privacy of internet activity? We are thrilled for Edward Snowden to speak about the fundamental privacy and security considerations that are central to our modern identities.
LTP: Is there anything else you want to let our LTP audience know about OWI or the K(NO)W Identity conference?
TJ: We are very excited to be partnering with LTP and look forward to seeing your readers during May 15–17 in Washington D.C.
LTP: Thank you so much for speaking with us, Travis!
We hope to see you at the K(NO)W Identity Conference in Washington DC on May 15. Use LTP20 for a 20% discount.