OneID Grabs $7M From Khosla & North Bridge To Replace Usernames And Passwords
Fragmentation isn?t just a problem reserved for mobile operating systems, it?s inherent to our online identities as well. Our digital identities exist in a loose and fragmented consortium of usernames, email addresses, scree names, social media accounts, passwords, and sitekeys. Many have tried to capture the single sign-on holy grail, and most have failed, because as much as we are inconvenienced by fragmentation, no one wants to hand over their personal information to one entity.
Last month, we covered the beta launch of OneID, a San Jose-based startup founded by Steve Kirsch, a serial entrepreneur, Silicon Valley veteran, and one of the co-inventors of the optical mouse. With OneID, Kirsch is looking to topple the current username/password digital identity paradigm and replace it with a system that uses public key cryptography to assert users? identities across PCs, smartphones, tablets, and more.
There are already a number of services which attempt to handle the single sign-on problem, and while OneID wants to eliminate passwords from memory, oftentimes these identity plays just end up in offering one more competing standard, rather than achieving the opposite. (See Randall Munroe?s humorous take.) If the service can offer real value to the end user, and reach the kind of scale required to make a difference, there?s hope ? but that?s a tall order.
Kirsch says that OneID?s value prop is that it operates like a secure Facebook Connect, keeping payment and address info secure by encrypting it in its distributed architecture, which is only then readable by your particular mobile device. As with single sign-on plays, the goal is to reduce friction and fraud inherent to authentication (and security) that is part of every digital financial transaction. That, and on the consumer side, it comes with the benefit of speeding up the sign in and check out process by way of single-click purchases ? like Amazon one-click without the login.
While it?s a big infrastructure play and a tall order, OneID has