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Dhiway: Powering Digital Transactions With Absolute Certainty

Satish Mohan, Founder & CTO,Pradeep KP, Co-Founder & CEO

Satish Mohan

Founder & CTO

What if you could receive all your identity & credential data straight into a mobile wallet and you could use & re-use them across different websites to verify your identity, without the need for passwords or frustrating log-in procedures? Imagine applying for a home loan by sharing all the necessary proofs straight from your mobile phone, while your bank verifies them near-instantly. Imagine auto-filling a job application form with the identification details from Aadhar Card, address from your driving license, grades from your college, and income details from your bank - everything through your mobile. This is the future of internet economy powered Dhiway, a startup based out of Bangalore. Dhiway is building India’s first digital trust platform to enable individuals and organizations to connect, share credentials, and build trust using a completely decentralized & privacy-respecting infrastructure-where literally everyone can be the center of their own web of trust.

Until now, our Internet identities have all been rooted on accounts. By moving into a cryptographically secure environment, everything from verifiable digital credentials to identity, attributes, & relationships can be proved without intermediaries. People can begin using password less authentication and intelligent authorization for faster, easier, safer, and more privacy-respecting digital experiences. On the other hand, the organizations can begin forming and maintaining lifetime private digital connections with customers, suppliers, partners, and regulators-with full audit trails for regulatory compliance.

Co-founded by Satish Mohan, Pradeep K.P, Amar Tumballi, and Sreevidya Satish who cumulate extensive experience in building open source projects and leading operations, Dhiway is one of the Stewards of the Sovrin Network, which is involved in the maintenance of a decentralized global public network enabling self-sovereign identity (SSI) on the internet. The company is also one of the founding members of Trust over IP foundation (ToIP), which is hosted at the Linux Foundation with a goal to create a robust common standard that gives people & businesses the confidence that data is coming from a trusted source, allowing them to connect, interact, and innovate at a speed and scale that’s not possible today. Selecting Dhiway as the Start-up of the Year in Blockchain & Data Exchange category was one of the easiest choices. CIO Insider got to talking with the co-founders, who helped us explore the endeavors of the company.

In conversation with Satish Mohan, Founder & CTO, Dhiway and Pradeep KP, Co-Founder & CEO, Dhiway

Pradeep, what is the challenge that Dhiway looks forward to solving for its customers?
Internet is built without a trust layer. Dhiway’s Digital Trust Platform will address the existing gap in online interactions – the brittle nature of trust and verification. Every day, we hear about operational loss, friction, and barriers while doing business, inaccurate accounting, tampered with, or plain-forged attestations and documents. It’s too expensive for a business to survive with such level of risk in their books.

For instance, consider a hospital confronting a predicament, wherein documents of one or more medical practitioners empaneled with them are tampered. It is a risk to their business and a loss to their reputation. Or, how do we know that an electrician is actually trained & licensed to perform the repair? A close look at our day-to-day interactions itself will reveal a number of such instances where we implicitly trust something or someone, because we do not possess the means to verify or the cost is prohibitive.

Dhiway’s digital trust platform enables trusted exchange of data between everything and everyone, thereby improving the efficiency of governance, ease of doing business, and enriching the customer experience and privacy. This opens up a plethora of new market opportunities that, until now, have been constrained by expensive, inefficient, proprietary, and siloed systems. The streamlined exchange of data between multiple end-points, and the ability to reduce the overhead related to verification contribute to a dramatic reduction of fraud and greater convenience for everyone involved.

Satish, I think you could take this question. What are the challenges that you confront, while building such a holistic, robust platform?
Building an interoperable trust layer that can provide real-time verification of data

at scale is a hard problem to address. The models around data exchange / data exchange and digital identity, especially the access & authorization frameworks originating from the Identity & Access Management (IAM) space, have evolved from centralized to federated to distributed. The next generation of digital identity architecture is based on the self-governance. This is decisive as the disintermediation of identity creation & management enables individuals & organizations to have better management of identity and share information securely. We believe that this approach to secured governance of identity & digital assets is fundamental to the way we will engage and interact over the public internet.

Our perspective is that digital identity is the plinth of network of relationships. Strong relationships are established on trust. Thus, the ability to empower users with management of their digital identity is essential to the success of trusted exchange of data over the internet. As with any technology intervention, the rapid adoption of digital identity & digital assets will engender attempts to disrupt these systems. However, the decentralized architecture reduces the value of a single node or unit and the usage of distributed ledger systems makes it further inordinately expensive to attempt data hijacking. Our product & service offerings are built around the design principles of security-by-design and privacy-by-design.

While ascertaining information security, how do you ensure providing an overwhelming user experience?
The Dhiway Data Exchange Platform is built around open standards created at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and distributed ledger technologies designed to support economic and transactional scalability, and ensure security, originating from cryptography and design decisions such as Zero Knowledge Proofs (ZKPs). It’s also built with the focus of allowing existing enterprise systems to connect and leverage the distributed ledger capabilities without the need of re-engineering. Thus, we inherit a secure application and infrastructure design principles in a normative manner. These relate to the best practices around data protection & security, regulatory compliance, data integrity, and transactional integrity.

The ability to empower users with management of their digital identity is essential to the success of trusted exchange of data over the internet

Furthermore, in the aftermath of India’s Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 which would create the first cross-sectoral data protection legal framework in India, and NITI Aayog’s draft for Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA), data is attracting the protection it deserves. In addition, as expert groups such as NIST continue to publish Special Publications around identity proofing and digital verification protocols, we respond and collaborate through our presence in the standards organizations, aim to create vendor neutral technology specifications and standards, which can be adopted and implemented by anyone in this space.

The key aspects of a data exchange revolve around four questions – (1) Whether the data being presented in the assertion is accurate & un-tampered? (2) Whether the individual (or anything such as edge devices and IoT objects) presenting the assertion is who they claim to be? (3) Whether the origin or the source of data can be verified? (4) Whether the data source is credible? The machine readable digital data interchange mechanisms can address all four of the above and bring about efficiency in business processes.

The only way to make security, privacy and data governance ubiquitous is to provide the end-consumers with safe defaults, which address the intention and action gap. Using cues in the user experience as seen on the mobile app, we are able to nudge the user to transact securely without running the risk of compromising data or privacy. The capability to uniquely identify and verify all the data objects and data assets which are exchanged through our platform without storing, viewing or aggregating is also an assertion that the users can verify.

Where do you stand in terms of adapting to the latest tech-trends and delivering innovations?
With blockchain technology now becoming a mature & widely adopted component of the IT initiatives of industry leaders, we are increasingly and swiftly moving towards verifiable digital identity and credentials. Dhiway, along with 28 other organizations, is the founding member of ToIP Foundation, which is focused on enabling the growth of machine-human trust for data exchange over the public internet. We contribute to the development of governance standards for public utility services, which includes providing distributed ledger services and

application & service ecosystems, in addition to actively participating in the standardization around the communication & data exchange protocols.

Our approach to enabling innovations for our end-customers is through continuous participation in open source projects and open standards bodies. Through this, Dhiway has been able to quickly productize enterprise-ready Digital Trust Platform as well as becoming a preferred technology partner of organizations planning to transit into the holistic digital ecosystem.

We set examples through our solutions. For instance, our purpose-built distributed ledger layer transforms any type of data into Verifiable Credentials, allows scale up, and is designed to process transactions in parallel. Built-in compliance with emerging open standards, including W3C DIDs, and W3C Verifiable Credentials, the solution offers multi-level permissioning, encrypted transactions and state-nominated proof of stake, forkless upgrade and much more.

(L-R) Amar Tumballi, Pradeep K.P, Satish Mohan and Sreevidya Satish

According to a report, the worldwide spending on cybersecurity is going to reach $133.7 billion by 2022. Where is Dhiway headed in the years to come, Pradeep?
We see that the industry leaders are now increasingly considering the adoption of blockchain and related technologies as a key component of their five year strategic imperatives (according to Deloitte Global Blockchain Survey 2020). This implies the recognition of maturity of the distributed ledger based IT architecture as well as a preparation for the models that require large & complex systems to transform with full audit capabilities and track/trace systems in place. The heavy investments in cybersecurity indicate the way global companies are preparing to handle the increase in user-base and transaction volumes. We see this as an opportunity to reinforce our approach towards providing a full portfolio of services that ascertain secure & scalable management of digital assets of an organization.

Our vision is to make the world more transparent and trusted, using digital frameworks that can be universally referenced, understood, and consumed. And we continue to work on approaches that address the range of topics aligned with our vision. These include raising awareness around the self-governance models of data privacy, and developing & democratizing the tools & frameworks that help users to securely & safely manage their identity & credentials. Human-computer interactions are undergoing interesting developments through rich assistive technologies like voice and tactile. There are niche, novel areas of research that we are engaged with in order to explore the possibility of how these approaches can help towards the UN SDGs and other related goals.

Along with our work on digital identity for users, we are also working on some early prototypes around edge devices, especially non-screen devices which are popular as sensors and similar systems input sources.

“Dhiway’s digital trust platform will address the existing gap in online interactions – the brittle nature of trust and verification”

The events of the last six months have very clearly brought out the extent of weakness in our overall digital identity framework. The ability to use Trust as a mechanism to ensure the widest possible capture and enumeration, the creation of trusted signaling mechanisms that can help identify vulnerability of its constituents, the constant verifiability and the optimization of time & cost for the completion of various value add transactions - will catapult the Blockchain and related technologies to the next level of proliferation across the Digital Environment.

Our sustained ongoing interactions at the policy level on the ToIP ( as part of the founding member Group ) will help us contribute to the next big development in the technology space – i.e defining a complete architecture for Internetscale digital trust that combines both cryptographic trust at the machine layer and human trust at the business, legal, and social layers.

Early this month we launched SEQR, a free mobile app to discover the data behind the QR. This QR scanner app will warn users against deceptive URLs, misdirections and possible unsafe transactions. It will enable users to scan any QR code with absolute certainty and engage safely in transactions over the internet.

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Dhiway: Powering Digital Transactions With Absolute Certainty