In Summer of 2017, the largest data theft ever occurred, when sensitive personal records on over 147.9 million US, Canadian and British households were stolen. In the aftermath, details emerged that vulnerabilities leading to the hack were disclosed in March 2017, yet the company failed to implement a patch. Furthermore, the information that was stolen was not just passwords, but personal documents such as driver’s licenses, Social Security numbers, credit card details, email addresses, phone numbers and more. More so, many customers didn’t even know that Equifax had collected and stored all of this info, leaving many in shock after the breach.
While governments and regulators have taken steps to prevent leaks such as these, malicious actors continue to gain access to financial, medical and other sensitive data on a daily basis. The problem is that each entity that stores customer data creates a locked treasure chest that cybercriminals want to gain access to. All it takes is one breach for a person’s identity to be lost to the Dark Web.
Peer Mountain is fighting to let consumers retake control of their data by creating the “first decentralized peer-to-peer trust marketplace that connects self- sovereign identity owners with regulatory-compliant service providers.” In more simple terms, it’s a decentralized attestation (vouching) system where a person controls their own data and who they share it with. More so, shared data is a cryptographic hash, the validity of which is attested to (vouched for) by a third party. Any entity can attest, meaning that it will be up to the ecosystem to determine who is truthful and trustworthy. Examples of third party attesters are financial institutions, KYC providers, self-sovereign identity providers such as Civic, Uport etc. Peer Mountain aggregates all of this identity information into one platform and gives users the ability to control who they share their sensitive data with.
Let me give you an example of how Peer Mountain works by describing how I would use it on my next Crypto Explorers trip after landing in Switzerland. Upon arrival, I would need to rent a car. Instead of letting the rental company make copies of my passport and driver’s license, I would simply open the Peer Mountain app, swipe over my credit card details, license and passport info, which would then be validated by the company in-app. Every time I use the app to send my personal data, I’m actually signing the documents in a legally binding manner that is ZertES compliant, this means that I can use digital attestations to conduct real world business like renting a car or hotel. The car would then unlock remotely and I would gain access to it. Once I arrived at my hotel, I would share my passport details through the app, negating the need for the hotel to keep a copy. Finally, when picking up my badge, I would simply swipe over my ID to the organizers to be able to join the event. Theoretically with Peer Mountain if enough entities sign on, you would never need to carry physical ID with ever again.
All of the documents we normally carry and share, such as a passport, have their data deconstructed when entered into the Peer Mountain ecosystem. Examples of specific data points for a passport given in the whitepaper are:
Attestation that the image is good copy of a passport
Attestation that the photo matches another photo
Attestation of the content of the document Machine Readable Zone (MRZ)
Attestation of the elements of the passport individually: photo, first name(s), last name, date of birth, place of birth, nationality, passport number, passport expiration date passport issuing authority and so on…
Any of these data points can be used individually, meaning that if you need to verify your age, you don’t have to send a scanned copy of your passport to do so. A single attestation can be made against date of birth to confirm. All data points are separate and are checked irrespective of the other identifying documentation.
Several attestation providers have already signed up to use Peer Mountains API and SDK. The first target enterprises for the company will be banks and other financial institutions in Switzerland. Normally, these companies spend millions of dollars to contract expensive KYC and AML services. With Peer Mountain, these services can be decentralized and setup as micropayments every time an attestation happens. In their whitepaper Peer Mountain states they have “already obtained formal intent from two major financial services providers: one of the largest financial payment processors based in Switzerland, and a Luxembourg-regulated payment processing firm of a major German group. Both intend to adopt Peer Mountain as their compliance and service delivery solution. This should translate into a production deployment in Switzerland that should have 1 million Swiss consumers on board towards the end of 2018, ramping up to 3 million Swiss consumers on Peer Mountain by the end 2019, and production deployments in Germany and Luxembourg that will ramp up to 9 million European consumers through 2020.” So the foundation for revenue streams are already in place, what’s needed is just to roll out the system over the next few years.
There are many other interesting aspects of Peer Mountain; it will be blockchain agnostic, meaning any blockchain can run its own instance and route information back to a main unified ledger. Furthermore, it uses PMP to segment its services and allow for high transaction volume and scalability.
The Peer Mountain ecosystem is driven by the PMT token. At its heart, every time a company makes an attestation, they are paid for their services. Additionally, users also are paid a small amount for utilizing the attestation. High integrity is needed to be an attester and any negative reviews lead to a loss in PMT tokens. It’s a very easy to understand token model.
The team is led by Jed Grant, a former NATO Colonel, who transitioned into providing private intelligence with a firm called Sandstone whose services include “Discreet boutique consulting specialized in KYC/AML-CFT, due diligence, anti-fraud, asset tracing and international investigation projects for select multi-nationals, hedge funds, HNWIs and similar clients.” Additionally, he is the CEO of KYC3, one of the future attesters for Peer Mountain. Jed has a very good understanding of the blockchain space and his previous ventures show that he knows how to setup and run a successful company in this space.
Other experienced persons on the team are Dr. Markus Forster, who holds PhD in Computer Science from the University of Luxembourg and is CTO for KYC3. Federico Cardoso, co-founder and CTO for Maecenas, which I have reviewed in the past. The rest of the team, which I suggest you look at, has senior level experience with a wide range of projects. Several members of the team have blockchain experience and I feel that they will be well suited to tackle this project.
Other Due Diligence
As DD and KYC have been part of Jed’s company’s service offerings for the past several years, Peer Mountain has more than shown its transparency and adherence to regulations. The company itself is Swiss based, employing a well respected law firm. Peer Mountain also plans to review and release quarterly financial statements for its token holders. Jed’s company Sandstone and KYC3 will also provide cybersecurity services and review. All in all, Peer Mountain is one of the most complete in terms of Due Diligence I have seen for an ICO.
Peer Mountain is the highest rated project according to my Grading Sheet at the moment. The company has an experienced team, a sound business idea that can scale, full transparent and compliant company and ICO structure, etc. The meet all requirements for investment. My only issue would be how large an attestation token could grow to be; its value will be solely dependent on the amount of third party providers which join as attesters. This business development is what Peer Mountain will focus on in the first few years as it will be key for their development and growth. It’s also unclear how non-enterprise users will build on their system, further engendering token growth to the BDM abilities of the company.