Proving something about yourself in a digital world should be fast, easy and secure. How are blockchains useful in managing verifiable credentials, decentralized IDs and other tokenized assets?
Nick Dazé, founder and CEO of Heirloom, discusses the no-code tools
his team is creating for a trusted and tamper-proof environment for identity verification protocols.
Combining blockchain technology identity management gives us complete control over our identities, high security to our personal information and a way to store and share our identities across multiple platforms.
Hi, I'm Lauren Weymouth, your host of All About Blockchain. For new listeners, we talk about blockchain use cases and what's possible with this technology, where it's gonna take us in the next three to five years. We interview academics from the University Blockchain Research Initiative, a program launched by Ripple in 2018. This is actually our fifth year of R&D. And we talk with entrepreneurs we have partnered with that are building meaningful projects on the XRP Ledger.
Nick Daze (01:26):
Thanks for having me, Lauren.
Lauren Weymouth (01:28):
I wanna get into the down and dirty of what Heirloom is creating, but before we go into all that, when was the moment that the light bulb turned on for you of what blockchain technology can do?
Nick Daze (01:42):
Really what clicked for me, I was, to be perfectly candid, a skeptic for a while, and my co-founder and CTO Julian has been in this space since about 2014. And at first, I bugged him over a beer and was like, What is this blockchain stuff?" he was really instrumental in, in the light bulb going off for me, and as a guy that's been building software my whole career, really reframing blockchains as databases, they're a flavor of databases, our whole world runs on databases. But blockchains are the first databases that don't rely on one person or one team of people to maintain them, make sure they're accurate, make sure they're up and running, and make sure that they stay online. Right?
So, uh, databases that can be long-lived and that can contain data that's long-lived, that can outlast the lifespan of any company, that's a really powerful idea because every bit of data that's been in every database since the invention of databases has relied on a company to pay for it and maintain it. Right? If you're a startup and you have an AWS bill and you're loading all of your users' photos and comments and things into that, that database the minute you stop paying that bill, right, Amazon's gonna shut it down (laughs) and delete and all that data will be lost.
It might sound esoteric, but the average startup lasts three to five years, and the average publicly traded company lasts 21 years. that's a lot shorter or less long-lived than a lot of people, I think, think.
Lauren Weymouth (03:23):
Yeah, I mean, now we're going for hundreds, thousands of years because it's ephemeral. It becomes-
Nick Daze (03:27):
Lauren Weymouth (03:28):
When it's controlled by multiple companies, individuals around the world, it then becomes indestructible.
Nick Daze (03:34):
Yeah, it's, it's really ... I'm gonna be nerdy with you. Uh, (laughs) am I safe to be nerdy with you?
Lauren Weymouth (03:39):
You are safe to geek out, come on.
Nick Daze (03:40):
It's one of the few, uh, really beautiful value propositions of pre-digital technology, of- of Web zero technology. Think about book, right? You get about a megabyte of data that requires no battery and no energy, and if properly maintained, it can last hundreds, uh, of years, maybe thousands. that's really resilient data storage.
Lauren Weymouth (04:04):
Nick Daze (04:04):
And we've been struggling as a civilization with data storage since we invented computers. I mean, even dust off some old CDs that you burned 20 years ago, and some of them are gonna stop working. There's bit rot and all that stuff, right? So-
Lauren Weymouth (04:18):
Even if they don't stop working, I've got a drawer full of memory sticks that I have no idea what they're doing.
Nick Daze (04:22):
Exactly. So, think about it this way, right? I just said that the average publicly traded company lives 21 years, Bitcoin's 15 years old this year. Ripple's 10 or 11 or 12. 11, right?
Lauren Weymouth (04:37):
Turn 10 in October.
Nick Daze (04:38):
10, right, so the-
Lauren Weymouth (04:38):
Nick Daze (04:38):
... XRP Ledger is 10. Ethereum's seven or eight. They're still young, but they're getting there. And we're ... And I am much more bullish on, uh, on the XRP Ledger or Bitcoin or Ethereum being around in 10 or 20 years than I am about some publicly traded startup companies. that was a really esoteric point, but, uh, you asked what got me interested in blockchains or when did the light bulb go off. And for me, as a software guy, it was realizing this isn't just about money. It's about data, and blockchains are humankind's first data storage medium that is failure proof or failure tolerant, right?
it's resilient. It's long-lived, and it doesn't rely on one party to, keep it up and running. Obviously, there are trade-offs currently, and this varies ledger to ledger. But the trade-offs are typically cost or transaction time, et cetera. those are a couple of the ways that the XRP Ledger really excels. But also across the entire space, this'll be a solved problem in 10 or 20 years, right? it will get faster. it will get less expensive. So I'm really, really bullish on blockchains in general as a storage medium, and building applications on top of that is really exciting to me.
Lauren Weymouth (05:57):
Okay. So I introduced Heirloom as a no code tools for enterprise scale applications. What does that mean?
Nick Daze (06:03):
No code tools are really important, I think. And something that I think a lot of us in the tech space overlook is that even if you and I are personally not computer scientists, which neither of us are to my knowledge.
Lauren Weymouth (06:20):
[inaudible 00:06:20] nope.
Nick Daze (06:20):
Uh, we're still a lot more technically minded and exposed to these ideas on a far more frequent basis-
Lauren Weymouth (06:28):
We're trying to be.
Nick Daze (06:29):
... than your-
Lauren Weymouth (06:29):
Nick Daze (06:29):
... yeah, (laughs) than your average person. And your average smart person that's living their life and raising a family and carrying a job, and they're dentists or, or carpenters or whatever kind of, uh, occupations these people have. And they don't have the time and energy to learn how to write a smart contract for example. So, we really believe at Heirloom that making these tools, exposing these technologies to normal, smart people that want to move on with their life, they want to do a job, maybe with blockchain flavored tools, and then move on with their life, that is the key, we think, to adoption.
So simply defined, no code tools are tools, software typically, that don't require you to be technically, minded or- programmatically minded in order to leverage those tools. But think about it this way, Instagram's a no code tool for sharing photos.
Lauren Weymouth (07:26):
Nick Daze (07:26):
Microsoft Word's a no code tool for writing a document. Before those products existed, you kinda had to know how to write software in order to do those things, which means either only coders did those things or nobody did those things. Once the tool comes out and it's simple and it's easy to use, well, it, it catches fire, and it takes the world by storm. And we think that what we're building will help do that for, for blockchains.
Lauren Weymouth (07:50):
Well, on behalf of everyone, thank you for making it more user-friendly and for getting it to be mainstream. we've already acknowledged all the benefits of blockchain, but there are some issues right now of people adopting it because it is not always easy and not always-
Nick Daze (08:04):
Lauren Weymouth (08:04):
... user-friendly, so creating a platform or tools that puts it in the hands of the everyday user is amazing.
Nick Daze (08:10):
Lauren Weymouth (08:10):
Thank you. what is Heirloom's mission statement or what are you building?
Nick Daze (08:17):
So we wanna make a universal platform for identity-
Lauren Weymouth (08:22):
Nick Daze (08:22):
... built on top of the blockchain. We think that the next wave of managing your and my identity is not gonna rely on Web 2.0 or earlier apps and services, We're gonna want to be Web 3.0 native. We're gonna wanna have unique identifiers on blockchains that are portable, meaning they're not trapped on any one app or platform. we wanna put the keys, the private keys, associated with those identifiers and the data attributed to those identifiers, put those keys into the hands of- of everyday people, and allow them to have greater choice and greater flexibility and greater, portability, in the next 10 or 20 years of new applications that are going to be built.
Lauren Weymouth (09:11):
Nick Daze (09:12):
Lauren Weymouth (09:13):
... using jargon, what- what is like a story that we can share of what that actually means? Like does it mean, you know, I- I carry my driver's license with me, and that identifies-
Nick Daze (09:23):
Lauren Weymouth (09:23):
... who I am when I wanna travel, when I'm crossing state or country lines. Is that a digital identity that I no longer have to have this physical card, that I can prove myself otherwise?
Nick Daze (09:35):
It- yes, it absolutely can be. Now some of those big use cases like government ID are going to require governments to get onboard-
Lauren Weymouth (09:44):
Nick Daze (09:45):
... with the ecosystem, which let's be pragmatic, will take some time. That said, I am absolutely confident sitting here in the room with you right now that on some timescale, call it five, 10, 15 years, governments will be leveraging these technologies.
Lauren Weymouth (10:00):
I did recently read that California was onboard with the DMV.
Nick Daze (10:03):
Exactly right. that was recently announced,I think in the last month or two that, that the State of California is going to be building a private blockchain for the DMV to register driver's license information. And it's a perfect use case. And we think something else that I wanna be humble and I wanna be humane about is that I take for granted as an American the stability of government services and the privilege I have, in kind of minding my own business and living my life.
But a story that really moved me is we recently were doing some interviews for new team members at Heirloom, and we interviewed, a designer from Ukraine. she brought up proactively as we got deeper into the interview process that, she said, "Look, I- I- I swear to you that my art degree from this university," I- I can't remember which university she was from and I don't wanna misname it, but she said, "I- I promise you all of this is true and real, but just so you know ahead of time, my s- my university's been bombed in the war.
And so if you were to try to do a background check on me, like there's no one to pick up the phone. There's no one to answer the line. There's no one to back me up with these claims, so I just wanna be upfront about that," which we really, I really appreciated and respected her, being so forthcoming and also, of course, I'm gonna be sensitive to that dynamic.
But that's an example of a use case, an instance, a sad one, where there are very important claims about our lives and about what makes you, Lauren, you, what makes you unique and special and economically valuable and socially valuable that are really, really hard to prove. And the way we do it usually is with human systems, with phone calls and pulling transcripts and background checks, et cetera.
Lauren Weymouth (12:02):
Nick Daze (12:02):
And giving you the keys to digitally prove that information about you, whether your university has unfortunately been bombed or whether the state driver's license system has temporarily gone down because of some glitch, or whether, uh, you just want to transact with a counterparty and not ask permission of someone else. We think that that's a much better paradigm for the future of identity management than what we are currently living under.
Lauren Weymouth (12:28):
Yeah, I can definitely hear how that's exciting. I like the idea of having the power of my identity in my hands, and this story about this school in Ukraine being bombed is not an outlier. I mean, we hear of schools being flooded or they catch on fire or there's no way to actually track the original transcript or diploma. Maybe the school changes ownership.
Nick Daze (12:47):
And what are blockchains philosophically really about? Resiliency, right? And so the tools we're building and the future we see is one corner of that world, (laughs) that blockchain flavored world, and it's, how do we make identity more resilient? How do we give you greater control over your identity and the information about you that makes you you, and empower you to go prove that without asking permission of anyone else and still maintain that high barrier or that high bar of proof?
And I think that's really, really exciting, and I think it's something that's been missing in Web 3.0 all this time. But it, it has a kind of a different name or a different face, right? So think about like the first wave of crypto. You've got transfer of currency from one account to another, one wallet to another.
Lauren Weymouth (13:28):
Nick Daze (13:29):
Well, we've gotta comply with regulations if we wanna run businesses anywhere in the world, let alone the United States, right? But some of these new systems, uh, are let's call them euphemistically scrappy, we've run into the problem of KYC AML, right?
Lauren Weymouth (13:46):
Nick Daze (13:46):
What does that mean? That means that for Lauren to deposit, uh, money into an account and buy crypto and- and hold it in a wallet and transfer it from one place to another, and in order for that company that's letting Lauren do that to stay compliant with the state, that they've gotta fall back on a Web 2.0 workflow to know their customer and make sure that she's not laundering money, right?
Lauren Weymouth (14:08):
Nick Daze (14:09):
And so we're gonna use APIs and third-party services that are not privacy preserving because, well, this is a problem because we don't have a concept of identity on the blockchain yet.
Lauren Weymouth (14:18):
Nick Daze (14:19):
One of the many use cases that we think will be solved by what we and others are working on is KYC AML on the blockchain, right? Allowing Lauren to prove that she is a national of whatever country, that she is using these funds for legitimate, not terrorism or money laundering purposes, et cetera. Being able to certify those and maybe have whatever bank you do business with sign that claim and hand the claim and the key to it to you to hold custody of in your wallet, that's a really, really powerful, paradigm and one of many current Web 3.0 problems that I don't think a lot of people are talking about these problems, like the KYC AML problem, as identity problems, right?
So that's why we're so, so excited and so bullish about, bringing identity primitives to blockchains, and bringing the tools for individuals and institutions to start transacting with one another. and I could go on and on about other big holes in the- in the-
Lauren Weymouth (15:15):
Yeah, so you're solving for identity. You're solving for privacy. We can hear the pros of putting digital identification on the blockchain. Are there cons? How is this a step up of what we were kind of using? You know, I wanna prove my identity to people, I throw up an account on LinkedIn. I share all my educational background, my previous jobs. I announce it to the world.
Nick Daze (15:40):
that's a great question. the short answer is I think we all overstate or overvalue the way we're currently doing business. There are kind of two jobs to be done with identity information, right? we want for high value transactions or important security transactions for there to be a very high bar of proof, right? So for example, if you're getting government clearance, the FBI is gonna call everyone in your family, right? If you are trying to participate in an exotic financial instrument through Goldman Sachs, you're gonna have to produce a lot of tax documents from prior years, right?
Lauren Weymouth (16:16):
Nick Daze (16:17):
a human's gonna call you and make sure you're you. If you wanna buy a house, there are a lot of counterparties involved because that's a very expensive transaction, and that is the high bar of proof that needs to be met in order to facilitate those types of transactions, either really secure ones or really high monetary value ones, right?
Lauren Weymouth (16:36):
Nick Daze (16:38):
Then there are the lower value transactions, like, hey, I wonder if Lauren knows someone at Microsoft because I'm trying to get a hold of Microsoft, right? And I can go on LinkedIn and search Lauren 'cause we're connected and look at your network and ask you for an intro to Omar or whomever, right? Now, I didn't for a second go to any great lengths to prove that you really know Omar or that you really know one at Microsoft or even that you really work at Ripple. I think you do. I'm in the office right now with you, right? And that's a pretty high bar that I had to fly from Los Angeles here to prove.
But digitally speaking, you could've lied because LinkedIn doesn't verify any of that information. Just whatever you say is there. There's like a joke in academic circles that there are more people with Harvard degrees on LinkedIn than Harvard has ever issued in its entire 400-year history, right? And that's just an example of, uh, the fact that we have traded, in Web 2.0 contexts, we've traded accuracy and authenticity for immediacy and kind of digital instantaneousness, right?
Lauren Weymouth (17:46):
Nick Daze (17:47):
Access. Because the user experience of just pulling out my phone and opening LinkedIn and typing your name into it, it's fast.
Lauren Weymouth (17:52):
Nick Daze (17:52):
So I'm willing to trade-off the high bar of proof. What we envision is a world where you can have both. You can have millisecond latency but also that high bar of proof that you are who you say you are, you went to school where you say you did, that you live where you say you do, and that we can transact with that same high bar of proof that you would use to buy a house but instead of it taking a month to close escrow, it takes 30 milliseconds to prove that you have the funds that you say you do, that you've been funded for a loan, et cetera, et cetera. and that's a really, really powerful paradigm.
You asked about the cons. I think the cons currently are all in the column of complexity, and that's why we're so focused on user-friendliness, user experience, and no code paradigms for this new wave that's coming because we think it's a strategic advantage to make these currently complex tools orders of magnitude simpler so that more people adopt them. And that's really our how strategy in a nutshell. So your question was, are there any cons? The answer is yes. It's too complicated right now, and we're doing everything we can to make it as simple as possible.
Lauren Weymouth (19:00):
Well, I wonder if you sleep at night because it sounds like you're tackling a whole lot with, with the identity and the privacy and all the deep, back end technology, but also making the user face simpler, more accessible.
Nick Daze (19:11):
And also two little kids, so no-
Lauren Weymouth (19:12):
Nick Daze (19:12):
... I don't sleep very, very much at night.
Lauren Weymouth (19:15):
Oh, I know what that feels like, yes. All right, so that's a good segue into the academic credentials that you're working on.
Nick Daze (19:21):
Lauren Weymouth (19:21):
Can you share, you know, any partner stories or where you're currently at with those cycles?
Nick Daze (19:26):
So we're currently working with the University of Southern California, and we have a number of new partners we're really excited about that we're not ready to announce yet. we are building Heirloom to serve the needs first of, of academic use cases. And the most obvious one is, do you have a degree, right? If you say you have a master's in computer science from the Viterbi School of Engineering at- at USC how do I know that's true, right? I have to call them or I have to pull a transcript. And that takes time and money and- and energy.
So we're working on that with them, but we're also working on some other really important use cases that don't immediately come to mind for a lot of people. So we're working on things like certifying, course loads and, and grades. We're working on certifying club memberships in certain high value clubs and organizations. We're working on certifying, volunteer efforts and philanthropy.
So when you say, "I've got 100 hours of volunteering at, a school near USC," which is in South Los Angeles, and there are some, kind of under resourced schools in the area. When you say, "I've got 100 hours," that's something that's a, a bold claim and an important claim and one that's important for you to prove, right? and-
Lauren Weymouth (20:44):
Nick Daze (20:44):
... unfortunately, a lot of people don't, prove them, and some people do mislead others, so-
Lauren Weymouth (20:49):
It almost creates like a legitimate resume. Right? Like you're legitimizing not just the transcript or the diploma but all the other things that go into it, that make a person whole and, and attractive to companies to hire.
Nick Daze (21:03):
You're right on the money, and I think my team is gonna kill me for leaking this to you, but something that we're working on, it's not really close to launching, but it's something we call magic resume, right? It's something that says, "What if your CV were auto compiled and populated by accurate, real information as you accumulate those skills and experiences throughout your life so that all you have to do is edit a little bit of copy, rearrange a couple things, and hit send, and you never have to update your resume again?"
we think that that's gonna be a huge kind of boon to job seekers in the future, But it's gonna take us, uh, a little bit of time and energy to make that experience as magical as the name would imply, So my only point in giving you that sneak peek of features yet to come is to validate that you're right on the money. That's exactly how we're thinking about it.
Lauren Weymouth (21:58):
That's an amazing service. I get asked all the time to help people with their resumes, and there's a lot of people that are intimidated by creating their own resumes and not sure of what they should put in and what they should pull out. And if so, if there's an auto generator that's pulling all the gems, all the good information-
Nick Daze (22:12):
Lauren Weymouth (22:13):
... that should be shared, that's awesome.
Nick Daze (22:15):
Something else that, and this maybe runs the risk of taking our conversation into-
Lauren Weymouth (22:19):
Nick Daze (22:19):
... a weird rabbit hole, but, we also think that this magic resume idea is one where blockchains and AI really hold hands well, right?
Lauren Weymouth (22:29):
Nick Daze (22:30):
If you can take the v- veracity of claims on a blockchain and partner it or team it up with the natural language expression that AI is really rapidly getting very, very good at, you can start to create experiences like a magic resume where you're guiding, let's say a large language model to describe your time at Ripple or you experience at Kenyon College and make sure that that the language is true and accurate but also dialed in for the job that you're applying for, that certain keywords are used in order to get through a filter, et cetera.
So my whole point is that I think the entire industry is very focused on both blockchains and AI as really big waves of innovation. Some companies are trying to figure out how they dovetail with one another and how they build on one another, in an additive way. And I think our internal conversations about the magic resume definitely go in that direction.
Lauren Weymouth (23:35):
Well, I think we can hear why as a business bet you decided to start with academic credentialing and partnering with universities. We can hear who it benefits, the whole world of current students, graduates, and alumni, and the administrations who now, what you're offering is gonna make the experience faster, cheaper, more transparent, just easier overall.
Nick Daze (23:59):
I'm sorry to interrupt you, but there's another value proposition I didn't even mention: more compliant.
Lauren Weymouth (24:03):
Nick Daze (24:03):
GDPR and CCPA require that these parties maintain a very high kinda burden of auditability and security around the private data, the personally identifiable information they have about their faculty, their staff, their students et cetera. Well, what better way to manage a database than to have a one of one claim that you are Lauren Weymouth and that you went to the school that you went to and you've got the degree you say you do, and to hash that and send it to Lauren to custody her own information, right? All the university has done is sign it.
It's not living in a centralized database anymore, so our solutions, when entire ecosystems migrate to our solutions these are actually, uh, systems that are more compliant with privacy regulations and have less exposure, or less- less surface area for exploitation by malicious actors like hackers et cetera.
Lauren Weymouth (24:59):
That's another really big value proposition. You know, I'm sitting here thinking, "I've gotta plug USC for being one of the first to take the step with this new technology," right? I've had 14 years experience working with higher educational administrations, and they tend to have barriers up to taking on new technologies and changing the way infrastructure works, so this is kind of amazing.
Nick Daze (25:24):
They're doing some really cool stuff.. There's, a very famous investor and philanthropist na- named Jan van Eck, who is based in New York, and he and his family have, made various gifts to various universities, including USC. But they made a first of its kind, I believe it was a $5 million grant or endowed gift to USC specifically for the purpose of adopting blockchain technologies in the administration of the university.
Lauren Weymouth (25:55):
Nick Daze (25:56):
It's called the VanEck Digital Assets Initiative, I think, from memory. And so that's just an example of ... You- you're right, uh, and shout out to- to USC for leading the way. but something that excites me so much is that I think the mainstream cultural understanding of universities, however accurate or inaccurate, is that universities are slow to move. And in some contexts, that's very true. Something that I've been very excited about is that universities really have gotten the memo about blockchains.
And I think it's probably because universities have been instrumental in the R&D of blockchains in the last 15 years, so they're a little more familiar with the technology. But my point in bringing this up is just that universities have been really leading the way here in a way that I find very forward-looking. And it also kinda plays against type in terms of the culture that we all think of academia having, as being kind of slow to move. And in this regard, they're really leading the way, and I think it's a really important, way in which they're leading.
Lauren Weymouth (27:01):
and those that are walking the walk, that they're actually incorporating blockchain into their processes or they're accepting cryptocurrency as tuition payments, that are going beyond just teaching blockchain courses. And we know now, you know, the top 50 universities in the country are all teaching two, three, four blockchain courses to both undergraduate and graduate. They have research departments. They're forming fintech or blockchain labs. They have strong student blockchain clubs. But actually taking the blockchain on and using it, you know, for their systems internally, that's the next step, right?
Nick Daze (27:33):
Lauren Weymouth (27:33):
And it's gonna strengthen their brand so that when students are coming to apply to the school and say, you know, "What are you doing in the realm of blockchain?" They can actually tell the full story.
Nick Daze (27:42):
Lauren Weymouth (27:43):
Nick Daze (27:44):
I- I'm wholeheartedly agreeing with you.
Lauren Weymouth (27:47):
Have there been any surprises with this project with USC?
Nick Daze (27:51):
Have there been any surprises? I didn't kind of pre-think that question out.
Lauren Weymouth (27:58):
Nick Daze (27:58):
so far, no. I mean, the surprises have been how excited and eager, USC specifically has been to, innovate here, and that's a pleasant surprise. I think the biggest surprise that's yet to come is how do we start to get a flywheel turning between universities, right, so that you can go to USC, you can get a computer science degree, and then you can apply to Berkeley and submit your credentials through your crypto wallet.
Lauren Weymouth (28:34):
Yeah, that's great.
Nick Daze (28:35):
and have an expedited application process. so basically getting the two-way transfer of these credentials, that will happen, I'm very interested in seeing if that can happen sooner than later because I think that really gets some network effects turning, And that's a conversation we've had with multiple universities, but it's not something that's currently. Let's just say this. It's not gonna be accepted for, applicants for fall of- of 2023
Lauren Weymouth (29:04):
But it's where we're going in the next five to 10 years?
Nick Daze (29:06):
Lauren Weymouth (29:07):
And you said something that stands out. So I as the unique, digital identity holder, I'm gonna be holding it in a wallet.
Nick Daze (29:15):
Lauren Weymouth (29:16):
Can you share more about that and what wallets are out there that I should use?
Nick Daze (29:30):
(laughs) So just to explain wallets for laypersons, wallet is a term, I think it's a, a bit of a misnomer. It's a bit of a misfit metaphor or mental model that came about because the first widely adopted use cases of blockchains were currency transfer, right? And what do you hold your money in? You hold it in a wallet. So a wallet is typically, an app, usually a native mobile app, but sometimes a browser extension or, a desktop app that lets you control your private keys, associated with a blockchain based account, almost always for currency transfer purposes. And there are many out there, There is a great XRP Ledger wallet, I believe called Xumm, right?
Lauren Weymouth (30:21):
Nick Daze (30:22):
met the founders at UBRI and at Ripple Swell, great people, smart people. There are also really mainstream wallets, like Coinbase makes a wallet. MetaMask, it makes a really popular wallet, or I believe ConsenSys is the company that makes MetaMask the wallet. The whole point is that almost all of them are oriented towards currency management. Some have begun to adopt NFTs, very, very, very few. And to my knowledge, none of the mainstream wallets yet support the blockchain based primitives that we are building against, which are decentralized identifiers and verifiable credentials, sometimes acronymized as DIDs and VCs.
And so we are building a wallet because we want to have a reference design of what does a best in class experience look like for managing your identity on the blockchain alongside your crypto and your NFTs, et cetera. and that's why we're building it. It's not live yet. We're launching it in the app store, later this quarter, which is really exciting.
Lauren Weymouth (31:28):
Ooh, very soon.
Nick Daze (31:29):
Lauren Weymouth (31:32):
So Heirloom's wallet will hold DIDs, which is revolutionary because all the other wallets are not doing that right now, but they'll also be able to hold digital assets and NFTs and other forms?
Nick Daze (31:40):
Yes, when we launch, it'll be primarily focused on DIDs and VCs, but we intend to support any blockchain based, primitive or asset that our users and our, our customers want.
Lauren Weymouth (31:55):
That's great news.
Nick Daze (31:56):
We think it's really-
Lauren Weymouth (31:56):
'Cause I want one wallet to hold everything.
Nick Daze (31:57):
Lauren Weymouth (31:58):
I don't wanna have different wallets [inaudible 00:31:59]-
Nick Daze (31:59):
And we think strategically, it's really exciting to say our adoption strategy, our go-to-market strategy is saying, "Wow, it could be really powerful for Heirloom to be the first Web 3.0 wallet, the first crypto wallet that millions of young people graduating from college and starting their careers, their first exposure to Web 3.0, right?" And because they're gonna be taking custody of their degree, they're gonna be taking custody of their volunteer work, they're gonna be taking custody of their transcript and their grades, and then they will go on in their life, hopefully over the course of years and decades to add other, Web 3.0 assets-
Lauren Weymouth (32:37):
Nick Daze (32:37):
... like crypto.
Lauren Weymouth (32:39):
... I really see the, the light of adaptability. It's not through cryptocurrency, which still scares a lot of people, as it should. It's volatile, and it's only one use case. You're putting it in front of millions of students that are graduating out there, an ability to own a wallet to hold their credentials.
Nick Daze (32:55):
Lauren Weymouth (32:56):
Nick Daze (32:56):
Lauren Weymouth (32:56):
That's, that's pretty awesome. okay, so we hear one of the benefits of, or the distinctions that Heirloom is working on out there that kinda puts you apart from everyone else, I know because I work with university partners, and they care about credentialing and some research teams are working on digital identification tools. What would you say Heirloom's value proposition is in the world of credentialing that sets you apart from other companies that are trying to do the same thing?
Nick Daze (33:26):
, two things. We're making it simpler than any other platform in the world.
Lauren Weymouth (33:31):
Nick Daze (33:32):
Again, the no code value proposition. We wanna make these tools actually useful 'cause if, uh, because if they're simple and easy to use, people will use them, and very few tools out there in general, not just blockchain flavored ones. There are ... We've all used products that are Web 2.0 or Web 1.0 that are not very easy to use. And so we're making them simple so that they're actually used and useful. The second one is that we have a strategy of building a lot. We don't have anything to announce yet, but a lot of exciting stuff in the works about integrations for the use of these credentials.
So for example, I'll give you some generic examples rather than name checking some specific things. Imagine taking your Heirloom wallet out with your degree from your university and using that wallet to authenticate, similar to tapping to pay for a coffee at Starbucks with your mobile phone, but using it to authenticate into your university email account.
Lauren Weymouth (34:31):
Nick Daze (34:31):
or using it to, access a student discount with Spotify, or using it to apply for a job, et cetera. So this entire ecosystem of integrations, in the world with other apps and services, we think is gonna be super important because what we're doing with universities is creating really, really compelling keys, right? And a key is only useful insofar as it also unlocks a really, really compelling lock. And so we see the integrations, with other social networks, with other payment platforms, with event management platforms, et cetera as really exciting and compelling locks for you to unlock with these new keys that we're giving you.
I think there is a day, this year where, for example, you'll be able to get a ticket to a sporting event in a special section of seats, using your degree or your status as a verified alumnus or what have you, and instead of paying money for that, right, proving with your credential and automatically unlocking that experience or that privilege. Something else we've talked to Ripple about
Nick Daze (35:52):
Is, saying can we set up a pipeline of developers to Ripple's developer events, like Apex or UBRI, and say, "If you have a computer science degree from, for example, the University of Southern California, present your credential to Ripple or to Heirloom and get a ticket, get a discount on a plane ticket, get a free plane ticket," whatever that looks like, to unlock these experiences and use them in commerce, because Ripple's very interested in fostering its ecosystem, identifying young talent, and getting people to migrate to the platform-
Lauren Weymouth (36:28):
And right now, we're doing-
Nick Daze (36:28):
... and develop against it.
Lauren Weymouth (36:29):
... it manually, but to be able to use-
Nick Daze (36:30):
Lauren Weymouth (36:32):
... systems to au- auto-
Nick Daze (36:33):
Lauren Weymouth (36:34):
... automate [inaudible 00:36:34]-
Nick Daze (36:34):
If- if I'm 22 and I just graduated with a degree in computer science, and I don't have a ton of dispensable income, but I really wanna go to Apex in Las Vegas and learn about the Ripple developer ecosystem, how might I do that now? I probably am not gonna go now, but if there was, let's say a special marketing initiative that said, "Hey, present your Heirloom credential, and you'll get an expenses paid trip to this developer conference"-
Lauren Weymouth (36:59):
Nick Daze (36:59):
... that's a, and it's narrow casted just to computer science majors, right? It's not anybody in the whole world. It's just computer science majors that can access that.
Lauren Weymouth (37:07):
Or maybe computer science majors that have taken a blockchain course and got-
Nick Daze (37:10):
Lauren Weymouth (37:11):
... an A in the class or are recommended-
Nick Daze (37:12):
Lauren Weymouth (37:12):
... by the professor, you can really-
Nick Daze (37:13):
And we can, we can concatenate those logical conditions,, in our software pretty easily, so that gets exciting 'cause you can say, "We want, we want computer science majors,, that took a blockchain class that graduated in a specific year. we want, computer science majors that, live in a specific state." whatever metrics and parameters that, that Ripple wants to incentivize, we can target with precision,, and in a privacy preserving way so that that candidate or that student or that counterparty, they're the ones that are opting in and saying, "Yes, I wanna redeem this offer, or scan my code, decrypt my information and move forward in the workflow."
Lauren Weymouth (37:51):
Yeah, and that ability to, to reach people and to reward is super hot. What also is really hot that I heard you say is the- the whole world of integrations, and I think of interoperability. To be able to with this one digital I- ID, not just access the credential, but all the other side partners, everything else I wanna get into whether it's a sporting event or an alumni party with one touch, with one key-
Nick Daze (38:16):
Lauren Weymouth (38:16):
... instead of having to remember a list of passwords, which I always forget and have to renew.
Nick Daze (38:21):
Yup. we have four thematic areas of focus for those integrations that we're actively building against. Authentication and authorization, right?
Lauren Weymouth (38:33):
Nick Daze (38:33):
Log in with my verifiable credential. payments, get a discount with my verifiable credential for something I need to pay for.
Lauren Weymouth (38:41):
Nick Daze (38:41):
Events, get access to a physical or digital, virtual thing. Not-
Lauren Weymouth (38:46):
Enjoy life and fun.
Nick Daze (38:47):
... not with a coupon code, not with money, but with my credential. and continued education, online learning, right? How do I prove that I took, a course in DeFi on Udemy or Coursera? How do I prove that I watched all 20 videos on macroeconomics on this YouTube channel? so we think those four thematic buckets are really exciting and the highest priority areas for us to, build integrations for our ecosystem.
Lauren Weymouth (39:20):
That's amazing. you've shared how fast you're moving this quarter and in this year. Take us five years forward. What is your vision for our credentials are gonna augment utility in five years from now?
Nick Daze (39:45):
I think we all underestimate all of the touchpoints, digital and physical, where our identity is critical. And I think all of them are gonna get swallowed by these technologies, in a good way. I name-dropped this earlier, and it's a big, hairy, scary use case to tackle, and I wanna be up front, we're not tackling it right away, buying a house. There's so much stuff you have to prove about yourself to buy a house, and that makes that transaction ... it adds friction to that transaction. It adds time to that transaction. It adds cost to that transaction.
And it adds inefficiencies that make our housing problem in this country, this state, this city worse, right? So how can you make those types of transactions super frictionless and still super provable? And honestly, my mind reels at the number of- of use cases. it's a bit of a hedge or it's a big of a wishy-washy answer, what does this look like in five years? This looks like a completely new paradigm for you managing your identity, whether it's your driver's license or your passport or your university degree or your deed to your house or, what have you, right?
We think that this is gonna be the connective tissue of our digital lives, and We're engineering it in a way that puts individual people back in the driver's seat, right, where you and I control our own data and what is done with it in a way that Web 2.0 currently does not approximate. It does not facilitate. There's one other little teaser I wanna give-
Lauren Weymouth (41:31):
Nick Daze (41:31):
... about what the world looks like in five years. I think the biggest thing from my perspective, in the Web 3.0 space, that very few people are talking about that I think everyone will be talking about in five years is what some, including us, are calling wallet to wallet messaging. How does the wallet become the private and secure communication endpoint between Lauren and Nick, between Nick and the University ofSouthern California, between Ripple and Lauren, between Nick and the gardening club in Manhattan Beach, California that I'm a part of, right? How do we use wallets as the privacy preserving unique identifiers to send the information back and forth between us?
Instead of Google and Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat and TikTok and all these things that we are all aware are undermining our privacy, and do not put us in the center of the picture. And so I think, that's another really big use case,that's about five years out, where I think you and I are gonna be talking to each other through our wallets rather than through Gmail or iMessage. And that's really exciting and powerful because that identity, that anchor between you and me we would use to talk to one another, is in our hands. It's in our control. we can take that wherever we want rather than being locked into a specific ecosystem.
Lauren Weymouth (42:53):
Yeah, well, thanks for planting that seed. That's the first time I- you've actually got my brain thinking about that, kinda privatizing our information and our information sharing, giving us more control of when and where and how we do that. That's awesome. Anything else we haven't discussed that you'd like to share with our audience?
Nick Daze (43:14):
I mean, the short answer is no. This has been a real freewheeling and awesome conversation. I think the, the on PR point response is, if anyone that's listening is, is interested in getting a private demo or talking to us about what we might be able to do for them as an individual or for their institution, please reach out. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, H-E-I-R-L-O-O-M.I-O. And, we are, really aggressively growing, and we'd love to solve, solve use cases for listeners out there. So, please check us out and get in touch if- if you think that we can help you out.
Lauren Weymouth (43:56):
Thank you, Nick. We ... In closing, we live in a world where our expectation is that information moves in milliseconds for apps and experiences and data transfers. Proving something about yourself should comply and not take so long, and Nick and Heirloom are helping to build a world where cryptographically proving claims can have millisecond latency. We can raise the burden of proof for high touch circumstances in a digital low latency way to open new user experiences for faculty, researchers, students, administrators on campus, for this academic credentialing, but also other use cases beyond that.
Nick, thanks for taking your time out of your day to share your mission and for visiting us here at Ripple headquarters.
Nick Daze (45:11):
It's been a joy. Thank you.
Lauren Weymouth (45:13):
Listeners, we're so thankful for your ears along this journey of development with us. I appreciate your comments on my LinkedIn and feedback to UBRI at ripple.com. Until next time ...