At the 2017 World Economic Forum annual meeting, the notion of a Fourth Industrial Revolution was highlighted as a major theme that will characterize the years ahead. This revolution, according to the meeting’s attending businesses and government leaders, will consist of technological developments that will change our lives, businesses, markets and the global economy.
Experts are certain that the distributed ledger technology (DLT) framework is an essential cog in the wheel of emerging technologies that will transform the world. The Wall Street bull predicts that blockchain, along with robotics, automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will be the foundation for the fourth industrial revolution. Credit unions have never been in a better position to take advantage of this rare, global opportunity to participate in something as innovative and transformational as CULedger.
CULedger began its quest as a research-to-action project in early 2016 and spun out of one of the largest distributed ledger consortiums in the world. After receiving donations from various credit unions and industry providers, a proof of concept for identifying call center fraud was developed. The success of this proof of concept led to the formation of CULedger as a credit union-owned CUSO (credit union service organization) on June 12, 2017.
CULedger quickly met its minimum Series A funding requirements in February 2018 to further develop the initial proofs of concepts, hire leadership and to build out a private, permissioned distributed ledger network. The CUSO is well-ahead of schedule to meet its initial $10 million funding goal and has been unusually successful with many startups struggling to meet Series A funding goals of $3 to $6 million. With an initial round of $10 million, the investor community generally considers the idea behind the investment as “hot.”
Shortly after John Ainsworth was hired as president/CEO, he quickly directed product, market and technology reviews which all contribute to this update. These reviews lead to the initial focus of developing MyCUID, the first global digital identity ecosystem for credit unions and their members, which will become the foundation of the entire CULedger platform. All future applications, including those in CULedger’s current roadmap, like loan participations and cross border payments, will be enabled through a private, permissioned distributed ledger network which will begin development in 2019.
MyCUID addresses the problem of having siloed online identities by using distributed ledger technology to provide a self-sovereign identity (SSI). CULedger believes that providing an SSI is also foundational for credit unions and their members worldwide since every interaction that a credit union has with their members begins with identifying who they are. It also enhances the shared trust that exists between credit unions and its members.