Let’s address the market need for a verified buyer or seller program, what the current state of play is with trust in peer-to-peer marketplaces, and review how Dentity is trying to solve the trust gap with its Verified program.
Trust Gap in the Sharing Economy
It should come as no surprise to you that the sharing economy is exploding. Platforms like Airbnb, Uber, TaskRabbit, and Rover are all examples of companies that create value by enabling direct interactions between two or more customers. They provide an infrastructure which facilitate transactions, and part of that is providing a way to build trust between the parties.
Each company approaches the issue of building trust on their platform in different ways. Some use ratings and reviews, some use background checks, and some tie their trust to an account profile. Generally speaking, these models have inconsistent trust models. Some do better than others, and none share exactly the same approach. They’re also plagued by a lack of portability: a user’s trust equity on one site isn’t easily transferred to another site. In essence, trust becomes a walled garden, specific and exclusive to each site.
Trust Gap in Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces
Peer-to-peer marketplaces like Craigslist face an even more daunting challenge. Without a trust model of any sort, scammers are rampant, and the marketplace can be akin to the Wild West. Everyone is tasked with looking out for their own self-interest and their own safety.
Even Facebook Marketplace and dating apps like Tinder face real trust issues. Having a Facebook account doesn’t require verified identity, as noted by the fact that Facebook deleted 1.3 billion fake accounts in the first quarter of 2021 alone. Tinder, which has been accused by some of being a hotbed of predatory behavior and violence against woman, does not required a verified identity to create a dating profile. Catfishers with malevolent intent notoriously use dating platforms.
Requirements to Solve the Trust Gap
It’s estimated that by 2025, the sharing economy will be a $350 billion market. This means the stakes are real, and the challenge great. In our opinion, any verified program which seems to solve the trust gap has a few essential requirements:
Any program must be based on verified identity. Seller reviews and platform specific solutions are great, but trust is highly situational. I may trust you to fix my car, but not to babysit my daughter. The only thing that is persistent across every platform is your verified identity.
Any program must be highly portable. You should own it, be able to bring it with you everywhere you are online, and control what information is shared. In our view, the way to achieve this is by creating a new trust model that is OTT (Over the Top). Rather than relying on the way trust is traditionally delivered — which is tied to the platform — our approach is to put you in control. It’s platform agnostic, you own it, and you can take it with you wherever you go.
Any program must be easy to use by both “buyers” and “sellers.” These terms are specifically put in quotation marks because it’s not always the case that goods are being bought or sold. In some cases, you might be inviting a service provider into your home, while in other cases, you may indeed be involved in a commerce transaction. The myriad of interactions that occur in the sharing economy and peer-to-peer Internet aren’t suited for a one-sided solution where a website grants you access to their trust while you’re using their platform.
The Dentity Verified Program
We’ve built the Dentity Verified program to address these requirements. The program allows anyone to verify their identity using our service, create a public profile page, and post it on all platforms. It’s viral in that its easily shared among peers, and it’s universal in that it isn’t dependent on any one website or platform.
It has some of the following features and benefits:
- A public verified identity profile page
- An easy to use Verify Me process
- Verified Icons, badges, and links that are easily displayed on your selling sites
- An easy way to verify identity and build trust
- A digital identity passport stored in your Apple Wallet to build trust face to face
An independent company is required to solve this trust gap since no platform allows for the portability of their trust system to another site. The Dentity program is portable and universal, and the best part is that users own and control their personal data. They only share it with those that they choose — not big tech, big social, or big government.
Dentity allows you to create and share a verified identity profile. It’s a universal trust system for all your online activity. Stay tuned, we are rolling out soon. In the meantime, join our waiting list so you can be first in line. You can join our waitlist HERE!