Digital biometrics just got a big boost!
Blockchain biometrics company Beyond Protocol is breaking the limits of what we consider to be the cutting edge as per biometric technology.
We were intrigued by this and so we reached out to Jonathan Manzi and his star-studded team at Beyond Protocol for a deep dive into the world of Biometrics Technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain technology, and even the Metaverse!
Here’s what Jonathan had to say.
Jonathan Manzi CEO at Beyond Protocol
Please, can you tell us about your recent partnership between Beyond Protocol and Vanderbilt University?
Absolutely — we’re partnering with Vanderbilt University and the Wond’ry Center to develop creative applications on the Beyond Protocol blockchain.
A big part of this is giving students and upcoming tech entrepreneurs both a strong platform and the effective tools needed to turn raw creativity into real innovation.
There are many talented young developers out there who have yet to engage much with blockchain, and our initiative with Vanderbilt will make that opportunity very accessible for them.
Just how secure is Beyond Protocol?
As secure as software can be. You’ll often hear the phrase “probabilistically impossible to hack” in public discussions regarding Beyond Protocol, and we were very intentional with that verbiage.
The combination of blockchain and hardware signatures—the former being a verifiable public ledger, secured by redundant validating nodes, and the latter being the unclonable “electronic fingerprint” of each network device—create a protocol which cannot be hacked.
How does Beyond Protocol’s blockchain technology work?
Beyond is embedded into the chip execution code, enabling complete security by verifying and signing transactions, as well as creating an automated transaction state engine inside a trusted ledger.
Devices secured in this way by Beyond Protocol are able to “open up” and communicate with the outside world, when previously they were “closed off” (e.g. smart smoke alarms, door locks, heart monitors, IIoT, etc.). Most IoT devices at present operate in isolation from the vast majority of the rest. Beyond Protocol has been built to change this.
What is the link between biometrics, blockchain technology, and mental health?
Biometric sensors are able to monitor key human biological feedback in real-time, since the human mind functions as a combination of physical structures, chemical signals, and electrical impulses.
We can gain a great deal of insight into a person’s mental health by monitoring various forms of this bio-feedback, and using the latest scientific knowledge and insights to make sense of this data.
Blockchain is currently our most secure means of digital transmission, and is thus a natural conduit for such critically important and sensitive medical information.
The intersection of biometrics, blockchain, and mental health will prove to be a fertile ground for innovation in the coming years, and in ways that will provide immense benefit for both individual patient care and society at-large.
Just how secure is biometric technology in the real world at this point, and how is it being utilized?
IoT device security in general is a big problem, and this includes biometrics.
Many use-cases centered around biometrics simply aren’t being maximized due to security concerns—which is a core reason Beyond Protocol has targeted this field.
There is currently no viable option to transmit biometric data while simultaneously guaranteeing the privacy of the patient or end-user.
With biometric tech and applications advancing rapidly, a secure way of handling this data is needed—Beyond Protocol fills this need.
A good working example of this would be our Connected Athlete partnership with Rob Gronkowski.
At present, the transmission of biometric data involves various third-party apps and connections. This is problematic from a security standpoint, as every change of custody introduces a new point of failure. The less potential weak points for a hacker to exploit, the better.
Beyond Protocol solves this problem. Gronk can trust his biometric data is secure on BP, as every change of custody is controlled directly by him.
Rather than splicing together various apps, protocols, and networks to transmit his sensitive data, he’s trusting one data conduit—built from the ground up to be fully secure, whether there are 2 devices involved, or 100.
How does Beyond Protocol help solve the problems that biometric technology brings to the table?
Well the main problem at this point is the privacy of the individual—Beyond Protocol ensures that no security breach is possible as far as the technology element is concerned.
How will real-time transmission of biometric data affect business ecosystems?
We’ll not only see more security and efficiency, but innovation will explode.
The ability to transmit biometric data in real-time, securely, will open up many possibilities we haven’t even thought of yet.
Of course there are relatively simple possibilities—for example, the ability to visit a bank and make a large cash withdrawal using, say, a combination of fingerprint and iris scans.
But the majority of this effect on modern business ecosystems will be felt in ways yet to be fully imagined.
I liken it to the development of the modern smartphone, or the internet itself; much of what has been created due to those foundational technologies—rideshare apps, instant messaging, online banking, on-demand food delivery, etc.—would have been difficult to envision prior to the existence of those underlying technologies.
The internet and smartphones ultimately made those later innovations possible.
This is similar to how I expect things to play out with Beyond Protocol enabling the transfer of highly sensitive data—like biometrics—in real-time. There will be a blank slate upon which creativity can flourish.
What will Beyond Protocol’s role be in a world where emerging technologies such as Internet-of-Things, Artificial Intelligence, and Augmented Reality, take center stage?
I expect Beyond Protocol to play a key role. All IoT devices want to “talk” but are currently confined to a myriad of different “silos”—i.e. there is no single, secure means for IoT devices to communicate with one another.
When you start thinking about each of these technologies individually, then begin to imagine how they’ll interact and grow in concert with one another, the implications for society at-large are immense.
A secure link between all of this emerging tech will be entirely necessary, and Beyond Protocol is designed from the ground up to fill this need.
Beyond Protocol can provide a check on dystopian AI — making sure a consensus is formed on a machine’s next action before it is made.
Please, can you tell us the story behind the founding of Beyond Protocol?
I met founding partner and current Beyond Protocol CTO Denis Benic during our shared time as students at Stanford University.
We first founded ink—a digital printing company—which eventually led to us meeting with then-CEO (and now-President) of HP Inc., Enrique Lores.HP needed a tech solution to secure their network printers against malicious attacks from hackers, which Denis and I began to develop.
What we built for HP became the foundation for what later became Beyond Protocol.
For a more in-depth account of our company beginnings, please see the following article:beyondprotocol.medium.com/beyond-protocol-the-genesis-6cce95d9237
How can developers get started with Beyond Protocol?
We’re currently in our pre-launch “testnet” phase—so any developer who’d like to work on Beyond Protocol right now can contact us to apply for a position on our testnet group.
Devs who’ve been accepted to our testnet program are working exclusively on select use-cases for the time being—e.g. developing full compatibility between the Stripe (software) Wallet and Beyond (hardware) Wallet.
This opens up secondary use-cases stemming from that compatibility, such as an electric car pulling into a charging station triggering secure, automatic payment for whatever electricity is used.
In this case, both the electric car and the charging station would have secure identities on Beyond Protocol, facilitating transactions seamlessly—as opposed to current solutions, which require multiple apps, NFC, etc. and are both slower and less secure.
This is just one example of what we’re currently working on, as we’re also building other infrastructure around the Beyond Wallet.
At our mainnet launch, all developers will have access to the Beyond Protocol Blockchain, SDK, and Wallet, with no need to apply to any pilot program—but for now, select developers are being chosen to work on the specific use-cases we find most critical leading up to mainnet launch.
How does Beyond Protocol enable devices to communicate securely?
Through a combination of two core technologies—blockchain and hardware signatures. Blockchain records each network event redundantly across many nodes, hardware signatures establish a unique identity for each network device based on its electronic fingerprint, derived from the device CPU.
Common hacking techniques—phishing, spoofing, etc.—simply cannot occur over Beyond Protocol. Each transaction is recorded immutably, each device is positively identified.
For a more exhaustive technical overview, our Whitepaper breaks down Beyond Protocol in great detail.
Please, can you tell us more about securing the lower layer of communications between devices?
When the backbone of the modern internet—TCP/IP—was formed, there was never any thought regarding an identity layer on that protocol; it was built with the communication layer in mind.
That inherent limitation of TCP/IP—the lack of a built-in identity layer—means there is a clear need for a versatile, adaptable base layer security solution for today’s internet-connected devices.
Beyond Protocol is designed and built with the identity layer in mind. The public internet has progressed and matured greatly over the past 30 years, and the security demands of tomorrow have become quite apparent at this stage.
Simply put, we need a rock-solid, low-maintenance security solution that can be scaled globally across a wide range of devices. Beyond Protocol is that solution.
Please, can you tell us more about the Beyond Protocol Wallet?
The Beyond Wallet enables secure, autonomous blockchain transactions between itself and a myriad of other devices. Some of its early development use-cases include: electric vehicle charging, parking payments, e-bike parking, charging, and payments, and various drone-based applications—and these are just the tip of the iceberg.
Our Wallet also offers robust hardware functionality to support a wide variety of future use-cases, including: Bluetooth and 2.4 Ghz wireless connectivity, humidity, temperature, magnetic field, and light sensors, and PUF, among other features.
For full tech specs on the Beyond Wallet, see our slide deck here:
In developing Beyond Protocol, we’ve really been looking to deliver a complete platform, one that on both a software and hardware level enables as much innovation as humanly possible while maintaining a completely secure environment. The Beyond Protocol Wallet is central to that effort.
Please, can you tell us about the people behind Beyond Protocol?
We’ve got an experienced, diverse team with a variety of different backgrounds in tech, media, and politics. Some of our more noteworthy names include:
– Jonathan Manzi – Beyond Protocol CEO, Fmr. Stanford Chair of Entrepreneurship, “Youngest Industry Millionaire” at age 16, G20 Summit Young Professional Delegate, Co-Founder of ink
– Denis Benic – Beyond Protocol CTO, Co-Founder of ink, and Fmr. CTO of several Silicon Valley tech startups
– Stephen DiFranco – Fmr. SVP/GM of IoT, Broadcom
– Moe Vela – Fmr. Director of Administration and Sr. Advisor to Joe Biden and Fmr. CFO to Al Gore
– Anoop Nannra – Global Blockchain Practice Leader at Amazon; Formerly: Global Head of Blockchain, Cisco
– Denmark West – Fmr. Corporate Dev Exec Microsoft, EVP Viacom Media Networks
– Greg Silverman – Co-Founder/CEO of Stampede Ventures; Formerly: President, Warner Bros
– Brian Weinstein – President/COO, Bad Robot
– Peter Boni – Managing Principal, Kedgeway
Additionally, there are numerous key team members and partners who work behind the scenes on multiple fronts contributing to our success!
Who are your technical partners?
– Cisco Systems
– Vanderbilt University
– European Union (EU)
- E-Crypto News:
- What developments can we expect from you guys before the end of the year?
More partnerships—specifically ones that support our targeted use-case verticals—and more exchange listings; the latter including Tier 1 CEXs.
As far as partnerships are concerned, we’re laser-focused on use-cases which we expect will have mass adoption in the next 12 to 36 months.
We’re looking to scale quickly in ways that will make a major impact on the global economy, and change the day-to-day lives of billions for the better.
Where do you think the blockchain space is headed with the introduction of the Metaverse by Big Tech?
I do think it’s important to note that what we refer to as “Metaverse” technology has been in development for a long time, and has been conceived and pioneered by many who may never become well-known for their efforts.
An example that comes to mind is the fiction novel “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson, which laid out the Metaverse concept in great detail nearly three decades ago; much of what he described in that book has become prophetic in hindsight.
That being said, Big Tech has certainly taken notice of this emerging Metaverse and helped bring attention to the movement in recent years.
As far as where blockchain as a whole is headed with respect to the Metaverse, the symbiosis will continue to accelerate.
The concept of a digital identity within an augmented reality requires a reliable means of establishing trust and providing verification within that social framework.
This also applies to capturing monetary value within this burgeoning digital economy—blockchain is a natural fit here on multiple levels.
What examples can you give us of Beyond Protocol’s effectiveness?
A great recent example would be our Connected Athlete demo with NFL star Rob Gronkowski.
He wore a smartwatch during his training session which monitored his vital signs in real time, determined his nutritional needs, and timed a DoorDash food delivery order with the conclusion of his workout.
This is just one small use-case for Beyond Protocol—securely recording end-user biometric data, intelligently placing a food delivery order near the conclusion of a workout, and paying for that order, all done seamlessly.
You’re going to see many applications built on Beyond Protocol function in this way—tying various devices and services together in seamless, secure collaboration. This is the future of IoT, and it begins now.