Interview with Quah Zheng Wei, CEO, Accredify
Accredify is Asia Pacific’s leading verification technology solutions provider. We leverage decentralized ledger technology to help organizations create, issue, and verify tamper-proof verifiable documents and data. We are coining our technology, which encompasses the act of creating, issuing and verifying tamper-proof documents, TrustTech.
Our vision is a trust-less future. One where we no longer question the trustworthiness of any data or information that is shared with us, whether it be a professional resume, identity card, bank account, or anything else in between. That’s what the future of the internet is – Web 3.
The world needs a quicker and safer way to protect the sharing of sensitive information. In order to get to a ‘trustless’ state such as Web 3, we need 3 key elements:
- Enterprises and governments to issue verifiable documents and identities to individuals
- A verifiable digital identity wallet for individuals to store these verifiable identities and data
- A simple method for third party verifiers to authenticate if an individual’s owned documents and records are true
Q: What were some identifiable market trends or salient issues at that point of time that allowed Accredify to leverage on blockchain technology?
At that point in time, verification technology such as ours was hardly commonplace and did not have the kind of positive recognition that it does today. The word ‘blockchain’ often had an immediate association with Bitcoin or NFTs which in the public eye at that time, had negative connotations attached to them.
However, my co-founders and I knew that the key elements of blockchain such as its immutability and decentralized database had immense value for institutions that were facing the issue of protecting their brand’s reputation from forged documents in their name. A key example is the rise in cases of fraudulent degree certificates that employers were discovering amidst their employees – not only did this pose a danger to employers’ business processes, but it also posed a reputational threat to the education institution.
That’s why our first vertical was the education industry, where we began assisting Singapore’s top universities and adult learning institutions such as NUS, SMUA, and SIM in the creation and issuance of education credentials.
The identification of our key market’s problem coincided with the development of GovTech’s OpenAttestation framework which we used to issue verifiable education credentials using the OpenCerts schema. Because we leveraged GovTech’s open-source technology as part of our solution for our clients, traction and onboarding was relatively quick as OpenCerts is also a government-backed project which helped us generate trust between our clients.
Q: What is web 3.0 to you?
Web 3 is a global village made up of enterprises and governments which issue verifiable documents, data, and identities to citizens and individuals, no matter the interaction individuals have with the organization. It can be a bank transaction, or it can be a medical appointment. The core objective is to ensure that an individual’s life is recorded in a verifiable manner. Individuals then need a digital repository to store their verifiable identity and records.
To enable this, we provide clients with a Verifiable Digital Identity Wallet known as Accredify Passport, a free application which allows individuals to store any verifiable document issued by any organization to them securely and conveniently. The app also enables individuals to share documents to whomever they want via a secure link, email, QR code, or even through messaging or social media apps. Authorized third parties which receive a link to an individual’s verifiable record then need a way to verify an individual’s identity or data.
Accredify provides these parties with a verifier portal, which can render the verifiable document and the data contained within it on any device with a simple QR code scan. This comprehensive process of automating the creation and issuance of verifiable documents, along with placing data ownership back into the hands of an individual to share their information with entities they choose at their own free will, as well as making the process of verifying data simple and instantaneous for third party verifiers is what constitutes TrustTech.
Q: In your opinion, can Web2 companies make a smooth transition to Web3?
The common question that has been bubbling to the surface recently in public media is – how do we get to Web 3? We believe that the answer lies in the adoption of verifiable data. And that’s actually Accredify’s mission and why my co-founders and I created Accredify – to accelerate the world’s transition to Web 3 through TrustTech. Our technology has continuously proven to be industry-agnostic. Accredify is in five different industries – the education, healthcare, corporate, defence, and aviation industry. Our clients range from SMEs to government and statutory boards, and we’ve partnered with industry giants such as SAP, IBM and VFS Global to make our service more accessible to clients around the world.
Q: What are some things that you wish you had known when first starting out?
By acknowledging that ups and downs are inevitable in the journey and that opportunities can present themselves out of every situation, I have managed the stress that comes with every setback better and channeled the energy towards turning what seems to be a catastrophe into an opportunity instead. ‘We get to do it, not have to’.
As Accredify grows larger, tougher decisions have to be made. This is a personal reminder to myself that it’s a privilege that I’m able to pursue my dream and lead a team that can potentially change the world with me. Trust your team to share the burden. Trust that they are there right next to you and have the ability to manage the negative aspects of building a start-up, and you’ll grow as a team as you brave the storms together.