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Transmute Launches Blockchain Framework Focused on Identity

Blockchain remains the unfulfilled promise of new technology. Perhaps the problem was the success of Bitcoin's tech -- it made people realize that distributed ledgers (DTLs) could be used for almost any IT requirement. It took a bit longer for people to realize that while true, for most commercial applications blockchains offer no real improvement on the capabilities of traditional distributed databases.

The blockchain hype remains, but it is beginning to focus on government use (the UK government says it has the potential "to help governments to collect taxes, deliver benefits, issue passports, record land registries, assure the supply chain of goods and generally ensure the integrity of government records and services"), and specific commercial use cases with specific problems. 

Transmute LogoOne of these commercial use cases is identity management, particularly from the users' viewpoint. The current system is simply inefficient: it overshares too much personal information with too many different organizations who each then store that data in a single point of failure (a central target for criminal access) that has ramifications for all the other single points of failure. One breach can lead to the loss of personal data for millions -- and even billions -- of people; and each breach places the victims in greater danger of identity theft, and other organizations under threat of criminal access through stolen credentials.

The realization that a distributed ledger for identity management can solve many of these problems by eliminating the single point of failure and giving the user greater control over the sharing of personal data for access purposes has led to a rapid spurt in blockchain IAM start-ups. One more, Transmute, emerged Tuesday.

Transmute -- based in Austin, TX - was founded in 2017 by Eric Olszewski, Karyl Fowler (CEO), Orie Steele (CTO). It secured $1 million in pre-seed funding in January 2018, and graduated from the Techstar's Austin 2018 start-up accelerator. On January 8, 2019 it launched the Transmute decentralized app engine, targeting larger enterprises with customized solutions.

Transmute, it announced, makes it possible for enterprises to deploy DLT when and where it delivers real value and security, using code they've already written. Their own focused use case will be in Identity and Access Management (IAM), and their first product Transmute ID will launch in 2019.

The firm takes a pragmatic view on blockchain development. It is not trying to revolutionize solutions, but evolve existing solutions and methods to a blockchain paradigm. Enterprises can use existing development resources and infrastructure to build decentralized apps. The Transmute event-sourced framework is compatible with functional languages and standard identity concepts, and supports JavaScript -- allowing developers to continue using tools and frameworks like React and Redux.

"Breaches like Equifax are showing how vulnerable centralized infrastructures can be, and these infrastructures are commonplace across the enterprise," said Steele. "At the same time, the immense benefits of DLT and distributed cryptography come with a heavy setup cost and usability challenges. That's why we've been focused on building a company that enables enterprise dev teams to solve their identity management problem and their application development problem, using code they've already written."

Apps developed under the Transmute framework integrate with the major cloud providers. "During the transition to cloud," comments Fowler, "we saw a massive demand for tools that bridged existing IT investments with the next wave of development. With Transmute, enterprise development teams can use their existing resources to build safer, superior decentralized applications while retaining the scalability of centralized cloud providers. It's really the best of both worlds."

Grand View Research has forecast that the IAM market will grow to $22.68 billion dollars by 2025. ReportLinker predicts that the blockchain market will grow from $1.2 billion in 2018 to £23.3 billion by 2023, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 80.2%.

Related: Inside PolySwarm's Decentralized Threat Intelligence Marketplace 

Related: With Security at the Foundation, Blockchain Can Revolutionize the World 

Related: IBM and SecureKey Announce Blockchain-Based Identity Verification

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Kevin Townsend is a Senior Contributor at SecurityWeek. He has been writing about high tech issues since before the birth of Microsoft. For the last 15 years he has specialized in information security; and has had many thousands of articles published in dozens of different magazines – from The Times and the Financial Times to current and long-gone computer magazines.