October 20, 2014 10:40 ET

21 Top Bitcoin and Digital Currency Companies Endorse New Digital Framework for Digital Identity, Trust and Open Data

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwired - Oct 20, 2014) -

  • MIT Media Lab Spin-Out ID3 Spearheads Group to Build an Open Source Secure and Trusted Platform to Advance Digital Currency Transactions
  • Group to Advance Global, Industry-Wide Initiative Based on Windhover Principles

ID3 (Institute for Data Driven Design), a research nonprofit founded out of the MIT Media Lab, today teamed with nearly two dozen leading digital currency firms to announce the Windhover Principles, a new principles-based framework collaboratively written with public and private stakeholders to ensure secure personal identity, trust and access to shared open data on the Internet. Key advocacy and support was generated by DATA (Digital Asset Transfer Authority) in building the coalition. 

The Windhover Principles are being implemented on an open source platform, foundationally based on ID3's contribution of its Open Mustard Seed (OMS) software platform. As the cornerstone of the new principles and framework, ID3 announced support from a wide range of digital currency and Bitcoin-related companies and individuals: BitPay, BitReserve, Bitstamp,, Coinsetter, DATA, Delta, Epiphyte, Erik Voorhees, Hub Culture Group/Ven Currency, LaunchKey, Personal, Personal Black Box, Ripple Labs, SnapSwap, Swarm, Trefoil Labs, Vaurum, Xapo, ZipZap and 37coins.

The Windhover Principles for Digital Identity and Trust are deeply rooted in the belief that individuals should have control of their digital personal identities and personal data. Underlying this core value is the principle of ensuring innovation in trust and privacy. Concurrently, the industry group's support of transparent, proportionate and risk-based regulation will allow stakeholders to meaningfully leverage new technologies for enhanced governance, auditing and enforcement needs. Implementation of the core Windhover Principles on the inclusive OMS open source platform as a sustainable industry step, paired with MIT-designed Living Labs, underscores a results-driven ethos supported by the group of companies and supporters. 

Framing the issues, ID3 Chief Scientist and Co-founder Dr. Alex "Sandy" Pentland, Toshiba Chair Professor at the MIT Media Lab and co-lead of the Big Data and Personal Data & Privacy Initiatives at the World Economic Forum, said, "The Windhover Principles support my view that it is time for us all to take charge of our personal data. Technologies such as OpenPDS and ID3's Open Mustard Seed provide a new technical solution to a rapidly growing societal problem. Our work at MIT will continue to influence ID3 and the emerging industry-supported OMS open source project -- not only in technology, but also in method, as we assist in architecting MIT Living Labs test beds to understand and optimize these new solutions."

OMS is a trusted compute platform for developing and deploying secure cloud applications to collect, compute on and share personal data. It enables the development and deployment of web apps in a secure, user-centric personal cloud. Just as the original HTML code gave rise to the World Wide Web and new types of bottom-up social communication and collaboration, OMS can be understood as a new "social stack" of protocols. The framework provides a stack of core technologies that work together to provide a high level of authentication, security and ease of use when sharing and collecting personal and environmental data. This enables the control of web-enabled devices, and engagement with others to aggregate information and view the results of applied computations via protected services. The Windhover Principles serve as the cornerstone of this framework.

"The next phase of Internet growth requires a re-tooling, with identity and trust at the foundation, to bring the ownership and control of personal data back to the individual. Doing so will spawn a new stage of collaboration and open data exchange," said ID3 Managing Director Dan Harple, Internet pioneer, serial entrepreneur and MIT Entrepreneur in Residence. "The Windhover Principles, coupled with an inclusive open sourced Open Mustard Seed project and MIT-influenced Living Labs, are tremendously positive steps toward an industry-wide solution. Our vision for OMS is as an inclusive platform to transform how we, as collective Internet users, can take back our personal data, and share it in a trusted and secure way -- not only for Bitcoin and digital currency transactions, but for other data and media types as well."

With the digital currency industry's support, ID3 and participating firms plan to iteratively test, implement and deploy granular technical solutions to trust, privacy and governance on the OMS open source platform. Leading digital currency firms are committed to future, collaborative development of legal and technical frameworks -- along with subject matter experts, government bodies and the private sector -- to implement the core Windhover Principles through rigorous testing in MIT-type Living Labs.

Balancing regulatory requirements with the increasing need for privacy and secure identity is a core component of the Windhover Principles and OMS. "Illustrating how a new form of autonomous industry governance can emerge using open source methods to solve large systemic problems, this industry-wide collective includes some of the world's foremost thought leaders and innovators on today's Internet and their companies," said ID3 Co-founder and Executive Chairman Dr. John Clippinger, an internationally recognized research scientist at MIT Media Lab. "The increasing complexity of technical systems render effective and balanced regulation of identity and personal data -- including KYC (Know Your Customer) and risks of AML (Anti-Money Laundering) -- a deeply complex and rapidly changing global process that cannot be sustained by current governmental and private sector practices. New forms of engagement are needed by all stakeholders that combine innovative digital technologies with new regulatory practices and intensive testing to drive viable privacy -- and security-preserving solutions for the 21st century."

The Windhover Principles were collaboratively written by the industry group of companies and their advisors, and included dialog with financial regulators. "In Europe as well, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) requirements are getting stricter and stricter, and we will pretty soon run out of tools to deal with these requirements adequately and efficiently. The MIT/ID3 Platform, together with the Windhover Principles, constitute an excellent opportunity to build the AML/CTF tools we will need tomorrow whilst at the same time allowing individuals to have control over their personal data -- a key tenant of privacy," said Jean-Louis Schiltz, IT lawyer and Luxembourg's former Minister of Communications and Defense.

"The advent of digital ledger technologies, when coupled with digital identities, has the potential to extend financial access to everyone in the world, rather than just those lucky enough to be banked," said Ripple Labs Chief Compliance Officer Karen Gifford. "For everyone, these new technologies better support security sought by law enforcement, trust sought by merchants and privacy rights of individual consumers. We're excited to be a part of ID3's initiative to build a global framework for identity as a value-added layer to the initial financial innovation started by virtual currencies."

"The blockchain and other distributed technologies call on us to reimagine our existing world in ways that carefully balance public policy goals in the 21st century world -- the global impact of the Internet on shifting norms of interaction and transaction presents serious challenges to traditional paradigms of the governance process and geographically localized regulatory regimes," said Constance Choi, founding board director of DATA and Seven Advisory, who advises a broad spectrum of entities and policymakers in the digital asset industry. "Policymakers and private industries are beginning to understand the opportunities in these complex dynamics and collaborative work is underway to ensure self-determination and inclusion, and increase trust and viability. This is at the heart of the Windhover Principles and the OMS reference platform."

About ID3

ID3 is a research and educational nonprofit with a mission to develop a new social ecosystem of trusted, self-healing digital institutions. Addressing the severe structural limitations of existing institutions by empowering individuals to assert greater control over their data, online identities and authentication, the organization is committed to enabling the design and deployment of a new generation of trusted digital institutions and services globally. Additional information on ID3 is available at or by sending email to

The Windhover Principles and Open Mustard Seed are trademarks of ID3. All other product names are trademarks of their respective owners.

The Windhover Principles for Digital Identity, Trust and Data

1. Self-Sovereignty of Digital Identity and Personal Data:

Individuals and groups should have control of their digital personal identities and personal data.

Today we communicate, share and transact digitally over the Internet. Individuals who make use of the Internet for these purposes should have control over their digital identities, ensuring individual autonomy, trust in their communications and counter parties, as well as in the integrity of the data they share and transact with. 

Individuals, not social networks, governments, or corporations, should control their identity credentials and personal data. Control of one's identity and personal data means that people should have unfettered access to their personal data, the ability to verify attributes of their personal identity profiles, and the ability to prevent unauthorized public and private access.

We support the collaborative open source development of systems that embody these principles and recognize the need to address the requirements of legacy regulatory mechanisms, including by evolving innovative digital technologies to improve privacy, governance and enforcement.

2. Proportionate Enforcement and Risk-Based Regulation:

Enhancing / improving personal privacy while promoting effective governance and accommodating legitimate auditing and enforcement needs.

We encourage innovation in identity, trust, security, and data technologies and policies to provide effective methods to address governance and enforcement concerns. Governance includes the concepts of transparency and accountability necessary to protect digital transactions from abuse. We believe these technologies can address public policy interests by enabling appropriate access and verification of identity data. Entities and individuals, acting on the basis of verifiable approvals, including due process and appropriate warrants, should be able to access such data through specific and auditable means. New and evolving digital technologies make it possible to protect an individual's privacy while providing authorized government access to customer identification, due diligence and transaction monitoring information for legally authorized needs.

3. Ensuring Innovation in Trust and Privacy:

An effective, autonomous identity system reiteratively furthers trust, security, governance, accountability and privacy.

Protecting privacy and fostering trust and governance are foundational Windhover Principles that support a fully functional identity system designed to collect and analyze data in a network in which identities are continuously and independently authenticated. These core principles are intended to foster development of more trustworthy, effective and resilient products and services to minimize the risks and costs of fraud, money laundering, terrorist financing and other criminal activity.

4. Open Source Collaboration and Continuous Innovation:

An inclusive, open source methodology to build systems that embody these principles.

Supporters of the Windhover Principles agree to cooperate to build systems that deliver these requirements and to participate in Living Labs to develop strong and innovative technical product solutions that interoperate to meet these challenges.


"Hub Culture has been working with ID3 since 2013 to develop the first consumer application layer using Open Mustard Seed technology through the development of HubID, a unique identity product that enables members of the Hub Culture network to own and manage identity services. HubID represents a big step forward in new AML/KYC approaches, works globally with the Ven currency and features characteristics built with the Windhover Principles and other sustainable governance systems in mind."

Stan Stalnaker, Founder and CEO, Hub Culture Group/Ven Currency and Impala

"It's great to see MIT applying the bitcoin technology in new and novel ways. This project shows that it's possible to protect online privacy and, at the same time, provide tools that are effective at combating criminal abuse."

Stephen Pair, Co-founder, President & CEO, BitPay

"I couldn't be more excited to see the digital currency industry taking individual data rights, integrity and collaboration seriously. This marks a giant step forward for all of us and a great improvement over anything that exists in the traditional finance world."

Joel Dietz, Founder & CEO, Swarm Corp.

"These principles, and the growing voice in their support, are evidence of the positive steps we are gaining toward our ability to establish and benefit from personal data independence."

Haluk Kulin, Founder & CEO, Personal BlackBox

"Decentralized identity technology will allow the bitcoin industry to increase user privacy and create new paths for cheaper and more effective compliance. We are solving global regulatory issues with an ethical solution that simply works better."

Jaron Lukasiewicz, CEO, Coinsetter

"We are living in exciting times indeed. Technological innovations are enabling us to challenge and successfully redefine and reinvent old structures and paradigms. For the first time in history, it is today possible to transfer value over the Internet instantaneously, inexpensively, globally and securely, and to digitally and incorruptibly register assets and property titles around the globe. The ID3 project adds another fundamental component to our digital evolution as humans -- an unprecedented way to protect the human right to our privacy and identity. It is certainly one of the most exciting projects I have ever been involved with."

Juan Llanos, Chief Transparency Officer, BitReserve

"As a company that works so strongly toward providing privacy and security, LaunchKey is excited to be a part of the collaborative effort promoting these values as they have been embodied by the Windhover Principles."

Yo Sub Kwon, Co-founder & COO, LaunchKey

"We live in a time when the sophistication of international data thieves seems steps ahead of the best defenses of even our most well-resourced, rigorously audited, and locked-down organizations, both private sector and government, and the PII of possibly a majority of law-abiding Americans and many additional Internet users has been compromised and is now available on data black markets, while important classified military and national security data is in the hands of foreign powers. Our modern data security architecture is fundamentally flawed; hence, we applaud MIT's ambitious ID3 project to rethink how PII and sensitive data is compartmentalized and secured, and look forward to doing what we can to support and advance the project."


"We at believe in the Windhover Principles as it outlines an approach to give full control of an individual's personal data back to the person it belongs to. In a paradigm where personal data sharing is becoming a prominent part of our increasingly technology dependent culture, controlling the distribution of your most sensitive and secure data is becoming essential. We are seeing the growth of an industry that is being built on the intrinsically decentralised nature of Bitcoin's design. As a result, the fiduciary responsibilities of businesses operating in this space have never been more important. What ID3 is working on is a framework for Bitcoin businesses that work tirelessly to comply with AML/KYC responsibilities globally to conform whilst maintaining the integrity of their customers' user data." 

Joe Lee, Founder & CEO,

"Identity is a key concern for our bank customers. For banks and other financial services companies, the complexity of KYC/AML and safeguarding customers' private information has been the number one barrier to providing services cost-effectively. This has effectively priced banks out of providing services to much of the world's population -- creating massive global unbanked population without access to basic banking services. This includes 10 million households in the US alone and many hundreds of million more globally."

Edan Yago, CEO, Epiphyte

"Online media properties and data brokers collect an unprecedented amount of information about consumers which could be easily abused. ZipZap fully supports the open source platform proposed by the ID3 team which lays out the groundwork to shift the control of personal information back to the individuals as the rightful owners, while not preventing legitimate commercial or government access. It provides a path for a perfect balance between the need to know and the need to protect a citizen's personal information."

Alan Safahi, CEO, ZipZap Inc.

Contact Information

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    CHEN PR for ID3
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