Avast (LON:AVST), a company best known for its antivirus and other cybersecurity products for consumers, has joined the Trust Over IP (ToIP) Foundation as a Steering Member. Avast recently acquired Evernym, a founding ToIP Steering Member, and SecureKey, a ToIP Contributor Member since 2020.
Avast’s ToIP Steering Committee member will be Drummond Reed, Director of Trust Services at Avast. Mr. Reed has served as Evernym’s Steering Committee member since the founding of ToIP in May 2020. He currently co-chairs the ToIP Governance Stack Working Group and Concepts and Terminology Working Group and is a vice-chair of the Technology Stack Working Group.
“Avast brings a new perspective to the Foundation’s mission of defining Internet-scale decentralized digital trust infrastructure,” said Mr. Reed. “Avast has a 30 year history of protecting the digital devices of over 435 million consumers. Now Avast wants to extend that protection to individual’s digital identity and relationships online because identity is at the very heart of cybersecurity.”
Avast, headquartered in Prague, is rapidly building one of the largest decentralized digital trust teams in the world. In June of 2021, they hired Charles Walton, a former Mastercard executive (and Mastercard’s original ToIP Steering Committee member), as General Manager of their new Digital Trust Services division. Then in December 2021, Avast acquired Evernym, one of the global leaders in self-sovereign identity (SSI). In March 2022 they announced the acquisition of SecureKey, operators of the Verified.Me network in Canada that is one of the largest bank ID networks in the world.
In a keynote speech at the European Identity Conference in Berlin, Mr. Walton said Avast would be focusing its efforts on the “empowered consumer”—giving individuals the tools they need to have portable, reusable digital identity credentials that do not depend on any one device, operating system, or identity federation. “It is finally time we had digital wallets with digital credentials that work exactly the same way our real-world wallets do,” said Mr. Reed. “We can take and use them anywhere to privately prove just what another party needs to know in the context of a particular transaction. We don’t have to go through any third-party gatekeeper to do this. That’s the way it should work in the digital world too.”
The challenge, of course, is interoperability—the entire raison d’etre of the ToIP Foundation. According to Mr. Reed, this is the reason that Avast intends to participate very actively in advancing the work of ToIP Working Groups. “Avast is a global company, and the #1 challenge in establishing digital wallets and credentials that work around the world is interoperability,” said Mr. Reed. “It is a key focus of the European Digital Identity Wallets initiative as well as other government-sanctioned digital wallet projects. Avast believes that the ToIP stack is the answer, and we want to help drive its completion and adoption as quickly as possible.”For more information about Avast’s digital trust services and products, please visit www.avast.com/digital-trust. For more information about the ToIP Foundation, visit our website or see the Introduction to ToIP white paper.