THEKEY, who are building a ‘second generation identity verification solution’ (IDV), was one of the first projects to annouce it was coming to the NEO ecosystem. Using THEKEY, individuals will have the ability to quickly and easily verify their identity using their own biometric data. THEKEY uses a combination of government authenticated data with processes such as cross checking and data audits to ensure the most recent and accurate information is always used. Blockchain integration is the final piece of the puzzle, creating a secure and efficient service THEKEY call BDMI, or Blockchain based Dynamic Multi-dimension Identity.

THEKEY arrived on the NEO map with a number of achievements already under their belt, including 23 copyrights, 15 patients and a working first generation IDV product that is already in use in two cities.

Perhaps most impressive however, is that THEKEY has built a relationship with the Chinese Government, and is already authenticating the data of 210 million citizens across 66 cities on a real time basis. The project seems to embody the message from Chinese authorities regarding blockchain that perhaps many have not understood. That is, just because the government is cracking down on illegal fundraising and capital control, that does not mean they are against blockchain innovation.

Furthermore, THEKEY have already signed commercial contracts with 21 world leading companies, meaning that THEKEY’s token, TKY, will have utility almost immediately after the BMDI solution goes live.

We caught up with THEKEY CEO, Catherine Li to learn a little bit more about the project.

Dean – NEO News Today: Firstly, thank you for your time. I think when people first learn about THEKEY, one of the most impressive things that jumps out right away is how much you’ve already achieved with your first generation DMI solution. I think it’s easy for businesses to get stuck in their ways or have an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ attitude, so considering you already had a successful product, what led you to explore the integration of blockchain?

Catherine Li: Although we have already made substantial progress in the IDV industry, our existing IDV solution is only applicable in a centralized community at present. Hence, as mentioned above, we are planning to improve our IDV solution by introducing blockchain technology. Blockchain offers a compelling solution to the problem of combining accessibility with privacy and security. Records can be held securely, using end-to-end encryption, and yet openly referenced and documented in a decentralized autonomous community. This solves the problem of dealing with highly sensitive or classified information in a way that still enforces all the privacy and confidentiality rights that consumers and regulators expect. Moreover, blockchain technology will also help us to establish an ecosystem, through smart contracts and digital currency, so that all participants are financially motivated. With blockchain technology we expect our planned IDV product can serve users better. With THEKEY, people will no longer need an ID card, passport, credit card, or even mobile phone to make a payment, open a bank account, apply for a loan, receive pension or pay a medical bill.

Dean: The white paper mentions you already have 23 copyright and 15 patients. Can you give us some details on a few of the more important ones, and do any of these give you specific advantages over other identity verification solutions?

Catherine: Sure. The copyrights and patents are mainly related to data processing and data standardization technology. Our Data Standardization Module is an important element of DMI (Dynamic Multi-dimension Identification). Once the data is collected, it needs to be standardized before it can be properly used. In our Data Standardization Module, two sub-modules are important, which are the Communication Protocol Standardization module and the Term Standardization module. This can realize the avoidance of duplicate work for data collection, processing and authentication.

Dean: I saw Dr King present for you at the New York Ontology launch, and it was definitely a highlight of the event! During the Q&A session an audience member asked Da Hongfei what the Chinese government thinks of NEO, at which time Dr King chimed in and said ‘the government loves us!’. He was obviously referring to the fact THEKEY is already working with the data of 210 million people in 66 cities in China, authenticated by the local government authorities. My question is – how did these government relationships begin? Did you approach them, did they approach you, or did you win these contracts through a tender process? As a part B to this question, what is your strategy for more government cooperation moving forward?

Catherine: In the capacity of a top local consulting team, THEKEY has been part of the Chinese social insurance program since 1995, when it was still in its infancy stage. Therefore, THEKEY has extensive working experience on government data related issues and is also very much well connected. At present, supported by the Chinese government THEKEY is now at national roll-out stage and we are expecting to cover 150 cities with 500 million people by the end of 2018. Moreover we would like to promote our IDV service globally and we are going to approach foreign governments in this regard next year.

Dean: Your first generation DMI solution is currently being used to authenticate identity in the distribution of social security payments to citizens in Kaifeng and Jiaxing. Who is THEKEY’s customer here? Is it the organisation distributing the payments, or is it the users who are receiving the payments? Or both? And then moving forward, when DMI becomes BDMI, who would be buying the TKY tokens and how would they circulate in this scenario?

Catherine: For DMI, the banks, insurance companies, mobile medicine and mobile healthcare companies are our customers and we have already signed commercial contracts with them as mentioned in our white paper. After the promotion stage we will charge the social insurance agencies, hospitals, drug stores and individuals a service fee.

In regards to the flow of the token, you may see a very typical application scenario when it comes to purchasing insurance. When individual users purchase insurance from an insurance company, they will need to pay TKY. The insurance company will then submit an IDV request to a validator (could be THEKEY, government, financial institutions or other utility companies), and the insurance company will pay TKY to validator.

All the IDV data will be recorded on the individuals side on the blockchain, and when it’s next required by a service provider for IDV purposes, the individual can provide this set of data and receive TKY in return.

Individuals can also ask the validator to send his/her IDV related data, to form a credit report and pay TKY to the validator. When a validator conducts IDV and requires datasets from other validators, TKY will be paid too in this case too.

Dean: Will developers be able to integrate THEKEY into their own applications, and if so, will this be reliant on existing agreements you’ve set up with organisations to collect data? For instance, if I wanted to use THEKEY’s BMDI for pension payments in Australia, do I need to wait for THEKEY to reach an agreement with the Australian government and other relevant data sources? And if so, does THEKEY have a roadmap for where you want to expand after China?

Catherine: Sure. But I don’t think we will start with big country like Australia, although we do have a lot of good working experience with the Australian government, including Centrelink. We may start with smaller countries as a pilot.

If Chinese citizens apply for services from foreign companies, then it can be conducted under THEKEY ecosystem, and this is also our current priority – first to improve the service types and volume for Chinese citizens and second, to introduce more foreign companies to the Chinese market.

As for foreign individuals, since we haven’t connected to the foreign country’s database, IDV can’t be conducted for now. But we are expanding globally and in the future this issue will be solved.

Dean: Another thing that peaked my interest is that you have set up six relevant national laboratories together with government agencies, banks, insurance companies and one university. What is the purposes of these laboratories, and who are the other parties involved?

Catherine: Below are the six national laboratories we have:

  • The exclusive laboratory with Ministry of Human resources and social security (HRSS) of China on internet + HRSS R&D, application and promotion
  • The exclusive laboratory with Ministry of Human resources and social security (HRSS) of China on social insurance affairs standardization
  • Project study on social insurance data application on credit industry as well as the security supervision on commercialization of social insurance data with HRSS
  • Mutual insurance and long term care insurance innovation lab with HRSS and China insurance regulatory commission
  • Joint innovation lab of social insurance and commercial insurance with HRSS and China insurance regulatory commission
  • Joint lab on big data processing with Ha’erbin Institute of Technology

Dean: It seems like there would be a lot of synergy between THEKEY and Ontology. Your BDMI solution is reliant on getting identity information from multiple different sources, and the Ontology network would allow you to create an index to this information on, for instance, a government database, so it can be accessed in real time. Do you plan to, or are you already collaborating with Ontology?

Catherine: Yes, we have plans to work with Ontology for our MVP and POC but we haven’t started yet. It is still under discussion. And we’ll be in close cooperation with Ontology in other areas too, because from the long term perspective, THEKEY will provide IDV services to all dApps on the public chain.

Dean: Pre-distribution for your token sale has started and is open until January 15th, 2018, and your crowd sale will be held on February 1st, 2018. Where should readers go if they want to contribute and what is the best way to for people to get involved with your project?

Catherine: To participate in pre-distribution, you may visit To get yourself whitelisted for the crowd sale, you may visit the same link and fill in the KYC form to get whitelisted. Participating in the pre-distribution or crowd sale and becoming a member of THEKEY ecosystem is a good way to get involved in the project.

Dean: Are there any final thoughts you’d like to leave our readers?

Catherine: We wish all readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

You can join THEKEY’s Telegram group at the following link –