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Trusted Key CEO Amit Jasuja. (Photo via Trusted Key)

A new Seattle startup is using blockchain technology to help companies in finance, healthcare, and other industries identify their users securely without the need for passwords.

Trusted Key today announced a $3 million seed round led by Founders Co-op, with participation from Pithia, a new venture capital firm in Seattle focused on funding blockchain startups.

Founded in 2016 by former executives at Microsoft and Oracle, Trusted Key turns real-world identities into a secure digital wallet that gives companies an identity mechanism that doesn’t require passwords, pins, or multi-factor authentication.

Trusted Key CEO Amit Jasuja said that the company allows users to be proofed once, using a driver’s license, passport, or other forms of identity. From there they’ll be able to “access a large network of providers that trust the proofing processes without incurring the constant costs of identity validation and complexity of passwords.”

“Users are in total control of their information while still being able to securely share their information with businesses they wish to interact with,” he explained. “No one enterprise will control the user’s identity, but they will all have the most updated, accurate information.”

Trusted Key is working with U.S. healthcare consortium NH-ISAC on a pilot project to create a single identity “HealthID” that allows patients to access 300 member-companies, including insurance providers, hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.

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“Working closely with a variety of partners, Trusted Key is enabling banks and healthcare companies to provide next-generation trusted experiences to their consumers based on a secure digital identity that can be integrated directly into their mobile apps,” Jasuja noted.

Jasuja said that traditionally, enterprises have confirmed identity by requiring users to answer questions about previous addresses or model of car, for example. As passwords became a source of vulnerability, multi-factor authentication and PINs became relevant.

“Trusted Key changes that,” he said. “The Trusted Key platform enables various aspects of a user’s identity to be verified and then brought online into a secure digital identity wallet, backed by a permissioned blockchain.”

Former Microsoft executives Prakash Sundaresan and Amit Mital co-founded Trusted Key. Mital is the former CTO at Symantec and CEO and founder of Kernel Labs, a Seattle-based startup studio. Trusted Key employs 15 people.

“The demand for strong digital identity solutions is exploding, and we continue to be impressed with Trusted Key’s vision and execution,” Rudy Gadre, partner at Founders Co-op, said in a statement. “With its singular focus on offering a secure solution for enterprise customers while preserving consumer privacy, we believe that Trusted Key has the right approach at the right time.”

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