Knowledge is the key to success in crypto. All crypto investors should know how to self-custody their coins, backup their seed phrase, verify the address of a transaction before sending it, and so forth.
In addition to working on a great wallet that anyone can use, Exodus’s stated mission is to empower half the world to exit the traditional financial system by 2030. That means billions of new users will need to get up to speed with what’s happening in crypto. To that end, we’re proud to announce our new Top 10 Most Influential People in Crypto series.
In the coming weeks and months we’ll be counting down the 10 biggest names in crypto, starting with this week’s article on the crypto entrepreneur Vinny Lingham.
Top 10 most influential people in crypto: who is Vinny Lingham?
Vinny Lingham is one of South Africa’s most successful crypto entrepreneurs. In 2015 Richtopia named Vinny one of its top 500 CEOs, and in the crypto industry Vinny is commonly referred to as “The Bitcoin Oracle”. The nickname refers to Vinny’s uncanny ability to predict where the crypto market is headed, even when his opinion goes against the popular narrative.
Even though sentiment is quite low at this stage of the crypto bull market cycle, Vinny believes that, “If $30k continues to hold, we’ll likely break $100k Bitcoin this year”.
As you might expect, Vinny believes in Bitcoin and the transformative power of blockchain technology. He believes that decentralized solutions are the best way to solve some of the problems created by private corporations and governments that have too much control over our personal data. Specifically, Vinny believes that blockchains are the best way to store a person’s digital identity and to secure their data against leaks.
Vinny is the co-founder and CEO of Civic Technologies, commonly referred to as Civic, a multi-signature non-custodial cryptocurrency wallet tied to a user’s real-world identity.
Vinny launched Civic in response to the increasingly common problem of online identity fraud. By connecting the Civic wallet to a user’s real ID, the company can achieve several distinct advantages. We’ll get into the details of those advantages in the following section.
Prior to Civic Vinny founded the web development platform Yola, co-founded the Silicon Cape Initiative and also the Newton Partners investment fund. In 2012 Lingham started the mobile gift card company Gyft, which he sold two years later in 2014 for more than $50 million. He then launched Civic in 2015.
What is Civic?
The core feature of the Civic wallet is an AI protocol that verifies a user’s identity. The AI uses real-world identity documents, like a social security number, to verify each account. There is also a human-led review process to complement the AI verification.
From an institutional perspective, the Civic wallet is invaluable since every user is guaranteed to be unique. Crypto companies who offer promotions or onboard Civic users know that they’re reaching out to real people, not one person who’s controlling hundreds of Bitcoin wallets.
From a user perspective, Civic works like any other cryptocurrency wallet. Users can store their cryptocurrency or send coins via username or crypto address. However, unlike a traditional wallet, users do not manage their seed phrase or private key.
Instead of the traditional backup methods, Civic uses a multi-signature protocol that forces multiple parties to come together to restore access to an account. While this recovery style is more cumbersome than entering a seed phrase (which takes less than a minute), it’s more suited to investors who are new to crypto.
Having a multi-signature protocol was Vinny’s idea as he wanted to create a wallet that would work for everyone, not only technologically sophisticated people.
Besides a more user-friendly approach to account recovery, Civic’s standout feature is a service that no other digital wallet offers: insurance! Civic is the first and only cryptocurrency wallet that comes with an insurance policy that reimburses users in the event of a hack. Civic covers losses up to $1 million, which is four times the protection offered by a FDIC-insured bank account.
Why Vinny is Important to the Crypto Ecosystem
Vinny Lingham is one of the top 10 most influential people in crypto because Civic opens up new possibilities for how blockchain technology can be implemented. Even if you dislike the KYC element of the Civic wallet, this is one of the first attempts at bridging the gap between someone’s identity in “the real world” and their identity on the blockchain.
Anyone who has signed up for a new financial product is aware that the process is burdensome and not particularly secure. Applicants are required to share personal information like their social security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, address and so forth. All of this data is stored in a centralized server, and these servers can and do get hacked.
Using a blockchain-based identity could be far safer. For example, a person can use a ZK-Snark (the same technology that ZCash uses) to prove their identity without revealing a bunch of personal information. When John Smith applies for a credit card, he would only need to share his name and blockchain address. The blockchain protocol could “prove” that John is who he says he is, without having to share revealing information with the credit card company.
If this sounds abstract and futuristic, that’s because it is! Such a system doesn’t currently exist, which is exactly why Vinny Lingham’s work at Civic is cutting edge. Vinny has ensured that Civic is a first-mover in the race to integrate a person’s identity with a cryptocurrency wallet (or cryptocurrency address).
Will Civic be the ultimate solution that hundreds of millions of people use ten years from now? It’s impossible to say, however, whatever cryptocurrency application we end up with, Vinny’s work at Civic will have laid the groundwork for what’s to come.
The Vinny Factor
The Exodus wallet, which supports Civic’s CVC token and many others, is free to download. Anyone can use it and there’s no KYC. The Civic wallet is not free, usage is restricted and there is a KYC check. Both wallets have their own advantages and disadvantages, and each have their own role to play.
Vinny Lingham is an important crypto entrepreneur and his work could go a long way towards furthering crypto adoption in the coming years. Vinny believes in Bitcoin, decentralization and cryptocurrency’s potential to replace the centralized, insecure systems we use today. We wish him and Civic all the best!
Stay tuned for next week’s article when we’ll reveal who comes in at the number 9 spot on our list of the top 10 most influential people in crypto.
This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.