In 2020, the value of the cryptocurrency market exceeded $270 billion, and it’s continuing to grow at a rapid clip. Enter Permission.io, a new player in the crypto space offering a business model where users profit off of their own time and data. Instead of Bitcoin (BTC) or Ether (ETH), the company pays users in ASK tokens, their own cryptocurrency, for data shared while looking at and interacting with ads.
“We wanted to flip the old model on its head by allowing our users to earn from sharing their data explicitly and spending their time online engaging with content they choose,” says Hunter Jensen, CTO at Permission.io.
The company is off to a fast start already raising over $50 million in financing, and has over 450,000 users. But before its launch in September 2020, Permission had to prepare its authentication system to securely handle the large volumes of users they were expecting.
Homegrown Authentication Wouldn’t Scale
As a platform that digitally stores user earnings, fraud poses a serious threat to Permission’s user base, so user verification is critical. “We have to have systems and processes similar to a bank, which is heavily regulated and requires a lot of extra security,” says Jensen.
When Permission first entered beta testing, it relied on a homebuilt authentication system featuring its own multi-factor authentication (MFA). The solution protected the blockchain from attacks but drained engineering resources due to continuous maintenance. It also had to fend off bad actors intent on finding ways to unfairly earn tokens on the platform.
So when Jensen joined Permission six months before launch, he asked, “What do we need in place before we feel comfortable launching?” At the top of his list was identity management that was secure and scalable.
“We needed pros and we needed them fast, because we didn’t have a year and a half to build our own identity management system,” says Jensen. “Time to market was huge.”
Consumer-facing Crypto Demands Consumer-focused Identity
Permission sits at the unique intersection of consumer banking and technology, and balancing the need for secure identity with a low-friction experience proved challenging. When Jensen discovered Auth0 via Google search, he quickly realized that Auth0 fit their need for a consumer-focused solution.
“We have a high-volume, consumer-focused platform,” says Jensen. “Most enterprise identity vendors offered a platform with consumer features bolted on. But Auth0 was consumer-ready out of the box.”
Within two months, Permission had their Auth0 use case setup for their soft launch, and one month later, the solution went live alongside Permission’s platform.
Today, Permission users can securely sign up and log in to their accounts to manage their data permissions, view their activity, and redeem tokens. Permission has also enabled Auth0 MFA to add a layer of security demanded by today’s threat landscape. According to Jensen, the setup was like “flipping a switch” and is critical to protecting their users.
“The CEO and I discussed how MFA is important but a pain,” says Jensen. “But when he saw how easily it was implemented and how seamless the user experience was, that made all the difference.”
Lifetime Solution for Identity Enables Product Development
Partnering with Auth0 for identity saved Permission an estimated six months of development time for implementation, plus additional savings on ongoing maintenance.
The time back has allowed Permission to innovate for their 475 users per second. The development team recently introduced a browser extension for Permission’s platform, increasing convenience for and engagement from web users. They also created a Shopify app where users can shop using ASK. According to Jensen, “If we had to build our own identity system, we wouldn’t have either of these as quickly as we did.”
Among crypto regulation, cookie deprecation, and increasing consumer interest in crypto, there are unknowns ahead in the crypto space. But Jensen is confident that whatever comes, they are equipped to respond and not worry about authentication.
“Auth0 will scale and keep your users safe, and we don’t have to think about it.”
Interested in the future of crypto? Read what Hunter Jensen has to say here.