Ask the Founders: What is the @platform?

Frequently Asked Questions about our private, open source protocol

Red toy robot
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Part of the great thing about working at The @ Company is that we get to chat with the developers trying out the @platform. So naturally, when user “paulvipond” sent a message in our Discord channel about The @ Company, our co-founders were quick to respond. In their follow-up conversation, Paul Armstrong (AKA “paulvipond”), had several insightful questions pertaining to the core infrastructure of the @platform that two of our co-founders, Kevin Nickels and Colin Constable, took much delight in answering. The following Q&A is a portion of that discussion.

P: Why should I trust you and your systems?

The only thing that we have centralized is the verified location of where to go to request permission for access to information from someone. Our basis for trust in our company and the systems and services we provide relies on the fact that we do not have access by any means to anyone’s private data.

P: What is to prevent app developers storing the information they retrieve, or is this accepted practice?

It is, however, certainly possible for a developer to store someone’s information with some other mechanism that does not honor the specification. Our strategy for this relies on a certification process where we inspect the application for such behavior. While we cannot prevent them from doing such, we can refuse to certify the application as compliant with the protocol and to pay commissions to the developer as well. As mentioned above, the developer would then be at risk of violating the terms of use and may incur regulatory and reputational liability.

P: What about data verification — e.g. telephone number and email addresses? This would be a great feature to remove the burden from applications.

An flow chart showing what attestation will look like with The @ Company. 1. @alice shares her driver’s license number with a trusted attestor. 2. The attestor checks @alice’s driver license and verifies @alice if it is valid. 3. @alice’s @sign is now verified. She no longer has to share her personal information to prove that she has a valid driver’s license.
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P: Who would you regard as your main competitors and how are you different to them?

P: What’s your revenue model and how do you plan for it to be sustainable?

The @ Company is a tech startup committed to transforming how the modern Internet treats people’s data. To learn more about The @ Company and their mission, check out their website.