For better or worse, digital identity management services — the process of identifying and authenticating users on networks to access services — has become a ubiquitous part of interacting on the internet, all the more so in the recent weeks as we have been asked to carry out increasingly more of our lives online.
Used correctly, they help ensure that it’s really you logging into your online banking service; used badly, you feel like you can’t innocently watch something silly on YouTube without being watched yourself. Altogether, they are a huge business: worth $16 billion today according to Gartner but growing at upwards of 30% and potentially as big as $30.5 billion by 2024, according to the latest forecasts.
Now, a company called ForgeRock, which has built a platform that is used to help make sure that those accessing services really are who they say are, and help organizations account for how their services are getting used, is announcing a big round of funding to continue expanding its business amid a huge boost in demand.
The company is today announcing that it has raised $93.5 million in funding, a Series E it will use to continue expanding its product and take it to its next step as a business, specifically investing in R&D, cloud services and its ForgeRock Identity Cloud, and general global business development.
The round is being led by Riverwood Capital, and Accenture Ventures, as well as previous investors Accel, Meritech Capital, Foundation Capital and KKR Growth, also participated.
Fran Rosch, the startup’s CEO, said in an interview that this will likely be its final round of funding ahead of an IPO, although given the current static of affairs with a lot of M&A, there is no timing set for when that might happen. (Notably, the company had said its last round of funding — $88 million in 2017 — would be its final ahead of an IPO, although that was under a different CEO.)
This Series E brings the total raised by the company to $230 million. Rosch confirmed it was raised as a material upround, although he declined to give a valuation. For some context, the company’s last post-money valuation was $646.50 million per PitchBook, and so this round values the company at more than $730 million.
ForgeRock has annual recurring revenues of more than $100 million, with annual revenues also at over $100 million, Rosch said. It operates in an industry heavy with competition, with some of the others vying for pole position in the various aspects of identity management including Okta, LastPass, Duo Serurity and Ping Identity.
But within that list it has amassed some impressive traction. In total it has 1,100 enterprise customers, who in turn collectively manage 2 billion identities through ForgeRock’s platform, with considerably more devices also authenticated and managed on top of that.
Customers include the likes of the BBC — which uses ForgeRock to authenticate and log not just 45 million users but also the devices they use to access its iPlayer on-demand video streaming service — Comcast, a number of major banks, the European Union and several other government organizations. ForgeRock was originally founded in Norway about a decade ago, and while it now has its headquarters in San Francisco, it still has about half its employees and half its customers on the other side of the Atlantic.
Currently ForgeRock provides services to businesses related to identity management including password and username creation, identity governance, directory services, privacy and consent gates, which they in turn provide both to their human customers as well as to devices accessing their services, but we’re in a period of change right now when it comes to identity management. It stays away from direct-to-consumer password management services and Rosch said there are no plans to move into that area.
These days, we’ve become more aware of privacy and data protection. Sometimes, it’s been because of the wrong reasons, such as giant security breaches that have leaked some aspect of our personal information into a giant database, or because of a news story that has uncovered how our information has unwittingly been used in ‘legit’ commercial schemes, or other ways we never imagined it would.
Those developments, combined with advances in technology, are very likely to lead us to a place over time where identity management will become significantly more shielded from misuse. These could include more ubiquitous use of federated identities, “lockers” that store our authentication credentials that can be used to log into services but remain separate from their control, and potentially even applications of blockchain technology.
All of this means that while a company like ForgeRock will continue to provide its current services, it’s also investing big in what it believes will be the next steps that we’ll take as an industry, and society, when it comes to digital identity management — something that has had a boost of late.
“There are a lot of interesting things going on, and we are working closely behind the scenes to flesh them out,” Rosch said. “For example, we’re looking at how best to break up data links where we control identities to get access for a temporary period of time but then pull back. It’s a powerful trend that is still about four to five years out. But we are preparing for this, a time when our platform can consume decentralised identity, on par with logins from Google or Facebook today. That is an interesting area.”
He notes that the current market, where there has been an overall surge for all online services as people are staying home to slow the speed of the coronavirus pandemic, has seen big boosts in specific verticals.
Its largest financial services and banking customers have seen traffic up by 50%, and digital streaming has been up by 300% — with customers like the BBC seeing spikes in usage at 5pm every day (at the time of the government COVID-19 briefing) that are as high as its most popular primetime shows or sporting events — and use of government services has also been surging, in part because many services that hadn’t been online are now developing online presences or seeing much more traffic from digital channels than before. Unsurprisingly, its customers in hotel and travel, as well as retail, have seen drops, he added.
“ForgeRock’s comprehensive platform is very well-positioned to capitalize on the enormous opportunity in the Identity & Access Management market,” said Jeff Parks, co-founder and managing partner of Riverwood Capital, in a statement. “ForgeRock is the leader in solving a wide range of workforce and consumer identity use cases for the Global 2000 and is trusted by some of the largest companies to manage millions of user identities. We have seen the growth acceleration and are thrilled to partner with this leadership team.” Parks is joining the board with this round.
Legacy Records, The First Record Label Paying Music Artists In Crypto
From painters to digital artists to musicians, crypto continues to find integration across artistic mediums. Music continues to be a field that is ripe for revitalization, from a business standpoint. Accordingly, a number of different musicians have been releasing songs and albums as NFTs. Now, we have what’s being reported as the first official record label looking to get involved. The label looks to have artists join the ranks of other musicians getting involved in crypto.
In a press release issued to start this week, Legacy Records CEO Keishia McLeod said it came down to “either get involved or get left behind”. McLeod cited unique income stream opportunities for artists and closed by saying that “this is the future, not a trend”. McLeod has stated previously her intent to drive the label to be at the forefront of leveraging emerging technology in music.
There are two major buckets contributing to Legacy’s approach. The first is the most notable, as the label will become the first to offer artists an opportunity to receive their advance and royalty payments in the form of crypto. The second is to engage artists with NFTs, allowing fans to participate in auctions for unique content. The label’s specific plans around NFTs, and number of artists seeking to get paid in crypto, have not yet been disclosed.
As the crypto market grows, both artists and businesses are getting involved | Source: CRYPTOCAP-TOTAL on TradingView.com
Legacy Music’s Broader Business Growth
Las Vegas-based Legacy Records, not to be confused with Sony’s Legacy Recordings, will look to take advantage of the potential press buzz from the announcement. However, in tandem with the release, the label also announced a to-be-name music distributor who has also agreed to pay Legacy Records artists in bitcoin. The label also merged with New Jersey entertainment lawyer Navarro Gray’s ‘The Gray Firm’, to provide legal guidance around digital execution.
McLeod has noted previously that the label has desired being a mainstay in revolutionizing the way music artists do business. In a January interview with the LA Tribune, McLeod cited Netflix’s impact on the film industry, adding that “we haven’t seen that yet in this industry, but it’s coming. We’re going to be a large part of making that happen”.
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Music Artists Emerging Into Crypto
Legacy’s roster has the potential to join a growing list of music artists that continue to engage with crypto and NFTs. Last month, we wrote about long-time hip-hop artist Eminem partnering with Nifty Gateway to release original instrumental beats. Saturday Night Live promptly had a sketch explaining the digital collectibles parodying Eminem’s “Without Me”.
Other musicians engaging with NFTs include DJ Premier, 3LAU, The Weeknd, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, and more.
Each week, our team recaps the week’s NFT action with ‘NFTs In A Nutshell‘ – covering everything NFT, from sport, music, and more.
Featured image from Pixabay, Charts from TradingView.com
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Speculation Tesla Dumped Its Bitcoin Holdings Denied By Musk
Elon Musk puts to bed rumors that Tesla has sold its remaining Bitcoin holdings. The comments came following his second attack on the leading cryptocurrency. This time, he called out the dominance of Chinese mining pools in a now-deleted tweet.
Bitcoin continued from its weekend slide with another drop today, currently down 5% at the time of writing. Given Musk’s apparent influence on markets, some insist he exercises more restraint on social media.
Tesla Has Not Dumped Its Bitcoin
Last week, the Tesla boss announced his firm would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment for its EVs. The reason he gave was a growing concern about the use of highly polluting coal by miners.
This coincided with a mass sell-off in which Bitcoin was hit particularly hard, closing the day down 13% to $49.5k.
Today, Musk tweeted that Bitcoin is highly centralized due to the small number of mining pools that control the network. He maintains that coal is a significant power source for miners, despite counter claims that the network runs mostly on renewable sources.
“A single coal mine in Xinjiang flooded, almost killing miners, and Bitcoin hash rate dropped 35%. Sound decentralized to you?”
In amongst the responses, @CryptoWhale suggested that Tesla will sell their Bitcoin holdings. Adding that, if that happened, Bitcoiners would only have themselves to blame. He was referring to the outpouring of hate directed at Musk.
Bitcoiners are going to slap themselves next quarter when they find out Tesla dumped the rest of their #Bitcoin holdings.
With the amount of hate @elonmusk is getting, I wouldn’t blame him…
— Mr. Whale (@CryptoWhale) May 16, 2021
Musk replied to the tweet with a response of “Indeed.” Some publications interpreted this as confirmation that Musk had already dumped his Bitcoin holdings.
But in a semblance of grace, Musk put the record straight by saying Tesla has not dumped its BTC holdings.
“To clarify speculation, Tesla has not sold any Bitcoin.”
However, with everything that has gone on since last week, is it only a matter of time before Tesla sells up?
Musk Should Be Aware Of His Influence In Moving Markets
Key crypto figures have rallied together in support of Bitcoin. Michael Saylor announced a $15 million BTC buy adding to MicroStrategy’s already substantial war chest, while Jack Dorsey tweeted a message of support in improving its green credentials.
However, @PlanB took a less nuanced approach by accused Musk of deliberating trying to destroy Bitcoin. The comment came in a poll asking his followers whether Musk has derailed Bitcoin from meeting expectations per the stock-to-flow model (S2F).
S2F refers to a predictive model based on scarcity over time. PlanB, who adapted it for Bitcoin use, puts the price of BTC at a minimum of $100,000 by year-end.
The Managing Partner and Co-founder of Nexo, Antoni Trenchev, said Musk should “wake up” to his influence in moving markets.
“He has to wake up to the reality that with his following, even single-worded tweets can move markets.”
But as some would suggest, he is already well aware of his clout in that regard.
Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com
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Cardano, Ethereum, Polkadot Price Analysis: 17 May
Cardano could witness an extended rally if losses are maintained at $2.17. Ethereum broke south from a descending triangle and lost a key support region at $3,620. Finally, Polkadot was in danger of a sharp sell-off in case of a break below $38.5.
Volumes on Cardano took a dip over the last 24 hours as buying activity came to a halt. After an impressive run that saw ADA post weekly gains of 22%, a correction had finally hit the market. A fall of 8% dragged ADA towards a newly discovered support zone at $2.17. A stronger support area lay between $1.82-1.48 and even clashed with the 20-SMA (blue). This confluence between the moving average and support zones would see a re-emergence of buyers should another dip take place.
Post the pullback, ADA presented the next target at $2.50. This psychological level could be snapped during the current bull run if buyers trimmed losses at $2.17. RSI moved south from the overbought zone but would likely stay in bullish territory above 55. ADX rose north of 32 and highlighted a strong trend in the market.
The more price-sensitive 4-hour timeframe highlighted certain bearish conditions in the Ethereum market that were hard to overlook. A descending triangle breakdown showed losses of 11% from the bottom trendline. This trendline also represented a strong defensive point at $3,620 and a southbound move saw extended losses up to $3,200. A green candlestick did indicate some bullish response and a rise above $3,620 could initiate a recovery towards $3,800.
Lower lows on RSI indicated weakening and confirmed ETH’s short-term bearish movement. Awesome Oscillator highlighted profit-taking as selling pressure was on the up. In case of further losses, 200-SMA around $3,000 could form another defensive barrier. Alternatively, the level around $3,800 saw some interplay between the 20-SMA (blue) and 50-SMA (yellow) and reclaiming this could trigger another bull run.
The formation of three candlesticks or ‘three black crows’ following an uptrend highlighted a strong shift of dynamics for Polkadot. Sharp bearish action dragged DOT below multiple support levels mentioned in a previous analysis. However, the daily timeframe outlined another buy zone at $38.5- a region that coincided with the 20-SMA and 50-SMA.
A break below this critical point could lead to an extended sell-off all the way towards $21.6 and 200-SMA (green). Conversely, a break above $44.5-$48 resistance could initiate a price hike. A bearish crossover in Stochastic RSI thwarted chances of a favorable outcome. Squeeze Momentum Indicator noted weakening buying pressure and a move below half-line would present sell signals.
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