Dave Winer wrote about “internet identity” and that several companies were probably thinking about solving the problem. Specifically, he said:
But because money is so central to identity, it’s surprising that there isn’t a Google or Amazon of identity. Seems there’s money to be made here. An organization with physical branches everywhere, with people in them who can help with indentity (sic) problems.
- There are post offices everywhere. The postal system is constitutionally mandated to be present, so it’s useful for them to have a valuable mission even as the volume of paper mail declines.
- The “Bank of the US Post Office” could provide an ATM at each branch. You could withdraw cash without fees anywhere in the US.
- They could provide a low cost (no cost?) saving/checking accounts for the traditionally “unbanked”, instead making people use check cashing services, payday lenders, etc. who siphon off a percentage of the transaction.
- Postal employees have a strong ethos of caring for the transactions, and already have procedures for handling cash.
- Post Offices are accustomed to handling critical, private matters in a timely way.
Identity management seems another valuable service that the USPS might provide.