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Greenville Business Magazine

CreateYourself’s INRE Helps Individuals Control Online Identity, Personal Info

May 24, 2023 12:39PM ● By Angelia Davis

Dr. Gordon Jones is an entrepreneur, educator, and an author with more than 30,000 LinkedIn followers. 

He also has more than 4,000 subscribers to his daily newsletter, and has a very detailed profile with plenty of people to validate his experience.

Yet, he questioned why an employer can’t use that LinkedIn profile without using a third-party company to verify who he is, his experience, and his credentials.

Not only did he find the answer, but through his new startup, INRE, he offers a solution.

INRE is a digital vault that will help individuals take control of their personal identity information online using decentralized based technologies. It will also eliminates the need for an employer to hire a third-party to verify a potential employee’s information.

LinkedIn has millions of profiles that are fake, Jones said. LinkedIn detected and removed more than 57 million fake accounts during the last six months of 2022, according to its most recent community report.

Additionally, a statistic from Indeed found that 40 percent of job applicants lie on their resume, Jones said.

“At the end of the day, an employer can’t rely on LinkedIn to be able to know that this person actually graduated from that school, had that job or whatever,” Jones said.

“That’s why they have to hire a third company to verify all that, once they know they want to hire that particular employee,” he said.

INRE, Latin for “in the matter of,” will mirror a LinkedIn profile, though it won’t compete directly with the LinkedIn social media platform.

INRE, a web native vault, will reach out to the issuers of a person’s credentials for validation and hashes that info into immutable digital assets with proof placed on blockchain.

Once the information is in a person’s INRE portfolio, it is decentralized and under the individual’s control to share with employers.

“In our model, we enable you to provide what are called Verifiable Credentials, which are digital assets that use blockchain and have been proven to be true and then turned into an immutable record, which means it’s unchangeable,” said Jones, whose innovation development company, CreateYourself LLC, is working to launch INRE

Jones is a former healthcare executive “turned techie.”

After graduating from The Citadel, he served two tours in the 82nd Airborne Division USA. He later earned his master’s degree and a doctorate in health administration from the Medical University of South Carolina.

Jones teaches Blockchain in Information Sciences, Data Privacy, and Self Sovereign Identity at the University of South Carolina.

Jones’ personal experience upon being hired at USC was an inspiration for INRE.

USC, like many companies, outsources its background screening proceedings to a third-party company, according to Jones.

Jones said it took three months for him to be vetted because of “the issues and games the third-party background check industry plays with high level employers and candidates.”

Once a person’s data is in the INRE portfolio, it doesn’t have to be reverified by a third party, he said.

This lowers employers’ cost and lowers their time on-boarding a new employee, as it gives control to the individual of their own data, he said.

Ultimately, INRE will become “a super wallet.”

Apple and Google have their centralized wallet, which means it’s on your phone but you’re not in absolute control over what you have in it because they can see it, Jones said.

“In ours, the individual is in absolute control because we can’t see any of that,” Jones said. “We’re just providing a service on how you can monetize and protect your data.

“Unlike today, when you use Google or any of the other free apps, they’re using your data to make their money.”

Jones said his company received a grant from the South Carolina Research Authority for INRE early on to do some research.

He decided to participate in the Inaugural $30K PowerUp Competition for South Carolina-based startup companies because “I needed the money.”

The $30K PowerUp competition, presented by Integrated Media Publishing and Eric Weir, is offering startups a chance at a  $15,000, $10,000, or $5,000 prize

“We have a scope of work that we know what we need to build now, after we’ve gone through two years of research and development,” he said, “and we have a partner who can build it for $30K. We just need to get out our MVP (Minimum Viable Product), so the money will go towards that.”