In 2012, Toufic "Tey" Al Rjula discovered that he is, in fact, an "invisible man". On his Dutch driver's licence, you will not find that he was born in a city such as "London", "Berlin", or "Amsterdam". Instead, he is declared as being “Unknown”. This is because Tey was born in Kuwait, during the gulf war, when the birth registries were destroyed en masse. As such, he does not have a birth certificate, and even if copies were to exist, neither he, nor the issuing authority could possibly verify it.
In 2014, he started his asylum application in a refugee camp in the Netherlands, where he was forced to move after his work permit of five years was terminated. Here, for two years, he felt the pain of thousands of Syrian refugees unable to verify the authenticity of their documents. On top of this, many of these refugees had lost other important documents such as land titles and academic certificates on the road of refuge. By the end of his stay, he had met more than 1000 invisible men, women, and children.
A third of the refugees in Europe are children, and while they are lucky to get documented, hundreds of thousands in Syrian Refugee camps do not have birth certificates, and newborns in camps are unable to complete the birth registration process, due to economic, geographical and complex administrative barriers. Ultimately, the experiences the refugees shared with Tey in the Dutch refugee camp regarding the hardships they suffered as "invisible people" gave him the inspiration and motivation to found Tykn, together with social entrepreneurs Khalid Maliki and Jimmy J.P. Snoek, in order to work on providing self-sovereign identity to all.
Watch Tykn's CEO, Tey Al-Rjula, tell his amazing and inspiring story at TEDx Amsterdam 2018!
Awards & Achievements
Shortly after our inception in 2016, we joined Startup Weekend Utrecht, an intensive 3-day hackathon powered by Google, where we managed to develop a working prototype to digitally verify and authenticate official documents by leveraging the bitcoin blockchain, winning us first place.
This victory ultimately led to Tykn being chosen to pitch for Rockstart, a startup accelerator based in Amsterdam, where Tykn was chosen out of 1100+ applicants (alongside 9 other startups) to join the Rockstart Web & Mobile Accelerator.
In October 2017, Tykn also won the Spindle Innovation Awards (powered by Partos and Accenture) with our Project ZINC (Zero INvisible Children) initiative, and became a semi-finalist in the Accenture Innovation Awards two years in a row.
On top of this, in 2018, Tykn also won Best ICO Pitch at the Blockchain Innovation Conference 2018 in June, as well as the B4H Shapers Award for Digital Identity, the NRC Live Tech Talks Awards and the Dutch Chivas Venture Awards, in December.
Winning the Dutch edition of The Chivas Venture led us to the global finals that took place during The Next Web Conference 2019, in Amsterdam. Tykn placed in the Top 5 among 1000 companies.
Dr. Moe Levin
Dr. Moe Levin is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Keynote, an investor in high-tech startups, and an advisor to governments, regulators, banks, and venture-backed companies.
Some of the projects he has been involved with include The Global Blockchain Council in Dubai (2015 - present) , the harmonized VAT treatment of Bitcoin (2013), The OECD Working Party 9 (2013-2014).
Moe is also the Co-Founder of the first accredited Blockchain Academy, an early investor in RSK Labs, Labfresh, Dropbox, and others. Prior to founding Keynote, Moe was responsible for launching a venture-backed startup in Europe which raised $30m from Richard Branson, Index Ventures and others.
Marloes Pomp is the Program Officer at Digital Action with responsibility for 30 blockchain projects within the Dutch Government. Blockchain has according to her the potential to redefine the relationship between the government and the citizen in terms of data sharing, transparency and trust.
Marloes Pomp worked in several roles like projectleader or researcher at governmental organizations, including Ministry of Internal Affairs, City of Amsterdam and the Court. Notable is her 4 years in the innovation team for the Ministry of Foreign affairs. Her professional interests focus on innovation of the government and technological developments like Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things.
In addition, she serves as an advisory member for the SIDN Fund. The fund stands for ‘a strong internet for all’ and is taking internet projects and ideas to the next level.
With his vast experience as an engineer and executive to many thriving companies over the past 20 years, Darrell O’Donnell has become a powerhouse in the digital identity space. He currently provides C-level advice to key projects and partners as a ‘Virtual CTO’, invests in early-stage ventures, and speaks about self-sovereign identity to those that need to hear and learn about it the most. Through his experience in the identity space (particularly in the context of humanitarian aid), as well as his deep understanding of value capture and the catalysing of growth for early-stage companies, Darrell has helped propel Tykn forward more than we thought was possible through advice alone.
Identity becomes portable, private and secure.
Tykn's identity and access management system allows public and private institutions to issue and verify digital identity credentials.
An innovative way to share and request personal data proofs.
Users are provided with an app, a digital identity wallet, that works on every mobile device and allows them to digitally access services from those institutions in a private and secure manner.