VTAC (Verified Trusted Authenticity Certificate) was launched in 2012 based on an opening in the market. Companies were being forced to pay thousands for an (EV) SSL Certificate, a certification that went further than a secure connection by verifying the identity and existence of a company online.

But the root problem was never actually solved, because trust is not a digital problem, but a human one.

Trust Is Earned, Not Bought.

Traditional trust companies offer SSL certificates, a technology solution ensuring a secure connection. Yet, security doesn’t guarantee trustworthiness. The digital landscape responded with the expansion of trust though Extended Validation Certificates (EV) promising to verify identities and enhancing browser recognition. But identifying an entity doesn’t equate to trust.

The Foundation of Trust

Harvard Business Review lists the core drivers of trust as:

  • Authenticity: When people sense that you’re concealing the truth or being less than authentic, they’re far less willing to trust you.
  • Logic: If people don’t always have confidence in the rigor of your ideas, they won’t be able to trust you.
  • Empathy: If people think you care more about yourself than about others, they won’t trust you.

While a technology solution may provide some evidence of Authenticity via identity verification, and hint at logic using sophisticated technology, it can never offer an empathetic solution nor wholly satisfy Authenticity or Logic concerns. Because these are not technology problems, they are relationships issues.

VTAC transcends technology. Knowing an entity, whether a business or a person, goes hand in hand with genuine trust. Welcome to the future of reliable interactions, where trust is not just about secure connections, but about building real, verifiable confidence in a community of peers.

Building Online Using Actual Relationships

“Investigating an emerging paradigm using components of the VTAC for managing online relationships.”

Discover the Future of Trust

Dive into our latest white paper, “Building Online Trust Using Actual Relationships,” and explore the revolutionary approach that is changing the game in managing online and offline interactions. This insightful document delves deep into the emerging paradigm shift toward leveraging real-world relationships, powered by the innovative components of the VTAC system.

Learn how the VTAC model is transforming the landscape of online trust, moving beyond traditional digital verification methods to foster genuine, lasting connections. Whether you’re a business leader, a digital security enthusiast, or someone keen on understanding the dynamics of online relationships, this white paper offers valuable insights into building trust in a digital age dominated by superficial interactions.

Get your copy now and be part of the movement towards a more authentic and trustworthy online world.

VTAC 2.0

A Human Solution for Building Trust

Transform your understanding of trust with VTAC by K5M, a groundbreaking approach that goes beyond mere technology to foster genuine trust. In a digital landscape cluttered with superficial solutions, VTAC stands out by rooting its trust in real, ongoing human relationships. Whether it’s personal, business, or product-related, the new VTAC embodies the essence of a relationship built over time, offering a foundation for building trust in today’s world.

VTAC’s success lies in its foundation of integrity. Each VTAC holder undergoes a vetting process, ensuring they are endorsed by K5M—a uniquely positioned entity that merges the trustworthiness of a person with the credibility of a publicly traded company. This dual identity enables K5M to extend a level of trust and verification that is both personal and expansive.

The verification journey with VTAC is tailored to the complexity of each applicant and the level of trust to be created.

By applying pigment to the dermis, the VTAC becomes more secure than any virtual certificate currently being offered. It’s not pixels on the screen, but a physical permanent marking that shows users an entity is trusted. It’s simply not possible to fabricate or imitate. This exclusive endorsement signifies a deep level of trust, reserved for those K5M personally believes in and chooses to carry as a permanent testament to their integrity.

Case Study: Panic, Inc.

The VTAC protocol is currently in use by Panic Inc., a lauded software company that was looking for an additional layer of real trust after being disappointed by the merely cosmetic results of an EV certificate.

Background: Panic Inc, a forward-thinking tech company, faced a common digital security challenge: acquiring an Extended Validation (EV) certificate to display a green “Panic Inc” badge in the address bar, a symbol of web security and trustworthiness. Despite the recognized value, the process proved to be “Le Pain Royale” – exceedingly difficult and costly, sparking internal discussions about the effectiveness and value of traditional digital trust symbols.

Challenge: The primary challenge was twofold. Firstly, obtaining the EV certificate was a laborious and expensive endeavor, stretching resources thin without a proportionate increase in perceived security among users. Secondly, there was a growing realization that traditional digital validations, despite their cost and complexity, offered limited engagement and trust assurance from the users’ perspective.

“This actually has meaning.”

Panic Co-Founder Cabel Sasser

Solution: Amidst these challenges, Mike Merrill proposed an innovative solution. For the equivalent cost of an EV certificate, he suggested creating a more tangible and enduring symbol of trust: the Verified Trusted Authenticity Certificate (VTAC) seal. This concept involved Mike receiving a tattoo, representing a permanent and unforgeable mark of authenticity and security commitment from Panic Inc. The VTAC seal was not just a new form of validation but a radical departure from conventional digital trust symbols, offering “trust beyond pixels” – a trust that was personal, visible, and immutable.

Implementation: Mike’s proposal was met with enthusiasm, and VTAC was born. The VTAC seal, represented by Mike’s tattoo, served as a groundbreaking symbol of security, deeply personal yet universally recognizable. Panic Inc introduced the VTAC seal as an alternative to the EV certificate, inviting customers and stakeholders to witness this commitment to security firsthand by visiting their office.

Results: The VTAC seal transcended traditional digital security measures, creating a buzz around Panic Inc’s innovative approach to trust and security. Customers appreciated the human element of trust, leading to increased engagement and confidence in Panic Inc’s commitment to their security. The initiative not only saved costs associated with digital certifications but also positioned Panic Inc as a pioneer in rethinking digital trust.

Conclusion: VTAC challenged conventional notions of digital trust, replacing pixels with a human touch. Whether seen as an art project, a new level of web security, or a clever prank, VTAC underscores the evolving nature of trust in the digital age. Panic Inc’s venture into this uncharted territory highlights the potential for innovative solutions to traditional challenges, forever changing how trust is conveyed in the digital realm.

The Origin of VTAC

The Verified Trusted Authenticity Certificate (VTAC) project stands at the confluence of historical cultural practices and innovative business models, drawing inspiration from a rich tapestry of human endeavor that spans centuries.

Examples of the inspiration and concepts that created VTAC are the following:

Egyptian Pyramids

These ancient wonders reflect not just architectural ingenuity but also the communal and religious dedication of a civilization, inspiring an exploration into themes of legacy, permanence, and the human desire to create enduring symbols of cultural and personal significance.

Quilting Bees in American History

These social gatherings not only produced practical items but also served as a means of communal storytelling and support inspiring ideas of coming together to create something that holds both individual and collective significance.

Totem Poles of Indigenous People

These monumental sculptures tell stories, commemorate events, and represent cultural beliefs, serving as a physical manifestation of community identity and history.

Bob’s Red Mill

Known for its employee-owned structure, Bob’s Red Mill exemplifies the spirit of cooperative principles within a corporate framework. This model demonstrates how a business can thrive by fostering a culture of democracy, equality, and shared success.

Lloyd’s of London

Starting as a coffeehouse in the 17th century, Lloyd’s of London evolved into a major insurance market. The story of Lloyd’s underscores the importance of creating spaces for open communication and networking, fostering a culture of mutual support and trust within a community.

Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet became a pioneer in providing commercial credit information and building trust among businesses. Their system of credit ratings helped companies assess the reliability of potential partners, facilitating safer trade, highlighting the importance of trust and mutual respect in forming and maintaining connections.


The Freemasons stand out for their rich history of uniting professionals and businesspeople under the banners of ethical practices, community service, and mutual support.

Characterized by their use of secrecy, rituals, and symbols, the Freemasons cultivate a distinctive sense of identity and exclusivity among their members.

This practice of embedding deeper meanings into symbols and rituals is a powerful method of strengthening bonds within a community.

By weaving together the threads of cultural heritage and business innovation, VTAC positions itself as a unique exploration of trust, commitment, and community. It stands as a testament to the enduring human desire to connect, belong, and build together, offering a new paradigm for engagement in an ever-evolving world.

A New Trust Level: Initiate

We have recently introduced the “Initiate” level within the Verified Trusted Authenticity Certificate (VTAC) project: A profound yet elegantly simple symbol of entry-level participation: the small dot tattoo, or NODE. This minimalist mark represents the foundational step into VTAC, symbolizing the initial point of connection and commitment to the overarching values of trust, security, and mutual respect that VTAC embodies.

The NODE (Networking, Openness, Dependability, Engagement), while modest in design, carries significant meaning. It signifies the willingness to embark on a journey of collaboration and innovation within the VTAC ecosystem. This dot is not just an aesthetic choice but a physical manifestation of the individual’s pledge to be part of something greater than themselves—a NODE in the network of trust that extends beyond the digital realm into the tangible world.

For initiates, this NODE serves as a symbolic gateway to deeper engagement with VTAC, offering a sense of belonging and identity within the community. It’s a testament to the idea that even the smallest contribution holds value and that every member plays a crucial role in the fabric of the collective. This dot remains a permanent reminder of their roots within VTAC, marking the beginning of their journey towards greater involvement and community.

The Initiate level starts at just $99 and will be applied at every three to five new members.

Reach out now to reserve your spot in the next application of NODEs.