IBM Helps FinTechs and Banks Address Blockchain Know Your Customer (KYC) Challenge

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During the recent Singapore FinTech Festival, IBM announced a Blockchain project with Singapore fintech startup KYCK! to help enable financial services providers to more rapidly on-board their customers in a secure environment. This and other KYC projects like it using IBM Blockchain can hold the promise to help reduce the time and expense required to onboard a new client.

Requirements that banks and financial institutions comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements is a global challenge. Blockchain holds potential to help address this need to prove the identity of a person or organization, source of funds, business interests, history and also monitor for changes.

Through the application of Blockchain technologies on cloud, banks can streamline operations by adopting a one-time process with secure data protection and enhanced identity verification. Using the open-source Hyperledger Project Fabric, immutability, traceability and privacy of the information is provided on a permissioned distributed ledger which is critical in a highly regulated environment.

Working with the IBM Bluemix Garage in Singapore to design and test the new solution to be built on the Hyperledger Fabric, KYCK! intends to provide brokerages a platform with video conferencing and encrypted document submission capabilities for the secure on-boarding of new customers. The platform also aims to provide enhanced identification validation through a trusted Blockchain based business network that will potentially include banking and governmental entities. Once identity verification is confirmed, KYCK! will enter the customer’s information into current bank-based checks or third-party KYCK! systems before account on-boarding.

The IBM Blockchain based solution will be secured by the IBM High-Security Business network (HSBN) delivered via Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform. This enables KYCK! to handle sensitive data with additional levels of security that can help protect against unauthorized access and tampering.

KYCK! is a startup, co-founded by three Singaporeans to provide users with information pertaining to the Southeast Asia Exchanges and access to brokerage demo accounts with easy on-boarding opportunities. As former sales traders, the co-founders personally experienced the inefficiencies of the customer on-boarding process due to stringent financial compliance requirements. This gave them the idea of starting a business that focuses on improving the client on-boarding process and enhancing the overall customer experience by deploying secured and appropriate technology capabilities.

“We were fortunate to have found a partner in IBM with the right capabilities to enable us to apply our financial industry know-how and bring our ideas to life. Working with the IBM Bluemix Garage, we have seen how Blockchain can improve operational efficiency, increase transparency and reduce transaction risks. We hope that financial institutions will see an improvement in their current customer on-boarding processes and the overall customer experience,” said Darryl Tan, Co-Founder of KYCK!.

“The application of Blockchain is showing great promise across a broad range of business applications. It is a technology that establishes accountability and transparency while streamlining business processes. Since we launched an IBM Bluemix Garage focused on Blockchain in Singapore this year, we have seen more and more startups and entrepreneurs come through our doors with a curiosity and passion for how they can apply Blockchain as a competitive differentiator. We have the privilege of working with the start-up community and the wider ecosystem to realize some of these ideas, and we are excited to see the impact of their work in their community and industry,” said Alan Lim, Practice Lead, IBM Blockchain & Bluemix Garage, ASEAN.

Blockchain is one of the more than 150 advanced services and APIs available to developers on Bluemix. Bluemix has rapidly grown to become one of the largest open, public cloud deployments in the world. Based on open standards, it features advanced technologies spanning categories of cognitive computing, cloud data analytics, Blockchain and Internet of Things.

The IBM Bluemix Garages serve as hubs for developers, product managers and designers to come together to rapidly design and develop successful applications on Bluemix. With a total of eight Bluemix Garages globally, the Singapore Bluemix Garage is one of the latest to be added to the IBM global network, which includes locations in London, New York, Nice, Melbourne, San Francisco, Tokyo and Toronto.

About Richard Kastelein

Founder of industry publication Blockchain News, partner at ICO services collective CryptoAsset Design Group (helped raise over $200m+), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) and ICO event organiser at leading industry event  CryptoFinancing (first ICO event in Europe) - Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of half a dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1200 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat.
 
Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London, Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, San Mateo, Shanghai,Tel Aviv and Venice. His network is global and extensive.
 
He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French.
 
A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world.
 
In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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