Blockchain and RegTech are two of the hottest topics in Financial Services right now. Each of it is by itself already intriguing but applying blockchain technology to improve regulatory technology makes it even more interesting. Some of the use cases are obvious (AML, KYC, Fraud), while others need a little more explanation. Let’s have a look at where blockchain already gets applied in RegTech solutions.
AML / KYC and Fraud Prevention
Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer are the obvious choice when we talk about use cases for blockchain application in RegTech. Why? Right now every financial institution has to collect its own data on potential and existing clients, which is not only very time consuming but also rather expensive both money wise and in terms of resources. So why not use distributed ledger technology to create a single record that all banks could use to identify their customers and monitor transactions? Well, that’s obviously the optimal outcome, which currently might be difficult to achieve, but nevertheless it’s the field quite a few RegTech firms are deploying their trade. Especially in the field of cryptocurrencies firms like Chainalysis, Coinfirm or KYC-Chain provide AML software for Bitcoin transactions that monitors activity and allows for enhanced due diligence. NewBanking’s objective is to provide KYC verified money through the traditional payment network by enriching payment data with access to full compliance documentation, supporting all major card schemes worldwide and offer closed loop payment options based on private blockchain technology. Others like Tradle also start with KYC in order to build a global trust provisioning network using distributed ledger technology. Civic provides a similar service with its free identity management and an identity theft protection service that allows banks, financial institutions and other merchants to confirm the usage of social security numbers with the true owner of that number before creating new accounts.
Monitoring is another use case and once again there is the obvious application of blockchain technology in the blockchain world itself, i.e. monitoring of transactions in cryptocurrencies. One of the risks associated with Bitcoin and the like is that they might be used for illicit reasons. Companies like Elliptic or Skry focus on that task. They monitor transaction, for example, on the bitcoin blockchain, identify potentially illicit ones and alert their clients or law enforcement agencies.
The digital age has brought us incredible amounts of data, but with it come problems like access and security of it. The sheer amount of it can be challenging for financial institutions: on one hand make sure that everything is accessible for internal use, documented for audit purposes, but protected against falling into the wrong hands. Based on blockchain technology, PeerNova has developed a new approach to tackling this challenge, creating an immutable ledger with built-in audit, scale, and other capabilities necessary to help the financial institutions store, secure, and validate data.
Regulatory Fund Management
On a more general level, GECKO Governance’s solution allows users to schedule, manage and monitor a large portfolio of investment fund’s regulatory & compliance requirements in real-time through Blockchain technology.
That the application of distributed ledger technology in financial services with regard to regulatory compliance goes way beyond AML, KYC, and monitoring, becomes apparent when we look at the recent drive by industry heavyweights to invest and partner with firms active in the field.
Blockstream last year collected $76 million from investors and the fact that it aims to apply blockchain technologies to a wide range of solutions, from fraud to counterfeiting, from security to confidentiality, from accountability to transparency, shows Blockchain’s potential for compliance. The same applies for Digital Asset whose technology aims to improve nothing less than efficiency, security, compliance and settlement speed in financial services. A promise that IBM, Goldman Sachs and several other banks with a vote of confidence in the form of $60 million in a funding round last year.
Blockchain certainly isn’t the only innovative technology that transforms financial services compliance and it will certainly take time before we see industry wide adoption, but it looks like we’re off to a promising start.
Interested in getting the whole RegTech picture? Read our RegTech Directory, the most comprehensive guide to the industry!