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SA fintech adds blockchain identification

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Fintech company ThisIsMe (TIM), which specialises in identity verification, will soon be launching blockchain technology to enhance its services of true identity (ID) verification, onboarding, background checks and KYC/AML (know-your-customer and anti-money laundering).
“While often associated with the virtual currency, Bitcoin, blockchain technology is now being considered as an additional layer of security to ensure anonymity in order to protect yourself online, thereafter enabling your trusted ID to vouch for your participation in the transaction,” says TIM chief executive Mark Chirnside, who adds that the move will equate to increased transparency for clients and supports TIM’s belief in consensual data transactions. “This is also in line with our core brand mission of bringing increased trust into every transaction.”
Alongside biometrics, blockchain technology offers a solution to many digital identity issues, where identity can be authenticated in an irrefutable, immutable and secure manner.
Blockchain-based authentication systems are based on irrefutable identity verification, using digital signatures based on public key cryptography.
“Implemented into our current systems, ThisIsMe with its blockchain identity and access management technology has the potential to reduce current compliance costs to financial institutions and eliminate the crippling fines they face, expanding the concept of Identity as a currency of the future” Chirnside says.
Identity theft remains a significant concern worldwide and is estimated to cost South African businesses between R1-billion and R2-billion each year. Contributing factors include a strong infrastructure of money wire services, readily available Internet, prepaid cell phones, high levels of corruption within certain companies and government agencies, and lack of police resources/expertise to combat this type of crime.
The Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report, released earlier this year, found that:
* 76% of South Africans believe that the likelihood of identity theft has increased;
* Two out of three (67%) feel that it is more difficult to control their personal information due to smartphones and the Internet;
* South Africans are engaged with the topic of security (78% acknowledge the need to actively protect their information), but there is still some notion that security is an inconvenience;
* 58% would rather cancel dinner plans with their best friend than have to cancel their credit/debit cards after their account has been compromised; and
* 58% would rather endure a terrible date than deal with credit/debit card customer service after a breach or hack.
Chirnside believes that the biggest benefits of the inclusion of blockchain technology is that contract-for-offer and critical data transactions will be more secure, seamless, accountable, consensual and faster.
TIM will be conducting closed beta demos this year, with the new blockchain functionality expected to go live in 2017.