September 10, 2019
Digital tokens, digital payments, and other forms of digital value exchange experienced explosive growth over the past few years. Transmitting money or other types of stored value digitally is almost always faster and more convenient for both parties—and is often more secure. As a result, companies outside of formal regulated banking are now offering financial services.
The risk and compliance management challenges of money transmission—once the province of banks alone—now apply to many organizations, startups, enterprises, and nonprofits/NGOs, most of whom have never had to deal with this type of compliance. Financial regulators around the world are following these trends closely and working to ensure existing regulations apply to new entrants acting as de-facto financial intermediaries.
Identity verification is at the core of financial regulations like Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML), and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT). So it is no surprise that the Sovrin Network, the Sovrin Foundation, and the Sovrin Governance Framework Working Group (SGFWG) increasingly attract attention and participation from the financial services industry. This has culminated in the launch of a dedicated Compliance and Payments Task Force.
This new SGFWG task force will develop a specialized governance framework for digital value exchange that incorporates the same risk and regulatory safeguards for secure payments as those required of traditional financial institutions. The starting point will be the “Rulebook” designed by FinClusive, a hybrid fin/reg-tech company dedicated to increasing financial inclusion through a robust risk and compliance management framework.
The Rulebook is based on:
Digital payment networks of any type or size will have the option to adopt the Rulebook as a means of ensuring compliance while delivering a seamless experience for users and a smooth flow of funds for members, including moving funds to and from traditional banking rails. The Rulebook will define technical standards for end-to-end transaction flows and service level agreements between transacting parties; ensuring consistency, operational certainty, and legal clarity for every transaction.
“This new Task Force is a perfect example of building on top of the Sovrin Governance Framework that we have been developing for the past three years,” said SGFWG Chair Drummond Reed. “Having a solid foundation of interoperable self-sovereign identity can now help the industry solve higher-level business problems such as financial regulation compliance.”
Amit Sharma, co-founder and CEO of Finclusive, volunteered to lead this new Task Force, saying: “With growing regulatory and industry interest in compliance protocols for digital assets and blockchain-enabled payment networks, we hope this Rulebook will offer a comprehensive and disciplined framework for ensuring transparency and security to keep our financial system safe and accessible for all who need it.”
This new Compliance and Payments Task Force is another example of how the Sovrin Foundation is addressing growing market needs for self-sovereign identity and verifiable credentials. Non-traditional and emerging technology companies pledge to manage their risk effectively, and regulators are looking for industry leadership to ensure financial intermediation activities remain safe, secure, and transparent. “The Sovrin Foundation is pleased to host the work of developing this Rulebook, providing the practical AML and compliance guidance needed to meet commercial and regulatory goals,” said Heather Dahl, Executive Director of the Foundation.
As with the SGFWG itself, the Compliance and Payments Task Force is comprised entirely of volunteers with administrative support from the Sovrin Foundation. It is open to new members; anyone with a genuine interest in supporting the work is invited to participate. For more details about the Task Force and instructions on how to join, please see the Task Force Meeting Page or send email to email@example.com.Use case spotlight: Onfido to provide self-sovereign identity verification services