2019: A Year Chock-a-Blockpass Full of Activity
As we reached the end of 2019 and move into the beginning of a new decade, we wanted to take a moment at Blockpass to reflect on everything we’ve accomplished over the past twelve months. All told - it’s quite the list! The team has grown and expanded, much like the Blockpass Mobile App and the KYC services Blockpass supports and provides. We’ve continued to simplify KYC, by making a series of improvements to our App and Dashboard. We introduced the ability to seamlessly sign up for KYC Connect® online through our Admin Console, and our KYC Dashboard is now fully hosted online. Much of our efforts have naturally been driven towards streamlining and simplifying the KYC process for those involved and enabling businesses to comply with regulations whilst offering their products and solutions in the way they want to. Whilst the sum total of all our work is too broad to quantify in one article, most of our significant developments can be read on our blog; however, we’ve picked out some of the highlights of the last twelve months for you here.
2019 began with a bang, as Blockpass kicked off the new year with the announcement of partnerships, giveaways and integrations - a trend that would continue throughout the rest of the year. Korporatio and Open Identity Exchange were the start, with the recently-partnered RigoBlock the focus for the first airdrop of the year we enabled. Another trend that would continue in 2019 was the listing of PASS tokens on exchanges - with Bitfinex and Ethfinex leading the way. However, perhaps the most significant news as the New Years celebrations were still fresh in our memories, was the Blockpass Events Series announcement. The events provided an avenue to enable high-level discussion and networking opportunities around Blockpass, KYC and the subject of Blockchain Identity Verification. These events have taken the form of both meet ups and seminars, with a significant number scheduled for the months ahead. In a similar vein, the next stage of the educational and informational side of Blockpass is set to be revealed in shortly - be sure to watch out for an announcement coming soon. The third pillar of our continuous improvements, the App itself, was also renovated in January, with both new-and-improved profile building capabilities in v.2.1.0, and the revolutionary Face Match certification being released to make creating and using a Blockpass identity simpler, smoother and quicker. February continued the trends set in the first part of the year, with the first of the Blockpass events kicking off and further partnerships and integrations announced. Legacy Trust, ethecal and IDEX and TokenMarket were all introduced in the second month of the year. The start of March saw additional language support options being added to the mobile app to help bring Blockpass to as wide a community as possible. Events progressed and integrations continued, with Tokenomica and Corporate Options representing the new Blockpass partners. The initial Security Token Seminar was hosted in Hong Kong and proved hugely successful, with a very positive reception and feedback from speakers and attendees. A particularly important milestone was reached in April - the six month anniversary of the launch of the Blockpass Identity Lab. Located on the premises Edinburgh Napier University, the lab is focused on researching the most groundbreaking technology that will revolutionise the way we conduct identity verification and ensure security and privacy for all involved. As part of the celebration of this milestone, we published an article outlining a variety of the technologies and developments that are being researched at the BIL. One of the PhD candidates studying there, Will Abramson, was also kind enough to sit down for a chat with us in the style of one of our ‘5 Minute With’ interviews. Will also maintains a blog that discusses some of his work and experiences which can be found here. Continuing the Scottish theme, exchange GlenBit integrated Blockpass for its KYC needs. This month proved to be busy, with Blockpass and OAX Foundation beginning to work together to promote regulatory compliance, but perhaps the highlight was the London leg of the Blockpass Security Token Seminar. With keynote speaker Lord Holmes of Richmond, MBE, the event saw technology experts, business leaders, regulatory specialists and many more gathered to share and discuss information around the topic of STOs. The event garnered significant interest, being covered by media outlets such as the Fintech Times. May was a big month for events, with the Blockpass team appearing at a number of locations in London and Hong Kong, and video interviews being posted. At a time of such rapid movement and activity, the Blockpass team marked an increase of over 25% in employees and job roles since the start of the year. Maybe most significantly though, Blockpass partnered with Waves - marking the first major integration of Blockpass outside the Ethereum ecosystem! The PASS token functionality also had to be replicated to the Waves platform, resulting in the creation of WPASS. Ampleforth, Beam and Polymath were all new partners in June as Blockpass charged forward into the summer. We were particularly proud during this month when we won the Most Promising KYC/AML Compliance Checker at Security Tokens Realised 2019 in Hong Kong. Even though the year had seen a number of articles on topics ranging from regulation to integrations to philosophical questions, June saw news breaking in the regulatory circles of new regulatory guidelines and outcomes of the G20, and General Counsel of OAX Foundation, Paul Li and Blockpass CEO, Adam Vaziri co-authored an article exploring these very developments. In contrast, the mainstream media went crazy for the news that Facebook was considering launching its own cryptocurrency - Libra. Blockpass covered this news with the experience of living and breathing the cryptocurrency and blockchain space for a number of years, with recent news on Libra reinforcing the struggle Mark Zuckerberg might have to face to see this goal realised. The Ultra IEO kicked off in July, with Blockpass providing the KYC services, continuing to support promising blockchain and cryptocurrency projects as they grow and develop. New partners were seen in Comply Advantage, Ultra and 2GoTrade, expanding Blockpass’ reach and potential in the lead up to one of the biggest announcements of the year. The Blockpass Marketplace was launched in August, with the momentous occasion marked by the return of the Blockpass Quiz, and its prize of US$1000 in PASS! A one-stop-shop for users to find and sign up for campaigns, exchanges, wallets and other services that have integrated with Blockpass, the Marketplace marked a key development for Blockpass as it encouraged growth for both users of the Mobile App, and potential business partners - naturally spurring the growth of the ecosystem. The Merchant Dashboard and Mobile App were also upgraded in August, further enabling KYC Connect® to streamline the KYC process for businesses, wallets and exchanges alike. With the ability to set merchant-specific expiry dates for certificates, the dashboard update ensured that the information that merchants were reviewing was up-to-date and in-line with specific regulations they are required to comply with. The app itself received a UI upgrade which included changes to make finding, signing up and completing KYC verification with services even easier, decreasing the time spent on verification and onboarding even further. Whilst August was busy, September saw Blockpass researching and writing about developments such as global blockchain adoption, and also pieces designed to explain the nuances of regulation, identity management and the world Blockpass operates in to people who might be unfamiliar with key terms or processes - an ongoing effort in Blockpass’ goal of education about this new and constantly evolving space. Improvements such as the Admin Console also became live in September, providing merchants with methods to configure their onboarding service. New options open to merchants expanded on the certificate-setting ability, which had been rolled out at the end of the previous month in the Merchant Dashboard, with additional, more advanced searching tools and hashing features designed to streamline and simplify the customer onboarding process. A large number of developments enabling a secure and regulatory-compliant KYC service whilst making the process as quick, flexible and simple as possible, had come to a culmination by this point, with improvements and expansions to Blockpass’ solutions being a highlight of the year. At the end of September and the beginning of October, Blockpass saw the roll out of a significant new capability, which was soon followed by a change in global regulations that told us we were definitely on the right track. The addition of ongoing AML provision to KYC Connect® was something Blockpass had been planning on for a while and it was released just in time! November once again gave us a cause to celebrate the Blockpass Identity Lab as news success at the end of October coming through. Diffusion 2019: Blockchain Hackathon had been a great success for the team at the BIL, who came away with two awards! New FATF guidelines were released this month and the Blockpass research team trawled through the papers to bring the highlights to the front. Perhaps one of the biggest things to come out of the second half of the year was the launch of an all new product offering, AdPASS. The brainchild of Blockpass CEO, Adam Vaziri, AdPASS was created to provide merchants an opportunity to offer their services to a huge pool of pre-verified users. This made it incredibly quick and easy for merchants to gain access to new customers through a simple cost-per-acquisition model. This is a great benefit to Blockpass users as they have a vastly increased variety of offers and services available to them a lot more immediately than before. The start of the festive season was a busy month at Blockpass, with articles looking at the future of blockchain and identity management through the findings of a number of recently-released reports, and a look at how AI is being used to revolutionise KYC. The KYC service provided by Blockpass itself was once again improved, this time with the addition of Smart Engines - enabling seamless addition of identity documents and reducing the friction and complexity of completing KYC whilst also minimising the risks associated with data leaks and speeding up the whole process. Finally, we rounded off the year with a celebratory PASS faucet giveaway and a new version of a traditional Christmas Carol in what looks to become a yearly Blockpass Christmas tradition. Throughout last year we endeavoured to create the most streamlined and user-friendly KYC experience for merchants and customers alike, satisfying regulations whilst removing the pain points. We welcome feedback on our developments and requests for new or improved features we can add in the future. We’ve also worked hard to bring you relevant, insightful and interesting articles, covering a range of topics and developments. We would love to hear what your favourite ones were and what kinds of articles you’d like to see more of in the year to come. You can get in touch with us via email or social media to tell us what you think - after all, this is all for you!