Building Trust Through Reusable KYC in the COVID-19 Remote World

April 2020
Since COVID-19 spread from China around the turn of the year and rapidly became a global pandemic, the world has turned into a very different place, with grounded flights, quarantine zones, stay-at-home orders, social distancing, business interruption, plummeting stock markets, tanking economies, and skyrocketing unemployment. It has forced governments, businesses, schools, universities, and all types of organizations to adopt new methods of operation or effectively shut down. 

The advent of this virus has resulted in and will continue to cause a great deal of suffering and loss of life in the months and perhaps years to come. Nonetheless, there may be a silver lining; businesses and organizations are beginning to embrace the remote working opportunities afforded by technology and are becoming innovative in the way that they operate. The age of ubiquitous remote business and fully virtual commerce is finally here.

The digital world is not a new phenomenon, with more than two decades of global growth in Internet usage for all commerce and daily life. Up to the end of 2019, most kinds of organizations from startups to big corporations and from universities to medical, legal and accounting professionals were using platforms like Zoom, Hangouts and Skype to do video conferencing, or collaborative apps like Slack, Chat and Discord to communicate, plan, and work together. 

However, most businesses, government agencies and other organizations have needed in-person meetings to establish trust in individuals they do business with. They have, in most part, required real life interviews of potential hires, demanded their employees to go into the office to work, as well as insisted on face-to-face meetings to close or conclude major partnerships or deals. The majority of universities and colleges around the globe have required prospective students to take part in a physical interview with a representative of the tertiary institution and their existing students to attend classes in-person. Meeting someone in the real world has still been key to establishing trust for important activities.

In 2020, that has all changed. There is now more emphasis on remote work than ever before, as COVID-19 is pushing people and organizations down the adoption curve to virtual operation. Except for essential occupations, most people who are still working or still being educated are doing it from home. According to news reports, the amount of people working remotely in recent weeks has resulted in an unprecedented surge in Internet traffic and bandwidth usage globally. This means there is much, much greater usage of online video conferencing, collaboration, sharing and virtual office platforms. Almost all business, commerce, and learning has become totally virtual. 

As we know, there is already an abundance of software services and apps that has made this possible right now. The difficulty is that there is still a need to establish trust in order to remotely conclude deals, sign contracts, complete applications, and pay individuals. This requires a secure identity verification process which is accessible to the public. Indeed, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the key intergovernmental organization developing global policies for combating money laundering and terrorist financing, released a statement on 1 April 2020, addressing in part the “world facing confinement or strict social distancing measures” resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The FATF highlighted the need for fintech and regtech that ensures “trustworthy digital identity for improving the security, privacy and convenience of identifying people remotely for both onboarding and conducting transactions” while also mitigating money laundering and terrorist financing risks.

Fortunately, this can easily be achieved through the use of Blockpass to securely verify the identity of individuals that need to be trusted for a particular activity. The following are examples of who Blockpass can remotely verify via identity documentation, KYC and AML credentials:

  • Consumers of digital financial services, including e-wallets, virtual banks, online trading platforms, e-insurance, and peer-2-peer lending

  • Employees, freelancers, and contractors that are prospective hires

  • Shareholders and directors during company setup and incorporation

  • Founders and shareholders in companies that are involved in business deals, mergers, or acquisitions

  • Shippers and suppliers of any products and services

  • Patients for consultations and drug prescriptions

  • Users of social networking, dating, collaborative, video conferencing, virtual office, and events platforms 

One case study for Blockpass has been a promising partnership with crypto-powered freelancer platform Krios. By using Blockpass KYC Connect®, Krios is providing its freelancers with the ability to get verified through KYC and AML checks. Those Krios freelancers who complete the KYC Connect® process, receive a verification “check badge” on their profile, so that talent-seeking employers can trust that the freelancers are who they say they are. For verified freelancers, it enables them to have a competitive advantage over non-verified job-seekers.

With the Blockpass KYC and AML SaaS, businesses and organizations can establish trust in individuals by authenticating their identity documentation such as passports and national ID cards, matching their faces to their IDs in real time, checking their proof of address, and monitoring if the individuals are politically exposed persons (PEP), subjects of any adverse media, and present in any country or individual sanctions lists.

The good news is that your business or organization can start establishing trust right now with the remote individuals that you are doing business with, or need to engage and formalize relationships with. The platform is fully automated and hosted in the cloud, with no integration or setup fee. You can sign up to Blockpass’ KYC Connect® console, test out the service, and, within minutes, start conducting identity verification, KYC and AML checks. Sign up for FREE here.