Our new Disruption by Blockchain series aims to highlight companies that are leveraging the incredible potential of blockchain technology to disrupt and revolutionize their industry. Through one on one interviews, we'll speak directly with industry leaders to cut beyond the hype and get directly to the heart of practical use cases and examples of how it will change the world, one industry at a time.
The following is an interview we recently had with Sanjeev Kumar, Chief Strategist Officer and Co-founder of VeriME.
1. What’s the history of VeriME? How and where did you begin?
SK: Our promoter NextTech group runs 30+ businesses. They had to do silo KYC for every business they own and it was expensive, time-consuming and repetitive. This is how VeriME originated. We build a simple, user-friendly mobile app to do the KYC for the onboarding new customers using AI, Machine learning, and biometric tools and piloted this with top-4 businesses. Over further research and development, we decided to bring this solution onto blockchain and expand it across the region!
VeriME is a decentralized Verification-as-a-Service (VaaS) ecosystem operating on Blockchain and Customer’s mobile application, using the most advanced biometric technologies and machine learning tools to identify and authenticate the Customer during the purchase of goods and services. Customers can verify their identity electronically with the Service Providers (Online/Offline, both Blockchain, and traditional applications) who are VeriME’s partners in just a few seconds, saving cost for Service Providers and enhancing Customer experience.
VeriME’s products protect its Partners and ensure their compliance with local, in-country regulations such as the prohibition of transmission of confidential or sensitive information of an individual outside its boundaries (also known as Local Data Sovereignty and PDPA laws). VeriME’s solutions are designed in such a way that it DOES NOT transmit confidential or sensitive information such as PCI DSS [Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards] and PII [Personally Identifiable Information] data, during KYC and Authentication processes. Unlike other ICO projects, VeriME is a ready-to-use product, being researched and developed for the past two years. Since April 2017, VeriME’s D-KYC product has been functional with 14 of its partners (including a largest online payment gateway, e-Wallet, eBay.vn and a TelCo), with selected merchants and across 30,000 users in the Vietnamese market.
Mission: Digitize KYC and Authentication solutions, deliver transparency with Blockchain, provide access anywhere and anytime via a personal mobile device, minimize time & cost for Partners, maximize Customer experience.
Vision: VeriME becomes a global, not-for-profit, decentralized VaaS ecosystem in the Blockchain space and beyond saving time and money for partners and end consumers.
2. Who are the founders and key team members?
Nguyen Hoa Binh, Co-founder and Chairman
Sanjeev Kumar, Co-founder and Chief Strategist Officer
Nguyễn Phú, CEO Vietnam
Kenneth Borlongan, CEO Philippines
Lê Văn Lương, CTO
3. What problem are you solving?
SK: The problem being solved is regarding the tedious and expensive task of KYC for Financial Institutions and that of customer and merchant payment authentication online. These problems are being solved for everybody who uses banking services or shops online.
4. What is your solution to this problem?
SK: The solution we provide is VeriME's D-KYC which allows customers to create their profiles on the platform and simplify the KYC process as the financial institutions can directly pull up the KYC data of the customers without physically calling the customers to the office premises. The problem of payment authentication that is currently managed by clumsy 2-factor authentication processes will be simplified by D-Secure which performs customer as well as merchant protection while shopping online.
5. Why is your industry ripe for disruption?
SK: According to a survey conducted by Thomson Reuters, it is estimated that financial Institutions and firms spend up to $500 million globally on KYC. Also, 13% of the customers who responded revealed that they had changed their financial services provider as a result of bad experience. It is important to note that not only costs but also customer experience is critical for businesses to retain their clientele.
KYC is legally mandatory for financial service providers. They must adhere seriously to KYC procedures if they want to avoid billions of dollars in fines. Many other non-financial-service industries also need to KYC their customers for legal compliance. So, the KYC market size is tremendous with up to 3 billion customers and it costs tens of billions of dollars annually across the globe.
However, the traditional process of user verification is unnecessarily time-consuming and complicated thus causing customer friction. Therefore different kinds of organizations across the world are in need of a breakthrough solution which helps them save time, costs as well as enhance the user experience.
VeriME’s Digital-KYC [D-KYC] is ‘Know Your Customer’ in a digital way. It performs KYC processes remotely and completely online without requiring customers to meet, fill out forms and submit documents. D-KYC uses biometric technologies to automatically identify the physical form of customers and match them with authentication documents without the need for a face-to-face meeting, hence maximizing convenience and minimizing cost for Customers and Service Providers.
6. What’s the future of your industry?
Prediction #1: Blockchain is way to go.
Prediction #2: We believe in shared economy, transparency and data privacy.
Prediction #3: With decentralized ecosystem, customers will own their own data and would be able to monetise from it.