Is it possible to share your data in a totally secure and legal way among various bodies (your bank, insurance company, energy supplier, or other companies)? That is the question that the Onboarding Know Your Customer (O-KYC) project aims to answer.
Onboarding Know Your Customer is a project set up in 2020 on the basis of an idea by CeTIF, the Research Centre for Technologies, Innovation and Services in Finance at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan. The initiative has involved over twenty companies from different sectors in the Italian market.
Banca Ifis has always been committed to encouraging innovations that benefit its customers, and has taken part in this grand experiment to promote Italy’s digital evolution.
The Onboarding Know Your Customer experiment aims to use the blockchain to share between the various businesses the data required for the process of onboarding, and for learning about the customer’s particular characteristics.
With the use of blockchain technology, the data can be stored in a shared ecosystem. The customer, as owner of his personal data, can interact with this system on a dedicated app, updating his data when necessary and allowing it to be shared. So, for example, the user could – in just a single operation – inform all the companies he has dealings with in various markets about his change of address. Notification of the change would be sent to the Body storing the data (the Custodian) which, after requesting any supporting documents, would then be responsible for disclosing this information.
To protect all the actors involved, the O-KYC trial was carried out by CeTIF and its partners in a sandbox, a protected and controlled environment in which both the market players and the regulating authorities were able to work together to develop the solution. The project has already shown in this “in vitro” phase that it can meet the increasingly important need of companies to reduce costs, times and complexity, which have a significant impact on the functioning of certain processes related to locating customer data.
In the spring of 2022, the project took an important step forward with its entry into the regulatory sandbox directed by the Bank of Italy and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).
The dialogue with the supervisory authorities (Bank of Italy, CONSOB and IVASS) will therefore be ongoing, making it possible to construct a new framework for the development of innovative models in the banking, financial and insurance sectors. It is a preliminary step towards developing and industrialising a service whose usefulness and efficiency has been demonstrated and recognised by all the partners in the initiative.
Between 2022 and 2023, field trials will begin of the new blockchain-based O-KYC technology, allowing Banca Ifis to test it with the other Banks involved in the Regulatory Sandbox, and to continue demonstrating the usefulness of this new system in supporting the security of customer and prospect data.
The blockchain technology that underpins this common ecosystem will not only help to simplify processes for the financial bodies and insurance companies involved, but may also lead to the development of future forms of synergy using other digital identity systems (for example SPID and CIE), whose use is constantly growing.