News Flash: Canadian Banks Back Blockchain-based Authentication Service

Verified.Me employs banking credentials, biometrics and mobile operators’ handset info

Some of Canada’s leading banks are supporting a new blockchain-based digital identity network. Developed by Toronto-based SecureKey Technologies, Verified.Me employs a combination of online banking credentials, biometrics and mobile operators’ information about people’s handsets to allow for multi-factor verification. Banks CIBC, Desjardins, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD are supporting the service, while BMO (Bank of Montreal) and the National Bank of Canada plan to join them soon, according to a report by IT World Canada. The service draws on data from EnStream, the joint venture owned by Telus, Bell, and Rogers, which provides identity information on factors related to a user’s smartphone, such as the phone number, and how long a SIM card has been in a device.

The report said the Verified.Me service was originally slated for launch in the autumn of 2018. “It’s the longest and hardest road I’ve ever worked on,” Greg Wolfond, CEO of SecureKey, told IT World Canada. “It’s the rigour that goes into the security.”

Bank CIBC believes the service could help improve the customer experience, as well meeting know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) obligations. “It’s our first commercial implementation of blockchain,” added Greg Elcich, vice-president of enterprise innovation at CIBC in an interview. “I think blockchain technology in this instance was a no brainer.” Elcich pointed to mortgage applications as a process that could benefit from the new authentication system. “There are many complex steps around a mortgage that require many documents. You have to send us a photocopy of your driver’s licence,” he said. “That will be done digitally, with the click of a button.”

For more information, please see the IT World Canada article