In early 2019, Evernym was accepted into the fifth cohort of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Regulatory Sandbox, the UK’s independent financial services regulatory institution, along with our partners Deloitte and Onfido.
Together, we set out to pilot a decentralized identity ecosystem in the UK and demonstrate how verifiable credentials can improve customer onboarding journeys and reduce compliance costs for financial institutions.
The pilot leveraged Evernym’s core products including our Connect.Me digital wallet app, within which the Onfido identity verification SDK had been embedded. Here’s how it worked:
1. From within the Connect.Me wallet, a consumer takes a selfie and a photo of their physical government issued identity document.
2. Onfido verifies this data in real time, and then uses Evernym’s Verity system to issue a verifiable credential containing the attributes from the physical document to the consumer’s Connect.Me wallet.
3. When the financial institution asks for proof of identity as part of their KYC process, the consumer is able to share their credential directly from Connect.Me.
4. The financial institution knows who the credential was issued to, who it was issued by (Onfido), that it hasn’t been tampered with and that it hasn’t been revoked, so they can go ahead and trigger an account opening whilst meeting regulatory requirements. Such is the power of verifiable credentials.
We then tested the end-to-end experience of issuing, holding, and verifying digital credentials in partnership with leading UK fintechs, B-Social, Curve, Monese, and Seedrs. Participating volunteers were able to simply and efficiently open real live financial accounts using verifiable credentials, with the majority stating they would recommend the solution to others.
The tests demonstrated both compatibility with regulatory frameworks and the market appetite for portable identity, two critical steps toward wider adoption.
“Our work alongside Evernym, Onfido and other industry participants has demonstrated the practical applications and business relevance of portable digital identity within the FCA regulatory sandbox. We believe that the emergence of a portable digital identity provides a unique opportunity to build an open and scalable ecosystem which can help improve customer experience and protection, solve an institution’s onboarding challenges, and also create new and scalable business models.”
“This pilot was instrumental in proving that portable identity significantly improves both consumer experience and protection, while accelerating customer onboarding and reducing KYC and compliance-related costs for financial institutions. Now that we’ve proven the model in one of the toughest regulated markets in the world, we’re rapidly proceeding to apply it to other geographies and services as well such as renting a car, self-checking into a hotel and one day, even voting.”
“The pilot has been a shining demonstration of how portable digital identity can transform markets and solve real business problems in a way never before possible. When you put the individual in charge of her digital identity, everyone wins. It gives consumers the freedom to securely move about the digital world, and businesses the ability to finally know and trust who they are interacting with.”