Central Bank of Sri Lanka Selected Three Firms for Blockchain Proof-of-Concept KYC Facility

Suzat

July 2, 2020 4:23 pm

Central Bank of Sri Lanka Selected Three Firms for Blockchain Proof-of-Concept KYC Facility
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The Central bank of Sri Lanka has selected a shortlist of three firms to develop a proof-of-concept (POC) for a shared Know Your Customer (KYC) facility using Blockchain.

According to a report from Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror on July 2, The project was initiated in fall 2019, The central bank is looking to establish a blockchain-based facility that would empower the government and the banking sector to securely share and update customer data nationwide.

On June 30, at an event in Colombo, D. Kumaratunge, the central bank’s director of payments and settlements said:

“We invited software companies to develop a shared KYC PoC free of charge, as a national project. The response to join this project, both locally and internationally, has been extremely heartening and we are happy to say that we have finalised selecting suitable applicants to begin development shortly.” 

Development of the Blockchain PoC System to take up to 6-9 Months

Per Kumaratunge, the central bank received 36 applications from both local and international firms, for the project. From which it whittled down its choices to a shortlist of three. One of the three is reported to be an (unnamed) foreign tech firm. The three shortlisted firms will now proceed to develop the proof-of-concept, a process is expected to take between six to nine months. 

Once it has been completed, the developers will submit their report on the proof-of-concept to be evaluated by the payments and settlements department, the National Payment Council, and finally the Monetary Board.

D. Kumaratunge, the central bank’s director of payments and settlements said, that several banks of Sri Lanka have already agreed to accompany the project. The central bank expects the potential benefits of the shared KYC facility to incorporate the more efficient onboarding of new customers, lower administrative costs and hence, it hopes, improved financial inclusion in the country. The central bank stated, 

“The party selected to implement the PoC will neither be prejudiced from applying for any subsequent commercial development of a shared KYC facility that may take place nor would the company obtain any preference due to their engagement in this POC development.” 

Sri Lanka delisted from the Grey List

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global policy setter on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT), has delisted Sri Lanka from FATF’s Compliance Document which is more commonly identified as “the Grey List”. Sri Lanka had been included in the list back in 2017.

The decision of delisting Sri Lanka from the grey list was taken at the FATF Plenary held during 13-18 October 2019 in Paris. FATF declared that an assessment of the country’s measures earlier that year had assured observers that AML/CFT reforms had begun and were being sustained, and that “the necessary political commitment remains in place to sustain implementation in the future.”

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