The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) launches its KYC proof-of-concept (POC) blockchain aiming to improve shared Know-Your-Customer (KYC) services across financial institutions. According to the release, the CBSL aims at financial inclusion across Asian countries and a global scale through digital payment systems.
The PoC blockchain has been in the works since 2018 when the CBSL launched an inter-industry study on the advantages of integrating blockchain systems. The central bank also started a campaign at the tail end of 2019, inviting companies with blockchain expertise in shared KYC proof of concept platform to join its cause on a voluntary basis. With over 40 applications (17 coming from foreign companies), CBSL selected three companies to develop PoCs concurrently.
These companies are Sri Lankan, Sampath Bank PLC, together with the University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) as joint applicants, Norbloc AB from Sweden, and Yaala Labs (Pvt) Ltd and Linearsix (Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka startups as joint applicants.
The three companies signed agreements on developing shared KYC systems in a meeting presided over by the Governor of CBSL, Deshamanya Prof. W D Lakshman, and Chairman of the National Payment Council, Deputy Governor of the CBSL, Mr. H. A. Karunaratne.
Solutions for the Global Financial Industry
The world is increasing its focus on digital payment systems and currencies, and Sri Lanka aims to be at the driver’s seat in pushing innovation in the field, Lakshman said. On the opportunities that lay ahead with the development of the PoC, he said:
“Evaluating the feasibility of using a technology such as Blockchain to securely share KYC information has the potential to vastly increasing the digital financial inclusion of Sri Lankans. Shared KYC opens avenues to seek opportunities for increasing access to financial services through digital and remote onboarding.”
Other senior officials at the central bank believe the integration of a shared KYC blockchain system will significantly impact the financial operations in Sri Lanka and further provide solutions on a global scale.