uPort joins with Onfido and PwC to investigate portable identities

uPort, a digital identity platform anchored on the Ethereum blockchain, has partnered with global identity verification provider Onfido and PwC, a leading professional services firm.

The move is part of a new exploration into how consumer identities in the financial services sector can be made portable in the UK and beyond.

Alice Nawfal, strategy and operations Lead, uPort, stated: “With PSD2, the UK-wide directive that came into effect on September 14th, 2019, we see an increased demand for secure and privacy-preserving solutions that facilitate personal data sharing between financial institutions. 

“Our view is that consumers will eventually be able to build dynamic, robust financial identities based on data from all financial institutions they have accounts at, and be able to port their identities across service providers.”

uPort believe Onfido follow the same philosophy of enabling consumers with access and control over their own data and both were accepted to the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority Regulatory Sandbox (Cohort 5) earlier this year. 

The sandbox enabled firms to to test how decentralised identity can improve fintech ecosystems in the UK; PwC coincide with these beliefs of an open financial ecosystems, is partnering with them in this pilot.

Mike Kennelly, director, PwC, added: “The ability for customers to use their digital identity to on-board seamlessly with financial firms will be game-changing. 

“It opens up access to financial services, helps reduce fraud and is instrumental in driving more competition into the UK banking ecosystem. 

“PwC analysis suggests technological step changes in the banking sector could bring a boost of more than £34.6bn to the UK’s economy by 2030.”

The trio will investigate how a portable identity ecosystem can transform KYC processes in the UK whilst also supporting a user-controlled personal data ecosystem.

It is hoped a decentralised approach will not only improve customer onboarding processes but also drastically cut compliance costs for financial institutions. 

“We know the old shared identity ecosystem of centralised models simply no longer works – it doesn’t work for customers because it’s vulnerable to being hacked, nor does it work for businesses since, for example, knowledge-based questions are no longer robust, because of the hacks,” said Husayn Kassai, Onfido co-founder and CEO. 

“We believe in a world where identity is the key to access and this key should be held only by the customer, but used across multiple businesses to aid access and convenience, faster onboarding without compromising security, and improved KYC and CDD processes.”