One of the largest roadblocks hindering the mass adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies is the difficulty and inefficiency of regulatory compliance. While some supporters of the technology look at the anonymity of these transactions as a feature, many well-established institutions, as well as the general public, see this as possible flaw. Both the larger and smaller projects in the space are still beholden to the financial laws in jurisdictions local and abroad. Coinfirm is a project dedicated to providing both end-users and pioneers of these technologies the means to reduce risk as they interact and transact within the blockchain space. The team is busy with various partnerships, building onto their expanding suite of services, and launching their own token to be integrated into those services. Below is a transcription of an interview with Coinfirm CMO Grant Blaisdell, in which he covers the past, present, and future of Coinfirm with observations on the blockchain/cryptocurrency space as a whole.
TokenVerse: Hey Grant, welcome to TokenVerse! Tell us about yourself and your professional background in the tech space.
Grant Blaisdell: Hey Garrison, thanks for having me. Although Coinfirm’s DNA sits in Compliance and AML (Anti-Money Laundering), financial institutions, and cryptocurrencies, personally I originally come out of the startup and new media space and that’s how I originally got into blockchain. I was building innovative distribution and monetization models for digital content, and I had that aha moment around blockchain even though I was already interested in bitcoin. Mainly I’m a startup and creator type that works around taking innovative tech into the public. But for example, our CEO has over 15 years experience in the financial industry and ran global AML for financial institutions such as Royal Bank of Scotland, so we have this interesting balance with a big focus on compliance and blockchain tech.
TV: How did Coinfirm develop? What was the catalyst?
GB: Well, the Coinfirm team came together and created a unique dynamic of financial and compliance veterans, cryptocurrency/blockchain leaders, and startup innovators that allows us to tackle these issues from multiple sides and with a complete picture. We were looking to solve some issues that existed already and some we saw on the horizon. At the end of the day, our goal is to solve the largest roadblock in the space by building the bridge between the crypto/blockchain economy and the traditional and mass market while changing the realities of compliance overall by making it a much more effective, efficient, and automated of a process. So right now for example, we’re providing our solution to countless ICOs and crypto related entities to help them fulfill their obligations and interact with the mass economy. For example we’ve helped multiple ICOs be able to interact with financial institutions and use the the funds they raised in the traditional economy.
TV: Coinfirm is working to provide a suite of compliance services in a unique and rapidly accelerating techno-social space. Can you highlight why compliance is particularly important in the blockchain space?
GB: Well compliance and specifically AML has been defined as the largest roadblock to mass commercial blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption. Not only that but the services and solutions available are very time, labor and resource-consuming which has put a massive burden on the shoulder of blockchain-related entities as well as limited the ability of traditional companies to look towards adoption. We’ve provided a streamlined and automated solution that allows both sides to safely interact while also eliminating the burden by using our AML/CTF Platform to turn compliance from a double digit percentage of time and costs into an automated practical utility. As I write this I’m at the International Money Transmitters Conference in Miami, almost all talk around blockchain and crypto adoption is focused around the compliance aspect. Watch what’s been happening around the world in regards to this from governments, and AML sits specifically at the heart of it, and we’ve come in with our platform and solutions and have provided that answer to it.
This is also evident by our dealings with some financial instituions around the world where without implementing our platform they wouldn’t be able to accept crypto-related clients for example.
TV: With the pseudonymous/anonymous nature of blockchain systems and cryptocurrency transactions (at least in most iterations), do you see the desire for those features to be mutually exclusive with regulatory compliance?
GB: I think that should depend on the preferences of the user or the network/platform within which they’re operating. I mean now if you want to go on any legitimate crypto exchange you need to go through the KYC (Know-Your-Customer) process. Financial institutions are going to need to know who they’re servicing for example, whether certain people like it or not. It’s happening, and crypto companies or ICOs need it. But there’s a big difference between whats publicly available and what you choose to be available to entities you’re working with or related to. What we’re providing is for those who want it; those who don’t are free to operate how they want to, but they might need to consider certain risks involved depending on the circumstance.
TV: Can you walk us through the services/applications Coinfirm provides?
GB: Sure. Well technically we have two platforms, our AML/CTF Platform and Trudatum. Trudatum is a data provenance platform that is being piloted and adopted by multiple financial institutions and insurance companies. But for the sake of the focus of the topics we’re covering lets stick to the services the AML/CTF Platform provides. The Coinfirm AML/CTF Platform uses over 200 proprietary algorithms, flagging scenarios, and big data analysis to provide structured, actionable data that increases efficiency, reduces costs, and streamlines compliance to near automation. I know you’ll eventually ask me this, so I’ll just get it out of the way first: the platform is blockchain agnostic, that means that we can technically integrate any type of blockchain. This is why for example we’re the only entity we know of providing streamlined AML/CTF for ICOs and Token sales, because we can integrate and analyze Ethereum as well as smart contracts and tokens. As of right now we service Bitcoin, Dash, and Ethereum, but we’ll be announcing some more soon. So really we provide services with this platform for anyone ranging from cryptocurrency companies, exchanges, financial institutions, and business intelligence companies. Now we’re providing a new feature to it with our AMLT Token.
TV: How involved is Coinfirm with regulatory entities in jurisdictions local and abroad? As a software company and not a regulatory entity per se, has Coinfirm’s work with these companies and institutions been mutually beneficial?
GB: Very active from the beginning as not only is it a part of our goal to steer the regulatory situation in the most conducive direction for the positive growth of the blockchain ecosystem, but also to show the regulators that through our AML/CTF Platform there is a solution that can balance the two worlds. So we’ve been in discussions with regulatory bodies in Asia, the US, Europe, and even Africa as we have a project in Nigeria. Its important to have people who know how to move in the regulatory world and communicate how cryptocurrencies and blockchain are actually an improvement in the system for regulators as well. Anything that pushes positive progress and adoption of cryptocurrencies is beneficial for everyone–so yes it has been. Also helps us implement our platform as a standard in jurisdictions, with our goal being to become the global standard.
TV: With the hot debate around initial coin offerings (ICOs), or token sales, as an investment mechanism and the current regulatory actions or warnings on the subject, where do you stand on the issue?
GB: Well we’re currently going through our own Token Sale, which we’ve built to the highest regulatory and compliance standard. As of right now most importantly is make sure that you’re not building it, presenting it, or selling it as an investment or security. It has to be an access or utility-type token generally. But equally important no matter what, is to do proper KYC and AML/CTF around it. I cant tell you how many Token Sale clients we’ve had that come to us x amount of time after their token sale and are in a pickle as they can’t do anything with their funds since they didn’t do the proper compliance procedures. So no bank will even accept them or their funds. If these elements are followed in the current ecosystem, unless you’re in a very specific geography at the moment, you shouldn’t have problems. But we also can’t comment on what will be coming in the near future that will force players in the ecosystem to change their approach or particular cases/circumstances that exist within the ecosystem.
TV: Coinfirm is launching a “token of compliance,” AMLT, the first of its kind. What role does the token have within Coinfirm’s suite of services?
GB: AMLT serves as an access token to our platform and the mechanism behind making the financial system more transparent and democratized by involving market participants in determining the risk of others. So when AMLT holders use our platform they can use our services at a discount when using AMLT. Network members, or those who hold enough AMLT in their wallet and have passed our whitelist process, can provide data on market participants into the platform. If the data is valid they are rewarded with AMLT. The goal of this is to allow market participants to have a voice and influence in the financial system while improving the accuracy and effectiveness of the compliance system, so that for example, entities operating what are deemed high risk regions can have their risk ratings lowered by other market participants providing positive data on them, thus allowing them to be further accepted into the global financial system. Network members also receive exclusive access to multiple services such as our Knowledge Pool. At the end of the day AMLT will be the fuel powering activities on our already active and vibrant AML/CTF Platform
TV: That sounds like a great system. Leveraging a democratized network of market participants to bring compliance and best practices into the ecosystem. Seems like a much-needed maturation in this space. Is Coinfirm partnered with any other entities or programs to extend its services?
GB: Exactly. Glad you see at least a few of the value points. Well actually recently a few came out such as Humaniq, RSK and Quanta where will be providing our Platform and solutions into their ecosystems to provide them that layer among other things. We have some more coming of course that we can’t speak about yet, but we’re dealing with multiple financial institutions around the world to introduce our Platform as the official layer for them to interact with, offer certain services to, and accept cryptocurrency entities and economy. We’ve built a great portfolio of clients and partners from both the crypto/blockchain ecosystems as well as the more traditional/mass market players. This coming year will be big for us and for cryptocurrency overall as this is the year you’ll start seeing some real traction with mass market adoption, and we see ourselves as that bridge.
TV: Thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to fill us in on Coinform’s work, Grant. It was a very informative dive into an important part of the blockchain/cryptocurrency space. Best of luck on your endeavors!
GB: My pleasure. Many thanks to you Garrison and the whole TokenVerse team. And for anyone interested in learning more about what we do and our token launch, please make sure to check out coinfirm.io and amlt.coinfirm.io for more details.
Disclaimer: This content is for informative purposes only and is not reflective of the views or opinions of TokenVerse staff nor intended as investment advice. Please do your own research and due diligence before interacting or transacting with any project, company, endeavor, or entity featured or discussed on this site.
Images via Coinfirm