Local bankers put up blockchain-powered facility for identity verification

By Rizal Raoul Reyes

Philippine-based Amihan Global Strategies was recently tapped by the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) to establish an industry-wide facility anchored on the blockchain technology to enhance the country’s digital identity technology.

Hyperledger executive director Brian Behlendorf

Hyperledger executive director Brian Behlendorf

“We welcome this development for the Philippines. The Bankers Association of the Philippines joins a global movement to benefit consumers using blockchain technology,” Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger, said in a press briefing held on Nov. 17 in Makati City.

He also noted that the local banking community is using open source software from Hyperledger to strengthen data privacy and finance.

Behlendorf said the system will allow the individual to have exclusive control and discretion of sharing his personal information to selected recipients of his choice.

By using this platform, he said clients will have an easier time to process their transactions as participating banks and accredited agents would be able to upload personal information at once through their mobile phones.

Once the uploaded information is confirmed and vetted by a participating bank, Behlendorf said clients can now open a new bank account and access banking services of other participating banks in a much faster and easier manner.

While the project is still in the development stage, Amihan executive chairman Winstron Damarillo said several major banks, namely Asia United Bank, BDO, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Citibank, EastWest Bank, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, and Union Bank have already signed and can verify customer data on the platform.

Amihan executive chairman Winstron Damarillo

Amihan executive chairman Winstron Damarillo

He said Amihan is bullish that other banks are expected to follow. “Having Citibank as one of the signatories means that Amihan is gaining recognition for this initiative,” he said.

BAP president Nestor Tan said blockchain technology will drastically change the verification processes in the banking industry.

With this, Amihan said the Philippines is said to be one of the first few countries in the world to employ a powerful and sophisticated technology for identity management.

“We are commented to pursuing the Philippine banking roadmap we have crafted with the support of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The initiative will enable the banking industry to provide a more convenient and faster way of delivering services to the clients,” Tan said in a press statement.

As of 2017, there are only 44 million out of 100 million Filipinos that deposit their money into bank accounts. Nevertheless, with the economic growth of the country and the propagation of digital technology, more Filipinos are expected to have easier access to financial services.

“Digital is the best solution for financial inclusion in the Philippines,” Damarillo said.

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