Canadian Banks Adopt Blockchain For ID Verification


SecureKey Technologies Inc., an identity and authentication provider, has announced that its Verified.Me digital ID system is now available at five Canadian banks in a mobile app, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The move will help the banks take a big step forward in identity verification, using blockchain technology to give customers the ability to prove their identity digitally so they can confidently access their accounts.

The banks in the system include Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Desjardins Group and Toronto-Dominion Bank. It will soon be available for the Bank of Montreal and the National Bank of Canada. Insurer Sun Life Financial has also signed up to be part of the service.

Verified.Me, according to SecureKey Chief Executive Officer Greg Wolfond, will be used to prove identities for not only bank records, but also for health records, telephone companies and government services.

“Everything from being able to see your health records in a secure way, being able to open a new bank account, being able to get a new phone – all this stuff that’s so time-consuming and painful is going to get easier for consumers,” Wolfond said. “They’re going to be able to share their data in a secure and trusted way, which they never really could before.”

The Canadian Bankers Association has been asking for the change for some time, as the country redefines payment systems and the government looks into the concept of open banking, which would involve letting consumers share their financial data with other companies. CEO Neil Pamenter says the country needs to move past the paper trail processes of traditional banking and into a “federated model” of ID linking systems.

Rami Thabet, vice president of digital products at Royal Bank, said the collaboration was “groundbreaking” for the country. “This is quite a significant development,” he said. “What is quite compelling here is the fundamental unlocking of client value by simplifying the verification of personal information safely, securely and in a streamlined manner.”