South Korea’s Telecom Giant to Introduce Blockchain Wallets for Official Documents

SK Telecom, a South Korean telecom giant, has announced its first e-wallet for digitally storing and managing the government-issued certificates with the Ministry of Public Administration and Security’s approval.
The wallet will be powered by blockchain and according to some reports, the company’s wallet is also compatible with the Governent24 digital certificate initiative taken by the ministry. The initiative promotes certificate issuance and distributions through electronic means in the country with the rise of the coronavirus pandemic.
The telecom’s digital public certificates include immigration certificates, resident registration card copies, health insurance qualification, and other documents that were previously issued manually and signed by hand. All the documents will now be issued through a blockchain-powered mobile application.
Once the certificates are issued by Government24 app, they can be received in the SK wallet. Documents can later be submitted to financial institutions, public entities, and private organisations in electronic form.

Initially, the wallet will support 13 different types of certificates, but as the year ends, the company is planning to make the wallet compatible for 100 types, including tax documents. The head of Blockchain & Certification Division of SK Telecom, Oh Se-Hyun, stated that blockchain is a vital technology in today’s rapidly changing environment. There is a dire need for virtual interactions and innovative processes for streamlining certificates and other government-issued documents. The head has also highlighted the security benefits of this technology.
As per some reports, three per cent of South Korea’s driving population has foregone the physical drivers’ licenses in favour of the blockchain-powered alternative.

crypto adoption

Crypto Adoption on the Rise, PayPal will Offer Crypto Payments in 2021

In the digital era, companies are shifting toward digital means of communication. Banks have planned to introduce digital currency and then, there is PayPal who has announced crypto payments for its users.
On Wednesday, the enterprise announced its entry in the crypto industry. Multiple reports have confirmed this rumour yesterday. Now, users of PayPal can use cryptocurrencies for shopping at any merchant within PayPal’s network. The process will begin in 2021, as per the firm’s statement.
How will it settle payments since crypto is a digital asset with no physical existence? According to PayPal’s description, the transactions will be settled through fiat currencies just like other crypto dealers like BitPay. PayPal will take care of the conversion while merchants will receive fiat money.

Upon introduction, the coins supported will include Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash. The company has obtained the license, commonly called BitLicense, from the New York State Department of Finacial Services, and the giant has also partnered with Paxos for service delivery.
Amid the crypto payments, users of the payment giant can also purchase crypto from the app. Hence, PayPal will be featuring cryptocurrency wallet, allowing the users to exchange in crypto through all PayPal apps.
PayPal is a global payment giant with 346 million active users and approximately $222 billion processed in the second quarter of 2020. Although the company dropped out due to stricter regulation, it is also among the founders of Libra association.

Brazil to become

Brazil to Become a Part of OECD and Plans to Launch IPO for Its Digital Bank

During a virtual event on Tuesday, Paulo Guedes, Brazil’s Minister of Economy, announced that the country is about to become a part of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation Development (OECD). Furthermore, he said that the government is planning to launch IPOs for its newly-introduced digital bank of Caixa Econômica Federal.
Caixa Econômica Federal introduced a digital bank during the COVID-19 pandemic for assisting the government to financially aid the residents. About 64 million Brazilians were assisted during the pandemic. In the Milken Institute Global Conference, Guedes commented that the Central Bank wants to attract new investors for the state.

Reuters highlighted Guedes’ statement that mentioned Caixa’s role in plans for IPO for the digital bank. As per InfoMoney, a Brazilian website, the Minister also said that the Central Bank will thrive to ensure lesser risks for foreign investors.
For entering the OECD, Brazil has to meet a few benchmarks including combating corruption, regulation, developing acquisition protocols, and transparency.
According to the Paulo Guedes, Brazil has fulfilled two-thirds of the requirements already to be accepted as a member of the OECD and should be entering the organisation within a year.

Crypto mixers

Crypto Mixers, Helix and Coin Ninja, Fined by FinCEN for Bank Secrecy Act Violation

Larry Dean Harmon, founder of Helix and Coin Ninja, has been fined $60 million for being involved in money laundering. He is among the first mixing services operator in the crypto industry, but the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network announced its involvement in money laundering on Monday. The founder has faced continued criminal charges and now fined for breaching the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
According to the Washington prosecutors, Larry was arrested in February for operating mixers that the prosecutors allege constitute to unauthorised money services companies. The charges against Harmon indicate that he has laundered more than $300 million in Bitcoin.

FinCEN’s inquiry has identified a minimum of 356,000 Bitcoin transactions through Helix, as of today. Attempts of mixing services aim to privatise cryptocurrencies by a series of transactions involving different wallets. The entire process obscures the coins’ origin as well as the entity controlling them when they are out of mixing. Larry’s mixers were accessible through dark web only.
FinCEN’s claims state that Larry intentionally flaunted the provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act, an essential part of the US AML legislation. Breach of BSA also led to the BitMEX scandal earlier this month.
The US authorities have been breaking in for criminal activities involving cryptocurrency. According to a report released by the Department of Justice, privacy tokens such as Monero (XMR) must be considered as an alarm too.

Global OCR

Global OCR market expected to reach $70 billion by 2030

The global OCR market is expected to grow at the CAGR of 15% from 2020 to 2030, reaching USD 70 billion by 2030. As per research, the value of OCR market was USD 15.1 Billion in 2019. By the end of the forecast period, the market will expand at the volume of 58,166 units.

Due to the current pandemic situation, businesses and enterprises are badly affected. During the lockdown, organisations have undergone a major digital transformation resulting in increased demand for automated solutions. The OCR market is and will continue to be inspired by industry-specific and macroeconomic factors.

Among all other regions, Asia Pacific is forecasted to be at the forefront of global demand and expand at a higher rate. Businesses are adopting digitisation to increase process efficiency. To reap the benefits of digitising the data entry and information retrieval process, and maximize their ROI, enterprises are ready to invest in optical recognition technology.

In the report, both web-based and on-premises solutions are highlighted as per industry demand. OCR solution providers have already started integrating new innovative technologies such as computer vision, artificial intelligence and machine learning to cater to the needs of businesses.

The intelligent OCR (ICR) incorporating artificial intelligence is going to be high-demand product because of its ability to minimise the operational cost, data accuracy in information retrieval and digital form, and simplified operational process. Above all, the data entry process ca be streamlined within seconds.

Business at Risk

Businesses at Risk Due to 6AMLD by the European Union

The European Union imposed the fifth anti-money laundering directive in January 2020, which enhanced customer due diligence checks and extended anti-money laundering (AML) checks to subsidiaries outside the European Union. Now, the EU has planned to introduce the sixth AMLD since 1990 on December 3, 2020. For states outside of the European have time until June 3,  2021, to streamline the processes accordingly. 

The new directive aims to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and cybercrimes in a better way. Government and other regulators are continuously finding better ways to secure customers. For the same reason, more and more regulations are being enforced across the globe. The 6AMLD is another step by the EU for a more stringent approach to AML. more changes are expected in the years ahead. The 6AMLD will address any unforeseen loopholes in anti-money laundering laws, and it will fight cybercrimes at the root to eradicate money laundering. 

With the enforcement of 6AMLD, chances of providing any excuses for the money laundering activities will be nearly zero for the companies. However, businesses have sufficient time to prepare and streamline their processes as per the directive. 

With newer regulations, companies must be looking forward to better KYC and AML verification because the volume of identity checks will be higher than before. The penalties for not complying with the regulations are significant and so is the need for better verification.

japan launches

Japan Launches a Three-Step Plan for Introducing Digital Yen

After the announcement of the Bank of Japan to introduce digital Yen by 2021, the statement by Kozo Yamamoto recorded that introducing digital currency in Japan is essential.
Central Banks of all the states have been working on the pros and cons list of introducing digital currency. However, the debates during the lockdown when the private sector’s emerging alternatives such as Facebook’s Libra project and China’s digital yuan introduction.
Last week, seven central banks including Bank of Japan, responded and issued a report regarding the key requirements for the creation of CBDC. Despite China’s efforts to be the first to introduce a digital currency, Japan has stepped forward with a three-step plan for its digital currency.
In the first phase, it is planning to develop the test environment for CBDC system and experiment the basic functions like issuance and redemption.

The second phase will focus on the implementation of more functions in the test environment along with some technical experiments on certain functions required for CBDC. During the third phase, it will consider piloting involving PSPs and end-users if the Bank finds it necessary.

officials of 16 countries

Officials of 16 Countries Teamed Up for a Major Transnational Operation against Money Laundering

On October 15, Europol announced its successful operation against a renowned criminal group called QQAAZZ. The network was involved in money laundering that also included crypto mining. The operation targeted 16 countries and 20 individuals have been arrested. The police suspect them to be in connected to QQAAZZ network.
This network has been in the money laundering business for a while now and the police say that it had laundered millions for prolific cybercriminals. The arrests targeted a group of ‘money mules’ that hackers needed to complete their jobs.
According to the US federal indictment, QQAAZZ also introduced a sophisticated company. The managers of this company managed to spread their bank account networks and shell companies in different states, whereas money mules transferred millions of dollars in stolen funds back to the hackers. QQAAZZ acquired 50 per cent of all the transfers.

Hackers in the US and Europe do not want to be traced after completing their job, so money mules are essential for cybercriminals. Previously, hackers used foreign students and unwitting accomplices over the internet as money mules.
The majority of the victims of money laundering were small businesses or religious organisations that were easier targets than large corporations with tough cybersecurity measures.
The victims also included synagogue, a Michigan-based auto-parts manufacturer, and a Miami-based architecture firm, as per the US Department of Justice reports.

Read more about money mules:Jobs in the frame for money laundering

Caterina Giorgi Demands

Caterina Giorgi Demands Age Verification Laws for Online Alcohol Businesses

Caterina Giorgi, CEO of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), has highlighted several loopholes in the laws for the alcohol industry. According to her, the laws should be more stringent to prevent underage alcohol consumption. 

As per the reports, she has identified the lack of identity checks at online alcohol stores which is contributing to increasing underage drinking. The stores do not verify if the customers are fulfilling the legal age requirement for alcohol consumption or intoxication. 

The loopholes in the laws for age verification must be closed to ensure underage buyers and intoxicated individuals are filtered, as per her statement. She also quoted one of her research according to which 87 per cent of the NSW residents believe age verification is essential for online alcohol sales. 

The NSW Parliament is considering laws for online alcohol sales, and health organisations and community are working on common-sense measures that include age verification whenever alcohol is sold online and prevents alcohol delivery at home within two hours of order placement and slate at night. Furthermore, it is reintroducing point of sales age verification to prevent alcohol sales to underage customers no matter when the order is placed, because the risk of delivery exists on the same day as well as online and offline stores. 

Read more: Why online alcohol industry needs robust age verification solutions?

Mexico federal news

Mexico: Federal Anti-Money Laundering Agency Freezes 1352 Accounts for Money Laundering

On Tuesday, the police and federal anti-money laundering agency said that they have frozen 1352 bank accounts in Mexico City that moved approximately $125 million on behalf of 14 criminal gangs that also include a few of the biggest drug cartels of Mexico.

Officials of Mexico have been denying the existence of cartels in the state. However, they have acknowledged that cartels come and go often. Banks in the city played a significant role in catering money laundering for the gangs, according to the reports.

According to Omar Garcia Harfuch, the Mexico City police chief, he has survived an assassination attempt by the Jalisco cartel, and money found in recent raids and a few of the suspects were linked to this criminal organisation. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that the culprits demanding protection payments from companies under Jalisco cartel in Mexico City actually belong to the gang.

The raids and arrests since April have identified 61 suspects who are involved in murder, robbery, money laundering, extortion, and other crimes. As per the AML regulations of Mexico, the statute of limitations is nine years that may be increased to 20 years. Let’s see how the police and federal AML agency deals with these criminals.

monetery system

Monetary System of Nation-States at Systematic Risk due to Stablecoins, Says FSB

With the introduction of global stablecoin like Facebook’s Libra, G20’s watchdog, the Financial Stability Board has released recommendations opposing stablecoins. Members of G20 have been offered regulatory recommendations by the FSB and the broader international community is preventing the stablecoin projects from using any possibilities for regulatory arbitrage.

The report has also warned that global stablecoins can be systematically essential across jurisdictions, which can undermine the governments’ capacity to release monetary and investment policy within the country.

The report has also identified certain risks associated with the technology used for stablecoins. The warning clarified that the technology and infrastructure for recording transactions, and tracing the coins might open gates for cybersecurity risks.

The FSB has urged lawmakers to develop comprehensive regulations before global stablecoins gain traction. It has also recommended national supervisory authorities to collaborate effectively for identifying significant gaps in the domestic frameworks and reducing possibilities for cross-border and cross-sectoral regulatory arbitrage. The report has also notified benefits of stablecoins, including better economic inclusion internationally.

Beazil news

Brazil to Introduce Facial Recognition to Verify People Wearing Masks at Airports

Countries across the globe are taking necessary steps to introduce facial recognition at the airports. The most advancements are seen in France where the CNIL has cautioned all stakeholders to abide by four principles for using facial biometric identification without privacy violation.

The CNIL further says that data for facial recognition is very sensitive and enhanced security measures must be observed. It has also warned that the introduction of new facial recognition technology might risk freedom and privacy rights beyond airports. Service providers and airport managers in France have allied regulatory authorities for guiding them regarding experimentation with face recognition in the long-run.

Under these considerations, CNIL recommends that airports must justify the use of this technology. Obtaining prior consent of the passengers is vital to comply with the GDPR.

Following the introduction of facial recognition in France, Brazil is planning to introduce a facial recognition system that can verify passengers without mask removal. According to the Department of Homeland Security of Biometrics and Identity Security Center in the US have informed that air passengers no longer need to remove face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic for face recognition. The new artificial intelligence algorithms can detect faces with masks.

Know more about biometric verification: Biometric Technologies Reshaping Identity Verification

china Digital currency

After China, Japanese Officials Considering to Introduce Digital Currency too

China has begun trials for its digital assets and issued 10 million yuan last week. The efforts of the state will probably result in a cashless future. It has been a few years since the Chinese government shed light upon the efforts of digitising yuan. Now, the first ever digital currency issue was led last week as a lottery prize for the winner. For the lottery, nearly 2 million people applied and 50,000 people actually won. All the winners were awarded the digital currency.

Winners can download digital renminbi application to receive the digital asset and the currency can be used on over 3,000 retailers particularly in Shenzhen. Unlike Bitcoin, yuan is the Chinese currency that will be controlled by the central bank – People’s Bank of China. eWallets like Alipay will not be affected. However, both will work together along with other banks.

Until now, the Shenzhen ploy is the biggest digital asset ever issued but now the Japanese officials are also considering introducing digital yen. The former official at the Ministry of Finance in Japan, Kozo Yamamoto, says that the country needs to adapt its laws to grab better opportunities.

The official’s statement was recorded right after the Bank of Japan’s official announcement to introduce digital yen by 2021.

CBDC rules

CBDC Rules to Be Introduced by IMF, World Bank, and G20 Countries

The international financial authorities have teamed up with the Group of Twenty (G20) to create Central Bank Digital Currency Rules to standardize the regulations and issuance of sovereign digital currencies. 

The Bank of International Settlements (BIS), World Bank, and the IMF is working with the European Union and 19 other states from all continents for formalizing the CBDC use in banks,  according to the reports. 

The report further states that the G20 members, the World Bank, BIS, and the IMF will complete the regulatory frameworks for stablecoins by the end of 2022. Stablecoins are the digital currencies associated with physical money, usually US dollars. Research design, experiments, and technologies for CBDC will also be complete. 

Unlike Bitcoins, central banks of the countries will hold access to the transactions and origin to prevent financial crimes. Cryptocurrencies run on a blockchain that conceals the transaction details, whereas the aim of introducing digital currency is to ease the use and encourage cashless movement. Governments will hold all authorities to trace the transactions. 

CBDCs can enhance cross-border payments and transferring funds during the pandemic can be more convenient. According to the report, the CBDC system must also link to financial technologies, settle high transaction volumes instantly, prevent cybercrimes, and also comply with the regulations.

Two Business Awards

Shufti Pro picks up two business awards

October has been an amazing month for Shufti Pro. In September it was nominated for outstanding product/service in 2020 by the Global business excellence awards. Last week, it was announced as the winner of the category.

Shufti Pro is emerging as an effective player in the identity verification market. It was nominated by Global business excellence due to its innovation, customer service, employees, and community benefits. The selection criteria were tough for all enterprises, but Shufti Pro is proud to be the winner of the outstanding product/service category. The judges acknowledged Shufti Pro’s efforts and said:

“Shufti Pro is helping to eliminate fraud across multiple industries globally with its superfast versatile identity verification (IDV) solution. After being underwhelmed by the slow speed of the existing IDV process, the company launched in London in 2017 with its own high-tech proposition to revolutionise the IDV process. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, the founders now provide verification results within an amazing 30 to 60 seconds. Congratulations to Shufti Pro for shaking up the IDV process and helping its clients improve their customer service.”

This is not all. Shufti Pro was also nominated for the best customer service in Biz Award 2020. Shufti Pro won the silver for the best consumer service of the year in the product category. The award is based on Shufti Pro’s top-notch customer service and the efficacy to cater to the needs of the clients. The winners were announced last week at the 8th annual international competition for different categories including company, department, product and CSR/media categories.


Crypto and Forex Scams Cost Belgian Investors $12 Million

According to the Belgian financial watchdog, fraudsters stole approximately $12 million from the country’s investors using fraud advertisements. Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) warned on October 5 after witnessing a 10-million euros. The watchdog further said that the loss is approximately $11.8 million in writing between May 2019 and September 2020.

All the activities were conducted through fraud platforms, including crypto dealers. FSMA reports that the platforms used fake ads to scam the victims through social media featuring celebrities and directed them to provide information to bad actors.

The financial watchdog of Belgium said that these fake platforms also utilize various aggressive methods to persuade customers to invest large sums. They can also persuade the customers to head over the computer’s controls remotely to perform some transactions.

According to a report from Cointelegraph in May, the economic activities in Belgium accounted for a $3.2 million loss due to the cryptocurrency scams in 2019. A $2.5 million loss to crypto fraud was also reported by the Federal Public Service of the country in 2018.

However, the higher authorities in Belgium have taken necessary preventive measures for combating the issue. More than 140 crypto-related fraud sites were blacklisted by FSMA in February. The FPS has estimated that Belgian investors usually lose $152 million every year. The numbers do not include unreported incidents.

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