Adam Vaziri, CEO of Blockpass – Interview Series
Adam is the founder and CEO of Blockpass – a self sovereign identity application for regulated industries. Adam Vaziri's background is as a blockchain lawyer and set up Diacle in 2013 to assist blockchain projects with compliance. He is a tireless blockchain entrepreneur and labelled a ‘bitcoin pioneer’ by Bitcoin Magazine.
Could you explain what Blockpass is and how the platform benefits investors?
Blockpass makes compliance for blockchain and other financial services easy and quick to adopt. It is the only KYC & AML verification SaaS that businesses can sign up to and in minutes conduct compliance checks on on-boarding customers. It is fully automated and hosted in the cloud, and requires no integration or setup cost. You can set up your account immediately and test the service for free. For investors and other individuals, Blockpass is a secure, user-centric gateway to financial services and other regulated offerings, allowing one click KYC submission.
You have a legal background; how did you transition from law to cryptocurrency?
I discovered bitcoin in 2012 and set up the first legal consultancy in London to specialise in bitcoin. My job was helping bitcoin companies get licenses and operate their business compliantly. A lot of the problems these startups were facing was how to comply but not spend too much on lawyers and consultants.
When I saw that compliance was expensive, I thought it was unfair that only large businesses could afford to comply. Smaller businesses are faced with a lot of compliance responsibilities and that just adds to their costs. It means to be a successful regulated business you have to be big. When regulations come in, we usually expect that businesses will find it too expensive to continue. So, they sell off or move. Anti-money laundering regulations for crypto businesses are coming into force for the whole industry this year. This will put a lot of crypto businesses out of business.
This is why we created Blockpass. Make it very easy and cheap to comply but have the best compliance in the market.
Most of the KYC vendors in the market lock in their clients for 2 or more-year contracts. We take that out. Blockpass is pay as you go. You only pay for what you use.
Integrating KYC into a business is a pain. Sometimes you have to integrate a vendor to check passports and a vendor to check sanctions list. It is complicated and time consuming. With Blockpass we are taking out that friction completely. A business just signs up on our website and generates a button which they send to their customers. That's it. The business doesn't have to think. They choose KYC Connect our full KYC package and they know that we will cover everything.
The kyc market checks users over and over again even though those users have already been checked. It is a complete waste of money. The way to fix that is give users a digital identity. That's what we do. So, our 10k verified users don't need to redo the verification process every time they sign up with a business. By not repeating this we can pass on the cost benefits to business by reducing the cost of verification.
Basically, compliance should be easy and cheap for businesses. That is our goal. Make it easy to follow the law. If you make it easy, then less businesses will make mistakes.
For users their experience of accessing regulated services is terrible at the moment. By giving users a digital identity, they can start to enjoy trying out new services without the headache of KYC. Just one click on the Blockpass app and they are verified.
As banks shut bank branches and every financial services provider is online you need an online identity too that you can reuse for all the services you want to access.
At Blockpass our community matters most. We give PASS tokens to all our new members as a ticket for them to join the ecosystem we are building. Once they are verified, they get benefits of being a member and accessing the services of our partners in one click. We want people who are hearing about crypto for the first time to come to us and create a digital identity and have a great experience of choice of different services they can access in one click and special offers from our partner businesses. When I first discovered bitcoin I had to do a lot of the work myself to understand who could be trusted and what to use. With Blockpass we want to make crypto easy for people, compliant and safe.
Once investors are verified, how often will they need to update their KYC documentation?
That depends on the merchant and jurisdiction. In the Blockpass console, the frequency of updates can be set by the merchant.
This was designed for the blockchain industry but could be used for many more applications, can you share what types of merchants would benefit from this application?
It could be used by any business that operates in a regulated industry, such as banking, stock trading, precious metals and gems trading, insurance and gambling.
Blockpass has the PASS utility tokens, what are these tokens for, and are they necessary to use the platform?
PASS tokens have KYC within the token. We created a token that needs the sender to be checked to send the token to someone else. Our tokens are how we register new members into the Blockpass ecosystem. We call this PASS Club. PASS Club members get access to content and special deals from our merchants such as free bitcoin brokerage fees, gold storage or a fee waiver for a bank account opening.
The PASS tokens also enable access to the PASS club. What is this club exactly?
We want to create a community of people in crypto that embrace crypto and have access to reliable information about vendors in the crypto space. PASS Club is about users also getting access to the best deals from the merchants we add to our marketplace. If they have a special offer, we want to give that to our PASS club members.
Could you tell us about the Blockpass Identity Lab and its collaboration with Edinburgh Napier University?
We founded the Blockpass Identity Lab in September 2018, which is led by renowned British computer scientist Professor Bill Buchanan.
You also offer PASS Verify which could benefit Dapp developers, what is this exactly?
PASS Verify is essentially a lower level of verification compared to our flagship product – KYC Connect. PASS Verify only provides Face Match and AML Monitoring services, while KYC Connect, in addition to Face Match and AML monitoring, also includes ID document authentication and Proof of Address verification. PASS Verify is also the gateway for users to become members of PASS Club, an exclusive e-commerce network for crypto enthusiasts powered by Blockpass and the PASS token.
To learn more visit Blockpass.