Pakistan Banks’ Association launches a national, blockchain based, eKYC platform for the banking industry in Pakistan
Karachi, March 02, 2023: Pakistan Banks’ Association (PBA), on behalf of all its member banks, signed the project contract for the development and execution of Pakistan’s first, blockchain based, national eKYC banking platform with the Avanza Group. The signing ceremony was held at the PBA office in Karachi on March 2, 2023 .
The ceremony was attended by PBA Chairman, Mr. Muhammad Aurangzeb, who is also President HBL; Mr. Akhter Javed, Director BPRD, SBP; Mr. Tawfiq Hussain, CEO PBA, the signatory for PBA; Mr. Waqas Mirza, CEO Avanza Innovations; and Mr. Omer Khan, CEO, Avanza Solutions (Pvt) Ltd; the signatory for Avanza.
The eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer) project is part of SBP’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the control infrastructure for Anti Money Laundering (AML)/Terrorist Financing (TF) in the country. PBA has been overseeing the planning and management of the project on behalf of the banking industry, under the aegis of the State Bank of Pakistan.
In addition to strengthening AML controls, the deployment of this platform will bring about efficiencies at participating banks and will result in improvement in customer experience, especially at the time of account opening, thus facilitating financial inclusion.
Avanza Group’s eKYC platform, ‘Consonance’, is being implemented for PBA. The platform will use blockchain technology through which banks will be able to standardize and exchange, with customers’ consent, their details via a decentralized and self-regulated network. This will be a support platform for Pakistan’s banking industry and all participating member banks will be able to perform assessments of their existing, as well as new customers, by utilizing information/ data available with any other bank on ‘Consonance’.
Once performed by a member bank, the eKYC data can be utilized by other banks for Customer Due Diligence (CDD), thus minimizing cost and effort in customer onboarding and improving the customers’ account opening experience, thus facilitating financial inclusion.
Avanza’s Trade & Finance Projects highlighted in World Trade Organizations (WTO) latest White Paper: Blockchain & DLT in Trade
Following the launch of TFG / WTO / ICC’s publication “Blockchain & DLT in trade: A reality check” in November 2019 at the WTO Global Blockchain Forum, this updated research study provides an overview and updated periodic table.
The study outlines the main projects, categories into Supply Chain Finance, Trade Finance, Know Your Customer (KYC), Insurance, DLT Digitization of Trade Documents, Shipping & Logistics / Supply Chain, Other Initiatives and Marketplaces. The authors also mapped out 19 standardization initiatives, split by sector or process, general trade, private sector-led and regional / national initiatives, as well as the international standards bodies.
The study also contains a supplementary survey, analyzing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on trade digitization.
Video: WTO & TFG Launches ‘Blockchain & DLT for Trade: Where do we stand?’
Authors: Emmanuelle Ganne, Senior Analyst, Economic Research and Statistics Division, World Trade Organization (WTO) & Deepesh Patel, Editorial Director, Trade Finance Global (TFG)
Special Thanks: Waqas Mirza, CEO – Avanza Innovations
The BENEFIT Company launches first Blockchain Based National EKYC platform in the region with its technology partner Avanza Innovations #3
The Benefit Company Bahrain has launched the first ever production grade eKYC blockchain implementation in the region in collaboration with IGA and Avanza as technology partner. Avanza is proud to implement the first blockchain eKYC project in the region harnessing CIPHER- Avanza’s Blockchain Orchestration Platform.
“CIPHER is Avanza’s Blockchain Orchestration and Governance Platform which enables blockchain implementation for enterprises in a fast and scalable manner. The availability of ready-made microservices and components in CIPHER make it easy to kick start enterprise blockchain implementations with inherent scalability.”
Avanza’s Cipher along with Hyperledger Fabric 2.2 with AWS Deployment is used in Bahrain to store all KYC data across financial institutions and Gov. Entities and share the data across financial institutions and other network participants with customer’s consent.
The eKYC implementation over blockchain enables participants privacy and inculcate efficiency in verifying KYC data. The platform also facilitates a tamper-proof encrypted master record of KYC data by Benefit Bahrain on blockchain. The implementation enables a paperless ecosystem in these challenging times of Covid to transform electronic payments systems through disruptive technology.
MR. KHALID AL HAMAD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF BANKING SUPERVISION AT THE CBB SAID
The CBB urges all licensed financial institutions to avail of this innovative and streamlined service and accelerate its efforts towards automating the maintenance of its customer data and reputation records, by implementing eKYC API integration with their core systems, digital channels and mobile apps. We continue to support technological advancement in the sector to minimize cost while also fostering innovation and integration between financial institutions and fintech companies. This is also in line with the CBB’s continuous efforts in developing the financial sector infrastructure in light of the Covid-19 repercussions to ensure appropriate solutions for electronic payment systems.
The Vice Chairman of eTransformation in the Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA), Dr.Zakareya Ahmed Alkhaja, confirmed that iGA supports “BENEFIT” for the technical advancements in the financial sector in the region. He pointed out that the authority has started providing the identity verification services in the government with a vision of providing customers ownership of their data and sharing the information with ease. He expressed his pride in the first ever eKYC project on blockchain that will further contribute towards the economic and commercial growth in the region.
“It gives us great pleasure to continue developing the eKYC platform in an effort to drive digital transformation in the Kingdom’s various sectors. We have succeeded in enabling the integration of this digital platform into core banking systems and smart phone applications, and we are pleased to announce that Bahrain Islamic Bank has successfully integrated this platform into its core banking services system, while “ila” Bank offers customer on-boarding in a completely digital and autonomous manner through its mobile app, both based on eKYC API integration. We look forward to the use of eKYC services on a larger scale during the coming period.”Abdulwahid Janahi, BENEFIT’s Chief Executive Officer
“Avanza has been enabling and empowering governments across multiple regions to embrace the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) through digital government transformation and smart city platforms – and through nascent technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. We are very happy that BENEFIT BAHRAIN has provided Avanza the opportunity to implement Bahrain’s first production-grade eKYC blockchain solution. We hope to replicate this success in many other verticals and regions within Bahrain.”Waqas Mirza, CEO, Avanza Innovations
Avanza Innovations delivers Blockchain based Reconciliation and Settlement project to Smart Dubai for DubaiPay
Smart Dubai on Sunday 23rd September integrated Blockchain technology into its online payment portal, DubaiPay, to allow reconciliation and settlement transactions to be performed in real time.
26th Sept, 2018; Dubai, United Arab Emirates – The Blockchain based Reconciliation & Settlement project was awarded to Avanza out of all the participants of the Dubai Future Accelerator program and the project team was formed between Smart Dubai and Department of Finance.
Avanza reduced the payment and reconciliation sequential process of 45 days, from the day a user makes a payment, to real-time. Avanza’s Blockchain based reconciliation and settlement platform on CIPHER allows reconciliation and settlement transactions to be performed accurately, efficiently and in real-time.
Avanza’s Blockchain based Reconciliation & Settlement Platform is an inter-organization solution that helps organizations reconcile financial and non-financial transactions and records in real time through a trust based network. The solution is offered in both on-premise, as well as cloud models. The solution is Blockchain agnostic and can be set up for a consortium of organizations on any of the prevailing Blockchains such as Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Sawtooth, Quorum, Ethereum etc.
“We, at Smart Dubai, consider technology to be a means for us to help improve people’s quality of life and spread happiness among them. Correctly applied across various key sectors, we believe Blockchain has massive potential to achieve our emirate’s ambitions for a fully-fledged smart transformation”Smart Dubai Government Establishment (SDG) chief executive Wesam Lootah added of the “game-changing technology”:
“The DoF has to do some manual work such as exchanging files between them, banks and the entities before a final payment is made to the entity. There is no real-time monitoring of the transaction in the old system and with Blockchain, the whole process can be monitored in real time“Mira Sultan Obaid Abdul Rahman, director of smart services enablement department at Smart Dubai Government
“At Avanza we work with the region’s most forward thinking governments and organizations to bring cutting edge technologies to life. When we were set the task in August 2017 to build the region first City-Scale Blockchain solution – our R&D concluded that nothing of this scale existed from a global context. But with the SDG’s immense support and the efforts of our technology teams we were able to build and deliver a solution that is testament to Dubai’s vision to be the Blockchain capital of the world. This is no small task that has been done – we are extremely grateful to teams from DEWA (Dubai Electric & Water Authority), KHDA (Knowledge and Human Development Authority) , NI (Network International) and Emirates NBD Bank for being the first adopters and participants of this platform. We are also extremely grateful to the SDG and SDO leadership and teams who put their faith and trust in us to bring this vision to life“Mr. Waqas Mirza, CEO – Avanza Innovations
Avanza as of now, is involved in many such implementations across a number of verticals in different territories and aims to create many more success stories with our customers and partners.
Avanza in the press
Avanza Innovations, CIPHER picked up the award for the second time at this year’s ceremony. The award was given because of the massive inroads Avanza has made in enable digital governance throught Blockchain.
07 September 2018; Islamabad, Pakistan –
Held at the Serena Hotel, the 14th iteration of the awards honored Avanza’s Blockchain orchestration and governance platform, Cipher. The P@SHA ICT Awards recognize the achievements of innovators, acknowledging creativity and excellence in the Information and Communications Technologies sector. There were a total of 9 categories, comprising of 37 awards. Finalists are selected by a diverse group of experienced judges and winner from each category is awarded.
Avanza has been leading the Blockchain space in the Middle-East and Asia with active projects and implementations across multiple public and private sector organizations. Cipher is Avanza’s Blockchain implementation and orchestration platform. Built with the future in mind, Cipher is a platform agnostic solution that can ride on any underlying Blockchain technology (Ethereum, Hyperledger, Ripple etc.).
The company has also been the driving force behind key advancements in Blockchain technology adoption in the region. Cipher has seen them create the very first city-wide smart applications and solutions that are empowering region as a whole.
“At Avanza, we strive to stay at the cutting edge on the lookout for new possibilities that can make the world a better place. Our passion for innovation is fueled by the desire to create applications that touch the lives of millions. I am delighted to accept this award from PASHA, it is a testament to the hard work put in by our team”Mr. Omer Ahmed Khan (Director – Avanza Group) received the award and said at the event
About Avanza Innovations
Avanza Innovations is the latest venture of Avanza Group of Companies – an 18 year old technology power house that has 300 customers across 45 countries, and processes 12 million transaction every day.
Avanza Innovations was established in July 2017 to focus on nascent technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation and Smart City Projects. Within a few months of its incorporation, Avanza Innovations has achieved major successes by winning city wide projects in Blockchain, AI across verticals such as Smart City Enablement, Payments, Health Care, Education, Real Estate etc.
Avanza Innovations is viewed as a thought-leader in nascent technologies across the region, thus winning the admiration and confidence of not just customers but also of industry partners such as Microsoft, Gartner, IBM, regulators and government entities
Mr. Waqas Mirza, CEO – Avanza Innovations, displays its reconciliation & settlement engine on Blockchain deployed in Dubai’s Department of Finance.
Avanza Innovations is currently working with Dubai’s Department of Finance and Smart Dubai Government to implement Dubai’s first Blockchain reconciliation and settlement Platform. This project involves 40 plus government entities and around 15 banks in Dubai.
CIPHER is Avanza’s Blockchain orchestration Platform that can run Hyperledger, Ethereum, Quorum and other blockchain nodes from a single orchestration layer. One of Cipher key implementations is its blockchain based reconciliation and settlement engine. The reconciliation and settlement engine is an ideal project for both public and private sector organisations to help them provide an instant payment settlement process amongst their interconnected entities/departments.
The recon and settlement Platform is a critical part of Dubai’s drive to move all applicable transactions to the Blockchain. Previously the Dubai government struggled with a 45 day recon and settlement process with its partner entities. These entities had their own legacy/silo’d systems that led to process delays and lack of inter-operatability
With the Blockchain’s inherent 2nd eye concept Avanza will be able to get all partner entities on board a system that does near seamless reconciliation and settlement.
Showcasing the first ever Blockchain orchestration platform, first production-grade Blockchain implementation, and various transformative Blockchain applications.
3 May 2018; Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Blockchain is being seen as one of the most transformative and disruptive technologies since the internet. An innovation that has the potential to transform both public and private sector organizations alike. The Future Blockchain Summit attracted policy and decision makers, influencers, technology providers, and government officials from across the globe.
Avanza Innovations unveiled its next leg of Blockchain innovations through various talks, on-site demos, and media/customer meet-ups at the Future Blockchain Summit. Avanza Innovations has been leading the line for Blockchain acceptance and applications in the region and is the proud winner of not one but two Dubai Future Accelerator cohorts.
To meet the demands of a growing global market, Avanza Innovations demonstrated its latest solution, Cipher, a Blockchain orchestration platform. Cipher is currently being used by multiple partners and entities to help build Blockchain led technology of the future. With Cipher, organizations can move past the underlying complexities of establishing Blockchain based solutions and move towards greater reliability and security through a full stack offering.
Cipher utilizes Single-point access to Blockchain platforms, including Hyperledger, Ethereum, Quorum etc., and readymade adapters to provide rapid integration with existing Blockchain technologies, Smart contract lifecycle, and change management.
Avanza Innovations also demonstrated the region’s ‘first production-grade Blockchain implementation’; a Blockchain reconciliation and settlement platform that is being built for Dubai’s Department of Finance through the vision and leadership of the Smart Dubai Government. This project involves 40 plus government entities and around 15 banks in Dubai.
“Blockchain has the potential to disrupt and innovate technology as we know it. At Avanza, we feel it is our mission to help organizations realize the potential of this transformative technology and move them towards a decentralized, demystified and future-proof tomorrow”Mr. Waqas Mirza, CEO – Avanza Innovations
Also at the event was Mr. Ali Safri, CTO – Avanza Innovations, who said, “At Avanza, we are working passionately to help build platforms of the future. A big part of our strategy is to partner with like-minded and innovative organizations to facilitate global customers.”
A recent example of this is the availability of Cipher on Microsoft Azure. Cipher gives customers access to a Blockchain orchestration layer on the cloud allowing organizations to port their use case on to a series of global Blockchain platforms.
About Avanza Innovations
Avanza Innovations is the latest venture of Avanza Group of Companies – an 18-year-old technology powerhouse that has 300 customers across 45 countries and processes 12 million transactions every day.
Avanza Innovations was established in July 2017 to focus on nascent technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation and Smart City Projects. Within a few months of its incorporation, Avanza Innovations has achieved major successes by winning citywide projects in Blockchain, and AI across verticals such as Smart City Enablement, Payments, Health Care, Education, Real Estate etc.
Avanza Innovations is viewed as a thought-leader in nascent technologies across the region, thus winning the admiration and confidence of not just customers but also of industry partners such as Microsoft, Gartner, IBM, regulators and government entities.
Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has signed an MoU with Avanza, as part of which Avanza’s Smart City Medical Management Platform, Acuity, will be rolled out in the city. Acuity is a smart application that gives DHA an idea of what is happening across Dubai. The MoU was signed by H.E. Humaid Al Qutami, Chairman of the Board and Director General of DHA, and Waqas Mirza, Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer, Avanza Solutions, at the Dubai Future Accelators programme.
The system will be invaluable for Expo 2020 when the population of Dubai will grow from 3 million to 25 million over a six-month period. For clinical emergencies such as a heart attack, seconds can mean the difference between life and death. It is in these situations that the application can make timely evidence-based decisions.
Introducing AIUsing artificial intelligence the system carries out complex commands that get activated once the patient is in the ambulance. This includes looking for the closest hospital with available beds, alerting relevant hospital teams and reserving beds.
By using Acuity, a heart-attack victim would not be transferred to the emergency department but will be sent straight to the cardiac suite, saving valuable time.
Avanza has merged its knowledge of blockchain and artificial intelligence with the expertise of clinicians and emergency care specialists. In collaboration with internationally trained healthcare professionals, the project aims to link the right patient to the right location, with the right clinician.
“Innovation is at the heart of everything DHA is doing to make Dubai one of the best healthcare providers in the world,” says Al Qutami. “We are confident that Avanza’s technology and platform in conjunction with its team of medical experts will deliver a highly advanced medical nerve centre for Dubai. This will result in faster and highly efficient handling of emergency and trauma patients, thereby saving many more lives.”
“Seconds can be the difference between living, complications & death. Add to this clinical complexity, possibly a disease outbreak or a tower-block fire; any health-care system would be stretched to its limit. We strongly believe that the Acuity technology platform, with our globally trained medical experts, can facilitate clinicians to save lives”Dr. Asrar Rashid, Avanza’s Chief Consultant and Children’s Intensive Care Specialist
“Acuity is a platform that enables a city to respond to its residents in times of need. Avanza is proud to be associated with the leadership, which continues on its path to build an efficient and smart city.”Waqas Mirza, CEO, Avanza Innovations
The aim of Acuity is to match supply of critical medical facilities and equipment with real-time demand in emergency cases. In future, Acuity will be able to predict healthcare demand, allowing DHA to plan accordingly. This would ensure healthcare delivery is optimised and demand never outstrips supply.
Under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Avanza signed an MOU with Smart Dubai Office on 11th April 2017 to implement a citywide blockchain based payments platform.
Avanza’s Blockchain Platform Cipher was selected by Smart Dubai Office to deliver a Pilot Project under the Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) program on 14th Feb 2017.
Dubai Future Accelerators is a unique program for cutting-edge entrepreneurs, in partnership with the government of Dubai, to use the city as a living test-bed for creating solutions to the global challenges of tomorrow. Launched in July 2016 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, under the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, The Dubai Future Accelerators pairs top companies & cutting-edge entrepreneurs with leading government entities in Dubai to create breakthrough solutions together. Unlike other programs, the uniqueness of Dubai Future Accelerators lies in its drive to not only visualize innovative ideas, but to see them become a reality implemented on a city-wide scale with an impact regionally and globally. Within the program each government entity issues a challenge addressing some of the most important opportunities of the 21st century.
Through Cipher, Avanza has successfully delivered an immutable, agile and instant reconciliation and settlement platform to Smart Dubai Office for DubaiPay payment platform. The pilot project was delivered in collaboration with Dubai Smart Government and Emirates NBD – the largest retail banking franchise in Dubai and the market leader across core business lines.
Smart Dubai Office plans to roll out Cipher across all its existing 38 partner government entities, partner financial institutions and Departments to set up the first blockchain based building block within its financial plumbing.
The MOU signed by Dr. Aisha Butti bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai and Waqas Mirza, Managing Director & Chief Marketing Officer Avanza Solutions is in line with His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision to transform Dubai into the 1st Government in the world to execute all applicable transactions on the blockchain by 2020.
“We, at Smart Dubai, consider technology to be a means for us to help improve people’s quality of life and spread happiness among them. Correctly app“I am confident with Avanza’s expertise in payment solutions combined with their Cipher blockchain platform, they will support the Smart Dubai Office with technology that not only bridges current gaps but also becomes a vital piece in Smart Dubai’s roadmap for payment processes in the near future.”lied across various key sectors, we believe Blockchain has massive potential to achieve our emirate’s ambitions for a fully-fledged smart transformation”Speaking at the Signing Ceremony Dr. Aisha – Director General, Smart Dubai
“Taking on innovation led challenges is Avanza’s DNA. So much so, that we go out of our way to seek challenges that compel us to push boundaries of our imagination and competence. This passion instills into everything we do and this is why we are extremely happy and proud to be a part of this extraordinary program and take part in Dubai’s transformation to become the region’s technology and innovation hubWaqas Mirza, CEO, Avanza Innovations