By Howard Mutti-Mewse

The British Virgin Islands is to allow companies to use digital verification of customers’ identities: which is welcome news for those involved in Blockchain, the digital ledger best known for its involvement with cryptocurrencies.

Changes to the British Virgin Islands’ Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Code of Practice, 2008 came into effect on August 1. Now, BVI companies can use digital verification of identities. As Blockchain is a digital ledger, offering advanced encryption techniques, companies can turn to Blockchain for the necessary verification checks needed.

Lisa Tan, ZEDRA Singapore’s Executive Director, Head of Corporate Services said: “By doing away with old-fashioned paper documentation for checking identity, regulators in the BVI are showing they are at the forefront of the Blockchain revolution. Blockchain technology can encrypt data allowing easy non-paper verification of identity, helping ensure companies comply with money laundering rules”.

Under the old system, BVI businesses which electronically verified customers’ identities had to perform further checks to determine identity. Now, they can use an independent third party – such as a Blockchain provider – to double check identities. In addition, businesses no longer need to get certified copies of documents. Nor do they need to meet customers face to face – unless there have concerns about the customer’s identity.

Alexander de Haseth, Senior Manager at ZEDRA Hong Kong added: “What’s important about the new rules is they show the BVI is embracing new technology while maintaining rigorous regulatory policies. We hope that others in the region will follow BVI’s lead as these changes are good for both businesses and their customers”.