Shlomi Azran is a KYC, AML, and fraud specialist with more than three years of experience in the fintech industry. As Identity product manager, he is making sure that our clients’ users are verified and AML/CTF covered. Shlomi loves to explore the interaction between users and systems and always looks for ways to make this experience as friendly and easy as possible
Tell us about yourself!
I’m based at OST’s Berlin office, but I’m originally from Israel. My background includes three years of working in the fraud detection and terrorist investigation industry helping banks and credit card companies with portfolio risk management and KYC. I’ve been working on developing OST KYC and managing the product itself. I joined OST almost three months ago.
What led your interest in working with blockchain technology?
Working in fraud detection, I heard about blockchain and cryptocurrency. Initially, I thought of it as a risky industry due to illegal activities associated with Bitcoin. That was my first impression and understanding of crypto. After joining OST, I now understand that there is potential for many innovative ideas to be developed with blockchain. There are a lot of very interesting concepts to be learned in the space. It’s a huge opportunity for me to work with traditional methods of KYC and AML investigations, but in an industry that is just starting to be regulated. There’s so much room for learning how to adapt to the rules of regulators and different financial authorities. I’m very excited to see how it goes.
Does KYC/AML in blockchain differ from the traditional finance industry?
There are regulations and KYC requirements that are made specifically for the traditional finance industry, such as banks and credit card companies. KYC regulations are just beginning to be created. Each country also has specific KYC requirements. The rules can be different in Australia, the United States, and countries in the European Union. From my understanding, I would say that the current KYC process, meaning the ability to identify users, is pretty much the same as the KYC process in traditional finance institutions. Something we already see in the traditional finance industry is different levels of KYC. For example, for simple actions in a system, KYC regulations may only require users to provide personal details, without uploading ID documents. For complex actions that may expose users to higher risk, they may be required to provide more information. I think this is something that we will see implemented in blockchain-related products too.
What does your role as identity product manager at OST entail?
Right now I am working on the OST KYC solution. In the future, there will be an integration of OST KYC capabilities and OST KIT. Whenever we have an OST KIT client that is using our product, we will also be offering our OST KYC solutions for their users so our client can be in compliance with all regulatory authorities. KYC and verifying user details is one thing, however. In order to be in complete compliance with regulations, anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorist-tinance features must also be in place. In OST KYC, we have compliance partners and we can verify information to provide a complete solution to clients.
In my role, I have ongoing communication with different legal teams. I work with our legal teams to keep track of how the industry is changing, new regulations, licensing, and new requirements we need to comply with. In addition, we have the GDPR requirements in the EU that we need to be compliant with.
Thank you, Shlomi!
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OST blockchain infrastructure empowers new economies for mainstream businesses and emerging DApps. OST leads development of the OpenST Protocol, a framework for tokenizing businesses. In September 2018 OST introduced the OpenST Mosaic Protocol for running meta-blockchains to scale Ethereum applications to billions of users. OST KIT is a full-stack suite of developer tools, APIs, and SDKs for managing blockchain economies. OST partners reach more than 300 million end-users. OST has offices in Berlin, New York, Hong Kong, and Pune. OST is backed by leading institutional equity investors including Tencent, Greycroft, Vectr Ventures, and 500 Startups.