Affinidi, a Singapore-based technology company founded by state-owned investment firm Temasek, today announced the launch of a new business unit called Finnovate that aims to serve millions of underbanked individuals and small and medium enterprises across Southeast Asia by leveraging on Web 3.0 blockchain technologies.
- Affinidi Finnovate is partnering with the financial services industry including banks, insurers, asset managers, fintechs and regulators to use Web 3.0 technologies such as decentralized protocols and verifiable credentials (VCs) to help underbanked individuals and businesses access financial services.
- There are more than 1.7 billion people underbanked worldwide, with 290 million in ASEAN alone, according to the World Bank’s Findex data. Furthermore, over 55 million SMEs in ASEAN currently do not have access to the loans they need. “One of the consequences of underbanking is that less than 20% of the population in ASEAN has access to credit,” said Varsha Jagdale, general manager of Affinidi Finnovate. “As we emerge from the pandemic, this is a potential handbrake on economic growth across the region.”
- Affinidi Finnovate’s technology will allow individuals and businesses to use verifiable credentials — digital certificates that can be used to represent information from financial records to health records to education certification — to address the barrier to banking posed by the lack of documentation. Individuals will have control over their digital identity and the underlying distributed ledger technology provides a fast, transparent, immutable and tamper-proof way for financial institutions to authenticate the required data to provide the much-needed financial services.
- “People and businesses all over the world are unable to access banking products that many of us take for granted simply because they have difficulty presenting the right documentation,” Jagdale said. “Using Verifiable Credentials, we are creating a win-win for financial institutions and their customers; financial institutions have a deeper understanding of their customers while their customers can access a wider variety of products.”
- Affinidi Finnovate has also partnered with the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network and BCG FinTech Control Tower on ChekFin — a decentralized credentials platform to facilitate collaborations between financial institutions and fintech firms. The initiative, launched today at the Singapore Fintech Festival, enables financial institutions to obtain verified credentials of FinTech firms, such as business references, awards they have obtained and investor funding record, which will be immutably stored on the blockchain.
- Ten global financial institutions have already signed up for ChekFin and the platform will be launched next month, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore. “Industry collaboration through technology and data sharing platforms will become an important driver of innovation in the future of finance,” said Ravi Menon, MAS managing director, in his speech at the Singapore FinTech Festival today.