Interview: David Sapper, CEO of Aussie Crypto Exchange Blockbid

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CCN reported in June that Australian blockchain startup Blockbid pioneered a new risk management and identity verification system that substantially reduces the risk of identity fraud. Using data aggregated from a 1.4 billion-strong identity database held by ThreatMetrix with a LexisNexis database of potentially high risk identities, the service establishes customer identities so as to satisfy strict KYC and AML conditions.

Blockbid CEO David Sapper is an experienced tech industry founder who has successfully exited two tech startups he previously founded. I wanted to know what makes him particularly confident about Blockbid, and I also wanted to pick his brain about some wider issues in the crypto market, so I had a chat with him recently.

CCN: A lot of the cryptosphere started out explicitly to further the cause of privacy and anonymity. Blockbid is going in the exact opposite direction. How is this going down with your contemporaries in the cryptosphere, and do you think that crypto is going to have to reinvent itself some day?

With cryptocurrency in order to bridge to fiat, there always needs to be a level of identification when interacting with regulated currency such as AUD, USD…etc. Until now the bridge has always been a bit blurred and many exchanges have allowed multiple accounts for a single user or haven’t confirmed their identity/bank accounts for users attached to profiles on their exchange, which has allowed fraudulent activity to occur. We endeavour to be one of the first exchanges to be able to provide the bridge between fiat and crypto that is compliant with regulations for ourselves as a business, bank requirements and user privacy requirements. LexisNexis risk solutions provides us the ability to weed out any bad actors. This partnership was a key ingredient for protecting our users and to provide a solid platform for regulatory oversight, which we feel is needed to provide the security and peace-of-mind for new users entering this industry.

CCN: What are your thoughts about the future of cryptocurrency as a whole, and specifically about crypto trading? Are we likely to see a mass entry in to the market by traditional capital anytime soon?

In the past twelve months alone we have seen over 40 cryptocurrencies exceed a market cap over $1 billion and more than 1,500 cryptocurrencies launch since April – It is easy to see that popularity in the market is growing and therefore so too will intrigue around crypto trading. However, with popularity comes added security risks.

Exchanges will continue to be vulnerable only if they fail to implement the correct security regulations but for those taking the right steps in order to protect both themselves and their users, growth of the market will no doubt continue for the foreseeable future. Cryptocurrencies are being acknowledged by the masses as future of financial liquidity and a faster, cheaper solution for transferring money globally. This will only continue to grow.

CCN: Tell us a bit about the watchlists and datasets that are used in Blockbid’s partnership with LexisNexis solutions. Where do they come from, how do they work and why can users be sure that the system is fool-proof?

No system is fool-proof but we’re working with industry leaders in order to create best-practice principles and guidelines. The recent acquisition of ThreatMetrix by LexisNexis Risk Solution provides us with the ability to merge physical and digital identification as a first of its kind for cryptocurrency exchanges. We find that these type of biometric, device identification, behavioural analyses, which is all part of solutions implemented by banks and financial institutions today is the best-practice solution that we can implement and bring to the cryptocurrency market in order to put ourselves ahead of our competitors as a major differentiator, in-line with our principle of allowing our users to ‘Trade with Confidence’.

CCN: When you fully launch later in the year, what do you expect to happen in terms of your impact on the crypto trading space?

We’re entering in to what is an already crowded market, however we are doing so with a very different offering – not only do we implement strict security protocols, but we’re designed to facilitate the highest volume of trades from the most cryptocurrencies on one platform, all with a single login. Our features are what really set us apart from the current offering.

Our main points of differentiation are our security protocols and insurance, 24 hour support desk, low fees, and our high number of crypto and fiats available with unlimited deposits and withdrawals.

CCN: What are your thoughts about the Australian cryptosphere? Is it on its way to becoming a hub of blockchain-based innovation like South Korea? What role is Blockbid playing in the development of the crypto economy in Australia?

As a proudly Australian owned and operated company, we feel that it is important to foster the growth of the Aussie cryptocurrency and Blockchain industry as much as we can by providing greater accessibility to the market. Therefore, our aim is to list as many Australian coins as possible to make it easier for Aussie traders to buy and sell local coins in AUD. We’re listing 19 Australian projects, and providing a pair directly to AUD for each. This is more than any other exchange worldwide and for some of the coins listed they will be the only exchange these coins are trading on. We’re also focused on building strong strategic partnerships within the blockchain/crypto community in Australia with industry and government bodies such as AUSTRAC, ADCA, Blockchain Association of Australia, and community leaders such as Nugget News and The Crypto Den, as well as many others.

Featured Image from Shutterstock

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