China: CFCA Starts to Embed LEIs in Digital Certificates

The China Financial Certification Authority has also become the first certification authority to become a validation agent in the Global LEI System.

CFCA (China Financial Certification Authority) has become the first market participant to successfully demonstrate a commercial application of embedding LEIs into digital certificates, GLEIF (Global LEI Foundation) has announced.

“This advancement is a significant success within GLEIF’s digital strategy for the LEI, bringing it closer to broader LEI usage globally,” GLEIF says.

The development also aligns with China’s roadmap for the implementation of LEIs across all financial infrastructures, market participants, and non-financial companies involved in cross-border transactions over the next three years.

In its demonstration, CFCA showed that is able to embed LEIs in PDF digital certificates during the issuance process, using proprietary software known as TrustSign®. The PDF document displays certificate properties, shows the LEI, and provides a link to entity reference data in GLEIF’s central database, leveraging the GLEIF LEI Lookup API.

“By using GLEIF API for real-time online verification of LEI-related legal entity information, the advantages of digital certificate and LEI can be well integrated in the practice of digital identity to create a better digital identity authentication experience,” said Naijin Lu at CFCA’s Strategic Development Department.

Lu says CFCA will also actively explore other use cases for LEIs in the digital ID field, such as the ‘vLEI’ (verifiable LEI), a digitally verifiable credential containing the LEI. In February, GLEIF unveiled the issuance and technical infrastructure models for the vLEI system.

CFCA has also become the first CA (Certification Authority) to become a Validation Agent in the Global LEI System, under the framework announced by GLEIF in September.

The ‘validation agent’ framework is aimed at facilitating the issuance of LEIs during ‘business-as-usual’ KYC and onboarding procedures by financial institutions. JP Morgan became the first ‘validation agent’ in November.

CFCA has become a validation agent via a partnership with CFCC (China Financial Computerization Corp), a China-based LEI issuer. Under the arrangement, customers can obtain LEIs and include them within CFCA products, essentially a ‘one-stop-shop’ for obtaining LEIs alongside identity authentication and information security services.

The latest developments by CFCA follow the recent launch of the GLEIF ‘CA Stakeholder Group’, created as a platform for collaboration with CAs and TSPs (Trust Service Providers) on the coordination and promotion of a global approach to LEI usage across digital identity products.

“CFCA’s advances are significant because they are the earliest reported successes aligned to the direction of this industry initiative, which is
aimed at achieving a critical mass of LEIs embedded within digital certificates,” GLEIF says, adding that CFCA’s commitment helps to drive the expanded use of the LEI into new sectors.

The progress by CFCA brings GLEIF a step closer to broad LEI usage in digital certificates globally, says Stephan Wolf, CEO of GLEIF. “Realising the goal of universal LEI usage in digital identity products will be an important step in enhancing trust and creating innovation opportunities across private sector digital identity management applications.”

“Digital certificates linked by an LEI to verified, regularly updated and freely available entity reference data held within the Global LEI System are easier to manage, aggregate and maintain,” Wolf adds.

“The result will be significant efficiencies and far less complexity for certificate owners and the provision of greater transparency for all users of the internet and participants within digital exchanges.”

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