Global LEI Foundation to Develop ‘Cryptographically Verifiable LEIs’

The ‘vLEI’ will create a cryptographically secure chain of trust that replaces manual processes required to access and confirm an entity’s LEI data.

GLEIF (Global LEI Foundation) has announced plans to create a fully digitised LEI service capable of enabling instant and automated identity verification between counterparties operating across all industry sectors, globally.

The move to develop a ‘cryptographically verifiable LEI’ has been prompted by confirmed demand from the pharmaceutical, healthcare, telecom, financial services and automotive sectors, GLEIF said.

GLEIF has established a cross industry development programme to create an ecosystem and credential governance framework, together with a technical supporting infrastructure, for a verifiable LEI (vLEI) – i.e. a digitally verifiable credential containing the LEI.

By embedding new and existing LEIs in verifiable credentials, the vLEI will create a cryptographically secure chain of trust that replaces manual processes required to access and confirm an entity’s LEI data.

GLEIF says the vLEI will give government organisations, companies and other legal entities worldwide the capacity to use non-repudiable identification data pertaining to their legal status, ownership structure and authorised representatives in their business activities.

This could be used for approving business transactions and contracts, onboarding customers, transacting within import/export and supply chain business networks, and submitting regulatory filings, and financial reporting – among other use cases that require trusted digital identities.

“The global LEI system is unique in its capacity to provide regulated and standardised global identities for legal entities everywhere. Our next step is to secure the process of presenting and verifying LEI data digitally, so it can be used across the digital economy in corporate ID use-cases,” said GLEIF CEO Stephan Wolf.

GLEIF has already been working to identify an open and universally interoperable model for the vLEI through research partnerships and technical trials with stakeholders in various sectors. Currently, a range of blockchain, self-sovereign identity and other decentralised key management propositions are being explored.

Bloomberg’s two vLEI proof-of-concept trials have signalled a “clear opportunity” to broaden the usage and increase adoption of LEIs in digitised corporate activities, said Steve Meizanis, Global Product Head of Symbology and LEI Services at Bloomberg LP. “It also increases the scope for new and existing LEI issuers to offer vLEI services, strengthening the Global LEI System as a whole.”

Having now formalised the vLEI development programme, GLEIF is inviting broader engagement from across the digital economy to help create the vLEI ecosystem, governance framework, and supporting infrastructure.

“Until now the absence of a trusted governance authority able to link digital identities with real world legal entities has presented an industry-wide barrier to innovation,” said Derek Ryan, a partner at Deloitte. “GLEIF is very well positioned to overcome this barrier by extending the LEI as a critical component of the global digital economy.”

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