Chris is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Civic . As COO, Chris oversees all the operations of the company including corporate strategy, product design, corporate development, operations, and finance. He is also a member of the Board of Directors at Civic which oversees the company’s operations.
The post will consist of a list of 4 or more questions and answers, and will need to be no more than 1,000 words. Blog Questions: 1- What does it mean to be a CTO? 2- What is your background with Civic? 3- Can you tell us a little about yourself? 4- If you were to give a TED Talk, what would you talk about?
Chris Hart is the Chief Operating Officer of Civic. Chris is an experienced and collaborative leader with expertise in implementing and scaling innovative technologies in market and mobile ecosystems. Chris leads the overall operations of the company, including finance, compliance, business development, global project planning and business process improvement. He is a long-time member of the Pat Tillman Foundation and serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors. Chris has over twenty years of experience in finance, operations and information technology. Prior to that, he was CFO at Guidebook, Inc. and Nextag, Inc. He earned a BA in English and Philosophy from Emory University and an MBA in Finance from the University of San Francisco, where he graduated cum laude.
What’s a Civic?
Civic is DeFi’s blockchain-based identity verification technology, which allows users to selectively share information so businesses can comply with global financial regulatory standards. By offering flexible identity verification technology for businesses and digital identity as a gateway to decentralized finance for users, Civic supports the long-term viability of the broader DeFi cryptocurrency economy. Civic uses Identity.com, an open source blockchain-based ecosystem, to authenticate user data.
You’ve been with Civic since its inception in 2017, what attracted you to the company?
A revolutionary view of business. I love working with people who have great ideas and a passion for developing world-changing technologies. When I met the company’s co-founders, Vinnie Lingham and Jonathan Smith, I was immediately impressed by their ability to think big. This means focusing not only on what the company can do to make money, but also on how it can turn its offering into something that can actually make a difference in the world. You bring with you the unique experience of having lived in South Africa at the end of apartheid; a real-life experience that can shape and mold your entrepreneurial spirit in ways not often experienced. I always think about the motto of doing good by doing good and I’m always looking for companies that can change the world, but at the same time are ethical and understand that they have an ethical obligation in the way they behave in this industry that we help to define.
How serious is the problem of authentication of KYC and AML documents for financial institutions and blockchain companies?
Scale is perhaps the most important element that developers and companies must master in order to achieve long-term success in the industry. Compliance is now a sine qua non for survival in the financial world. Firms that have not yet taken action on anti-money laundering, BSA and other regulatory requirements should do so before it is too late.
The Global Anti-Money Laundering Authority (GAMA) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recently updated their compliance guidelines for exchanges, wallets, DeFi applications, and other virtual asset service providers (VASPs), requiring VASPs to transmit personally identifiable information (PII) for transactions above a certain threshold to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes. The United States, Singapore and Canada already apply these standards, and other countries will soon follow. Especially with the increasing number of hacks and DeFi scams, regulators are paying particular attention to cryptocurrencies. VASPs must comply with these rules or risk fines and jail time. In the worst case, they could be closed down indefinitely, which would end all their activities.
The challenge for VASP now is how to comply with these ever-changing global anti-money laundering laws, which require the sharing of certain user information, while maintaining the core value of cryptocurrencies – decentralization and the priority given to user privacy. The Civic solves these problems in an elegant way.
One concept that most readers may not be familiar with is Know Your Deal (KYT). Can you explain what this is and how the Civic solves this problem?
Know Your Transaction (KYT) differs from KYC in that it is not about monitoring a specific customer, but rather being able to identify potentially fraudulent transactions and classify behavior that indicates illegal activity. Civic helps mitigate these problems by establishing a link between identified customers or institutions, their transactions, their country of origin, etc. The more guarantees we give platforms and developers to ensure the legality and security of their transactions, the more it will help the industry to adopt these standards and make the future crypto economy safer.
Can you explain how, once a user has a validated Civic ID, they can use it anywhere Civic is enabled?
Civic leverages the identity.com ecosystem and creates a network based on trust. When a user verifies their identity with Civic, they are verified as a real person using blockchain technology, which securely verifies their credentials. When a user’s digital identity is created, no personal information is stored in the blockchain, only the user’s identity. This certificate can be used anywhere Civic is activated.
What are some examples of service providers or blockchain companies using Civic?
We recently announced the integration with Solana Blockchain. By integrating with Solana, we have invested deeply in the future of scalable blockchain. We will make further announcements shortly.
How do you see the future of the Civic in 5 or 10 years?
The banking sector has not developed in a way that benefits consumers, especially in emerging markets where there is hyperinflation or currency devaluation combined with an anachronistic banking infrastructure. Crypto-technology has given banks the opportunity to move away from traditional payment tracks, where a small circle of banks control the industry. We found that the banks did not take advantage of the initiative and their customers’ demand for better practices. Consumers have widely expressed their desire for more freedom in how they save, manage and spend their money. We need to be able to express our financial destiny in a way that is comfortable, safe and fair. So from our point of view, with the advent of new technologies, we saw an opportunity to finally go beyond traditional banking. Today, some banks are really starting to take note of what is happening in the cryptocurrency sector and as adoption grows at the retail investor level, as more people get a taste of the financial freedom the blockchain world has to offer, they will be reluctant to return to traditional banking models.
Is there anything else you want to say about the Civic?
Yes, of course! I want to talk briefly about our corporate culture. With the advent of our new financial ecosystem of cryptocurrencies, everyone can – and should – have a seat at the table. Civic believes strongly in reshaping traditional power dynamics and the progressive ideals that blockchain technology can bring to the forefront of all conversations about class, banking, privacy, and decentralized economic equality. That’s why it’s so important for us to build our team from the best and brightest people in the world. We value a diversity of viewpoints and strive to hear and include as many different voices as possible to most accurately represent the people we serve.
My experiences as an American are very different from those of our team members from Brazil, Germany or South Africa, but without all of these different perspectives, we will never get to where we need to be. So, with mutual respect and a lot of creative ingenuity, we want to create a culture of true camaraderie within the company, an openness to different ideas and experiences that will further our technological goals, and hopefully have a lot of fun in the process!
Thanks for this great interview, readers who want to know more can visit the Civic.
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