Welcome to the Web3 ID Coalition’s Member Spotlight Series, where we highlight the groundbreaking work of our current members!
Today, we’re sharing the story of GenuBank, a modern community bank on a mission to bring authenticity and trust to the communities it serves. GenuBank is a relationship-driven organization that demonstrates its attentiveness through depth of understanding and concierge-level service.
We recently spoke with Peter Braunz, GenuBank EVP and Chief Operating Officer, about the role that digital identity plays within the financial services sector.
1. What makes GenuBank different from other banks?
We are a commercial bank, focusing on the needs of institutions to build their businesses, but the role of all banks is to provide trusted financial services to its customers. We are in a time where technology is rapidly changing these financial needs, and GenuBank aims to be a trusted partner there.
2. How did you get first started in the digital identity space? Share your back story.
I have worked at the intersection of digital assets and regulated financial systems since 2015. There has always been this tension between compliance and digital assets that has always threatened the viability of these digital assets to transform the financial system on a mass adoption scale. Around 2019, I read Kim Cameron’s “7 Laws of Identity” and I’ve been down the rabbit hole ever since. You have these moments where the trajectory of your beliefs can shift, and this has been something I’ve worked hard to understand ever since.
3. What impact does digital identity have on financial services, and what role does digital identity play in how you serve your clients?
It’s the holy grail, and it’s important that we work toward bringing SSI into financial service use cases, and not give up on it. All of our existing regulation is built on the idea that you need to surveil and monitor in order to prevent bad actors from using our banks to facilitate illicit activity. That clearly cannot work for where we are going, as banks will cease to be the point of centralization in the future. We need a privacy preserving approach that can still maximize the safeguarding of our financial system. Digital identity is the substrate of what we believe the future will look like, and we want to help clients who believe the same thing.
4. In your mind, what is the most pressing issue facing the development and proliferation of web3 identities?
Disparate frameworks, proprietary approaches to identity, strong use cases, and the paradigm shift of going from a winner-take-all platform economy to a protocol economy. These are hard, but solvable problems. Throw in the fact that banks are very reliant on their incumbency advantage, and it can be very challenging. A lot of people are doing very good work in this area. We have to keep going.
5. What is one project you are currently working on that excites you the most?
We are focusing on reusable credentials for KYC. We think KYCC, or “know your customer’s customer” is a nice application of the technology with the emergence of non-bank FI’s and some of the heartburn there has been with regulators over that, and of course, financial services powered by these credentials. Payments first, then eventually other things. We are early, and we must remain open to where the market will adopt the technology.
6. What can we expect from GenuBank in the next six months? Where will you be in three years?
A lot of things go into building up a bank that can support this technology. We are working with regulators and legislators so that they can understand the promise of this technology. On the business side, we are continually aligning ourselves with client needs, and this identity technology is a key part of that. 2024 will see us rolling out our new APIs that harness this technology, and we have some really exciting identity products that will be in market in the second half of 2024. We are trying to stay humble and focused; we have a lot of work ahead of us. In three years, we hope to be a trusted provider of Web3 ID powered financial services. It’s a long road, but we are committed to this.
7. What do you hope to achieve as a member of the Web3 ID Coalition?
We aim to be a collaborator, a resource, a connection-maker. The true innovation is happening amongst the members, so having a seat at the table, being able to sit back and listen to the needs, helps us build the products that will be required to power Web3 ID financial services. The Coalition has been enormously helpful in facilitating our product development and market intelligence.
Many thanks to Peter for sharing GenuBank’s vision for the future of digital identity in banking! Be sure to check out this space in the coming months for more Member Spotlights, as we’ll continue to profile innovative organizations dedicated to advocating for public policy that paves the way for secure, portable, and trusted digital identities.