Crypto Industry Adopts Messaging Standard To Comply With Travel Rule

[Gibraltar, 7 May 2020] A coalition of international blockchain industry bodies has collaborated to develop a new technical standard, known as IVMS101, to facilitate the exchange of data between Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs). Yesterday’s approval of the standard represented a crucial step toward meeting the obligations of the Travel Rule, a key requirement of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Developed by the Joint Working Group for interVASP Messaging Standards (JWG), IVMS101 is a data model to enable a universal common language for communication of required originator and beneficiary information between VASPs. The JWG was established in December 2019 by the Chamber of Digital Commerce, Global Digital Finance, and the International Digital Asset Exchange Association (IDAXA). IVMS101 will now be handed over to these leading industry bodies for ratification.

“To make this possible in such a short period of time is a testament to the way that the cryptoasset industry can come together,” said Siân Jones, convenor of the JWG and Senior Partner at XReg Consulting, who previously sat on the FATF Policy Development Group that worked on virtual assets. “In all my years working in standards development, I never yet encountered such tremendous collaborative effort to enable an international standard to be developed in just over four months,” said Jones. 

IVMS101 is the first technical standard to be produced by the JWG, which convened every week via teleconference from the beginning of January 2020 until the concluding plenary on 6 May 2020. The group comprises more than 130 technical subject-matter experts nominated by VASPs and other affected entities, technical solution providers (TSPs), academics, and regulators. 

“Since the FATF published the Virtual Asset guidelines in June 2019, the industry has been working hard to comply, but there are challenges,” said Anson Zeall, Executive Director of IDAXA. “One of them was establishing a common standard so that any VASP can work with any compliance solution vendor with ease, so IVMS101 is definitely the first step in the right direction.”

At the final plenary, prominent TSPs including CipherTrace, TRISA, CoolBitX, Notabene, and Securrency committed to implementing the standard. VASPs including Onchain Custodian, BC Group and OSL, BitIt, Diginex, and Paxful also expressed a commitment to implementing IVMS101-based solutions. Lana Schwartzman of Paxful, a P2P marketplace, said she will only consider TSPs that comply with IVMS101.

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Siân Jones speaking at the V20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, June 2019.

“We’re now moving from planning and preparation into the execution phase with the TSPs” said Malcolm Wright, Chair of GDF Advisory Council. “IVMS101 is significant because it ensures every message sent is received as intended, and that VASPs will benefit from implementation efficiencies and minimal error rates particularly where they may need to adopt multiple TSP solutions to communicate across the VASP ecosystem,” said Wright.

“This is an extraordinary effort by industry,” said Amy Kim, Chief Policy Officer at Chamber of Digital Commerce. “The work of the JWG has been extremely important in demonstrating the ability of our industry to unite together and actively progress toward meeting the FATF requirements.”

More information and a downloadable PDF of IVMS101 can be found at: intervasp.org

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