22.10.2020

Shyft Network to Build FATF-Compliant ‘Identity Layer’ for Polkadot

The Barbados-based firm announced its intentions to build out a Polkadot parachain based on Parity Technologies’ Substrate network. The move is part of Shyft’s larger effort to create a universal standard for cryptocurrency regulatory compliance. It also complements Polkadot’s primary focus on interoperability.

Shyft Network is adding yet another blockchain to its decentralized digital identification network.

“Once fully deployed, the Shyft chain will enable Polkadot users to bridge identities from other networks, and from DApps built on other networks, to all Polkadot parachains,” Shyft wrote in a statement. “In other words, Polkadot users will have access to their interactions on DApps built in other ecosystems.”

Shyft is looking to become an “identity layer” for Parity’s permissionless blockchain network, the firm said in a statement. Polkadot is set up so that anyone can build their own parachain.

In an interview, Shyft co-founder Joseph Weinberg described the firm in two parts: a digital ID application tool – such as one created for the island nation of Bermuda – and architecture for compliance between governments, blockchain firms and users.

“To the best of our ability, we want to be able to provide open tools and infrastructure so that companies or smart contracts or non-custodial wallets … are able to at least partially solve the problem,” Weinberg said, describing the recent global regulation from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) known as the “Travel Rule.”

Weinberg said he helped write regulations for crypto governance in multiple countries, including Bermuda and Mauritius. Shyft is adding those standards to every blockchain for ease of use, he said.

The dedication to interoperability means Shyft is code-heavy compared to other blockchains, having “one of the largest, if not the largest, contract codebases” in the industry, Weinberg said. The firm’s blockchain itself is a version of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This means that every public blockchain Shyft wants to provide tools for has to be built manually, sometimes from the ground up.

Minus its experimental canary network, Kusama, Polkadot has yet to launch. Once it does, Shyft intends to be ready.

“Excited to see more projects integrating with Polkadot,” Parity Technologies spokesman Peter Mauric told CoinDesk in a DM. “The goal is to provide Web3 project devs with all the options they may want to have at their disposal to build the next generation of decentralized applications.”

FATF created the guidance in 2019 concerning the movements of cryptocurrency across national borders. The global regulatory watchdog’s framework is a cornerstone of Shyft’s work, particularly after hiring two former FATF members as advisors last October.

Silk Road Operator Pleads Guilty to 1 Charge of Conspiracy

Roger Thomas Clark, an alleged operator behind the Silk Road darknet marketplace and adviser to founder Ross Ulbricht, pleaded guilty to “conspiring to distribute massive quantities of narcotics,” prosecutors announced Thursday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said in a press release that Clark, who was known online as “Plural of Mongoose,” “Variety Jones,” “VJ” and “cimon,” pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and will be sentenced on May 29.

Silk Road is most famous for being a darknet marketplace where users could purchase illicit drugs and other goods using bitcoin as a payment method. Ulbricht is currently serving a life sentence in connection with his operation of the site, stemming from charges of narcotics distribution, computer hacking and conspiracy.

Ulbricht and Clark were both also accused of facilitating “the attempted killing of a co-conspirator,” though neither was charged in connection with this allegation.

“Clark’s arrest, extradition from Thailand and conviction should make it clear that the purported anonymity of the dark web is not a protective shield from prosecution,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in a statement.

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