Fintech startup NIGMA, with offices in France and Lebanon, has developed an exhaustive blockchain analytics solution for know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering (KYC/AML) compliance, transaction monitoring and due diligence investigations called e-NIGMA, and has dedicated itself to providing such tools to virtual asset service providers, hedge funds, banks that need the solutions to do so. UNLOCK interviewed Mr. Fabien Tabarly, founder of NIGMA, to gain more insight into this much needed service.
As Tabarly explains, “We have three departments: security consulting, business intelligence and blockchain analytics. What we are doing is gathering actionable intelligence on the cryptocurrency ecosystem to identify bad actors in a customizable manner as per the request of our clients.”
While Tabarly aknowledges the fact that there are other tools out there, he explains that e-NIGMA has been developed without governmental funding or back doors. In addition, being a European entity is another plus for many clients in this sphere. NIGMA has also made sure to offer the most affordable solution on the market for even small crypto actors to afford AML compliance. As Tabarly explains, “We refined our algorithm to reduce the costs for the same level of information that others provide.” Finally, e-NIGMA benefits from top-notch and unique features such as deep and dark-web scraping capacities and a co-integration with a fiat money KYC-AML solution to offfer the full compliance spectrum.
Tabarly refrains from disclosing the number of customers who work with e-NIGMA but states that it is not just banks or virtual asset providers, but even consulting companies and individuals who use it as an investigative tool in addition to a monitoring tool. He explains, “While part of the information we collect and enrich is on our in-house blockchain nodes, we also benefit from years of research on cluster and entities that own crypto addresses thanks to a collaboration with the Austrian Institute of Technology and our own team of open-source intelligence analysts. Customers can then add their own internal data and customize their risk-score coefficients.”
NIGMA is also placing a lot of effort in pacing with the regulation of digital assets over the world. For instance, the startup’s CEO is one of the 60 to 70 members of the InterVASP Joint Working Group (JWG) that discusses how to build a crypto transaction system of “travel rule” to comply with the coming Financial Action Task Force requirement. Results of this technology-enabled, standardized and collaborative approach will be announced in May.
With regards to the MENA region, Bahrain and the UAE have already implemented a strong regulatory framework and, as a consequence, many more regional players are starting to enter into the crypto scene. Tabarly adds, “Banks want to make a business out of crypto yet want to comply to regulations as do exchanges. We even see local regulation growing in Eastern Europe and Africa, and more and more entities are equipping themselves with AML-KYC compliance tools and procedures.” Tabarly believes that, as more regulated exchanges are licensed, crypto trading will increase, and international indicators show that the whole ecosystem is flourishing despite volatility: new derivative products are being launched just like in any other financial asset. Tabarly states, “ In the MENA region, those dealing with cryptocurrencies will need our tool, as will law enforcement agencies, so we look forward to a year of increased regulations, standards and the impact this will have on crypto transactions.”
Tabarly proudly adds, “NIGMA and the largest governmental owned research and technology organizations in Austria, AIT, just signed an agreement to strengthen their collaboration to fight cryptocurrency financial crime. “NIGMA and AIT have been working together for several months to enhance the e-NIGMA platform’s blockchain analytics and anti-money-laundering (AML) capacities, building on AIT’s open source cryptocurrency forensics platform GraphSense.”