A legal and accountancy tech startup that incorporates facial recognition and blockchain technology within its client and new employee onboarding platform officially launched in February.

MyDocSafe, the brainchild of director and cofounder Daniel Stachowiak, provides a secure workflow to help firms set up client sign-up forms, conduct know your customer checks, complete direct debit mandates, and sign agreements electronically. It automates the filing and distribution of documents, cutting the time firms have to spend on repetitive administrative and regulatory document processing. As yet, it does not automatically provide legacy document management system integration.

Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Stachowiak, a computer science graduate who has a finance MBA from Oxford University, said he came up with the idea for MyDocSafe while working in the private equity and venture capital sector. “I observed how paper heavy and error prone the process is,” he said adding: “It’s also expensive creating this humongous inefficiency, I thought ‘why can’t they just sort out the documents electronically?’”

While firms can elect not to use biometric facial recognition technology, MyDocSafe offers it for KYC/ AML checks. The company is working with a UK-based technology provider that records images underpinned by a cryptographic algorithm meaning an instance of facial recognition can never be re-used. Stachowiak said: “What’s beautiful is that it’s not invasive and it’s so fun to use. My developers started logging in and out – it emits a sequence of colourful lights and it’s very cool.”

The service provider designs the onboarding process and workflow, after which the client is sent a letter to take them through the necessary steps and confirm whether, going forward, facial recognition will be an automatic part of the process. Stachowiak said: “We are allowing people to design an end-to-end process that is front desk not back end – it’s something that the client sees.”

MyDocSafe is also building several use cases on Ethereum blockchain platform for smart contracts, which will enable clients to timestamp sensitive company material to prove their ownership.  It is stored as a hash, which can only be read by the client and published on the blockchain effectively dating it in the form of smart contract. This can be verified for free through any publicly accessible node of the Ethereum network.

Stachowiak adds: “In the legal profession there are several interesting use cases we’re piloting with IP law firms. The European Union has created a framework for how to protect your business IP. Under the new concept, businesses need to actively protect their business secrets in order to sue.

“Blockchain empowers businesses that can’t normally afford IP lawyers to write up their business secret and stamp it through our platform on to blockchain. We issue them a certificate that you can take to court to show that secret belonged to you – it’s a public verification method.”

While blockchain is still in its infancy in the legal world Stachowiak added: “We need to wait for the courts to hear the first cases but because the mathematics is so strong and the consensus so wide, if you’re on the blockchain it’s certain that it happened, no-one could have hacked it.”

MyDocSafe began offering electronic signatures for KYC in June 2016 but Stachowiak said: “We realised signature is a commodity and document management is a commodity. The value is around designing those two and adding KYC to the document journey.”

This article first appeared in the February Legal IT Insider – sign up for your free copy here: http://www.legaltechnology.com//latest-newsletter/