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In our recent Open Network plan announcement on December 27, 2023, we shared our intention to enter the Open Network period of the Mainnet in the year 2024 and its important three conditions. Especially, the milestones in Condition 1 & 2 depend on the decentralized efforts of Pioneers, community developers, and the Core Team. Today, we want to provide an update on recent progress in one of the critical metrics: the KYC process. The KYC milestone is paramount to the success of the Open Network and ecosystem in line with Pi’s vision to build the world’s most inclusive peer-to-peer ecosystem and authentic online experience, fueled by Pi.  

As stated in the Open Network plan announcement, the KYC milestone will be primarily driven by the decentralized efforts of the community with the Core Team’s support. This KYC piece today specifically provides an update on the Core Team’s recent progress in unblocking Pioneers’ applications stuck in the KYC process and supporting the community to achieve its KYC goals to get prepared for the Open Network. 

Identifying and Addressing A Core Problem

One major hurdle in our KYC process has been with applications that are missing or have incorrectly entered information

This issue, while sometimes appearing minor, significantly slows down the processing efficiency. The “missing” status might be caused by various reasons: the wide range and vast diversity of ID document layouts and designs, scattered data on the front and back sides of ID, unclear ID images, human errors in filling in the application form, etc. Small errors, such as omitted details or data mismatches, lead to verification delays and create system bottlenecks.

To verify you quickly and securely, we need all your KYC documentation to be exact. Not getting KYC’d because of these tiny hiccups can be frustrating, and we’re doing everything we can to solve these problems, both individually and at scale.

Ultimately, the most efficient way to improve our KYC system is to implement new changes that enhance the process. In the Pi KYC application, we’re asking you to help deliver accurate data entry––but we’re also stepping up to help, with manual fixes, a more intuitive system design, and better algorithms and designs to extract correct data as we work to streamline the KYC process and onboard new applicants.

Solutions and Recent Effectiveness

In response to the specific challenge of missing and mismatching data in KYC applications, we’ve implemented and released a comprehensive set of measures, each designed to target specific issues and finally reduce the cases stuck by this cause in the KYC process significantly. These measures, along with specific metrics since a recent update in mid-December 2023, are as follows:

  • Comprehensive Application Reprocessing: Before November 2023, there were about 1.5 million applications in total that were stuck in the KYC process due to missing data in their applications. We improved the code to extract the data from the ID documents, applied the new improvements to all 1.5 million cases in November, unblocked about 200,000 applications to move on in the KYC process and resulted in 1.3 million remaining cases having this issue by the end of November 2023. 
  • Improved algorithm to resolve sub-issues: With further analysis on the remaining applications, we identified sub-issues and implemented the second iteration of the code that extracts necessary data from the ID document. In mid-December, we undertook another comprehensive reprocessing effort, revisiting a total of 1.3 million applications. This second comprehensive reprocessing let about 532,000 applications get unstuck and move on in their KYC journey, and significantly reduced the number of applications blocked by missing data in the KYC process. 
  • Resubmission Opportunities for Pioneers: In the remaining cases stuck by the same issue, we identified that resubmission by Pioneers can help resolve it. For example, unclear images of the ID documents can’t be resolved purely by algorithmic improvements. Just uploading another clear image can do. Human errors in the application form were caused by the applicants themselves in the first submission, so they have to fix such errors themselves. Thus, we allowed about 768,000 remaining applicants blocked by this issue to have one more chance to resubmit their applications. This move deployed in late December was not only about giving a second chance but also about educating users on the importance of clear, accurate and complete information. The resubmission measure allowed another 123,000 applications to be successfully unblocked from the missing data issue in the KYC process, and this number has been continuing to increase as more applicants act on the resubmission opportunity.
  • Validators Review as the Solution: The next strategy to tackle the missing data issue for the remaining affected cases will rely on KYC Validators. Currently, a new design and tutorials for this task for Validators have been developed and tested, and will be soon slowly rolled out to Validators based on their prior performance to help address this issue and unblock more applications affected by missing data that cannot be resolved algorithmically or via resubmissions. 

The above were updates on resolving one major blocker in the KYC process and will have ongoing effects on future applications as well (future applications will have a lower chance of being stuck or will be delayed for a shorter amount of time by similar issues due to such improvements). As they show, each measure or strategy involves a lot of data analysis, identification of specific causes, development of solution, testing, deployment and iterations. With such similar efforts in each step, sometimes a measure can lead to bigger results while at other times one measure unblocks fewer applicants. However, the challenge of the KYC process is that each corner case matters because each Pioneer going through KYC matters even if the measure to resolve that one corner case takes as much time and effort as others. The above list was only for one blocker—albeit a major one—and there are other KYC blockers the Core Team has been working on and providing solutions to unblock applications in similar manner. 

Some of the other KYC updates and progress include:

  • Improved Liveness Video Processing: There were about 153,000 KYC applications before November 2023 that were stuck in the KYC process due to failures of processing their video in their initial submission.  After examinations of the issue, a tailored measure was implemented to reprocess the video submissions of these applications and deployed in November 2023, effectively reducing the backlog to just 19,000 Pioneers needing further measures. 
  • Unblocking Applications with Watermark Issue: In December 2023, a specialized measure was implemented to rectify some failures in adding watermarks to images that prevented some applications from going through. This solution resulted in the successful unblocking of 1,367 Pioneers to continue their KYC process.
  • Name Comparisons and Appeals: The complexity in verifying that all names (KYC ID name, Pi account name, appealed names) associated with an account refer to the same person in the KYC process also prevents many applications from moving forward. While most name comparisons were done by the machines, there are cases that ultimately cannot be resolved algorithmically. New tutorials and designs were implemented and are released to trusted Validators to resolve such name comparison difficulties and resolve many name appeal requests. This feature was released around the time of this blog release, so no metrics are available at the moment.  

Tips for Pioneers for a Smoother KYC process

Drawing from what we learned when helping to resolve different stuck cases, we also want to share with Pioneers some tips to reduce your own chance of being stuck in the KYC process and help the network to make faster progress in the KYC goal. 

  • Complete Information: Ensure all data, especially crucial details like Date of Birth or ID document Expiration Date, are filled in accurately.
  • High-Quality Document Images: Submit clear, well-lit images of your ID and a clear liveness video.
  • Correct Country of ID Submission: The ID document’s country of issuance should match the country selected in the dropdown at the beginning of the KYC application.
  • Consistent ID Document Submission: Ensure the type of ID you submit matches the one you’ve selected in your application form.
  • Consistent Language in Data Entry: Enter your details in the application form in the exact language as they appear on your ID. If the names on your ID document are in your native language, please fill in the form with your native names. 

Moving Forward

As stated, the network KYC progress depends on Pioneers to apply, fix their applications, resubmit, invite their teams to go through KYC, and KYC validators to help resolve difficult cases that machines cannot resolve. The Core Team is also committed to provide the necessary technology, designs and support for the community to make progress in this metric we all share towards the Open Network. 

We thank our community for their ongoing participation and feedback, which are invaluable in this journey towards a more efficient and user-friendly KYC process. Stay tuned for more updates and improvements.

To learn more about Pi Network’s native KYC solution, read the full article and FAQs explaining what it is, why it’s important and how it works. KYC is an essential component of Pi’s preparedness for an Open Network launch. Help KYC move forward for more Pioneers by becoming a KYC Validator yourself and inviting your fellow Pioneer peers to complete KYC and migrate to Mainnet.

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