Wiztrust: a solution to fight against financial fake news

New York, NY, USA, September 18, 2019

The SaaS company Wiztopic wants to fight against false financial information with Wiztrust. This service certifies the external reports and press releases of banks, insurers and asset managers through the Blockchain. 

Wiztopic is the publisher of a platform dedicated to communication professionals. It makes it possible to manage, distribute and measure the performance of content sent by a company’s spokespersons and corporate PR agencies. This multi-channel solution facilitates the sharing of information on all digital media: newsrooms, email, social networks, etc. 

Wiztopic clients include listed companies, insurance companies, banks, audit, consulting and real estate companies. The platform not only relays information to specialized journalists, but also to investors and shareholders.  

They facilitate the automation and distribution of content (texts, photos, videos, etc.) and then measure the public sentiment. 

Their clients, which consist of large groups such as Caisse d'Epargne, Bouygues, Crédit Agricole, Capgemini, Gecina, L'Oreal, Amundi and KPMG, need to transmit reliable information to their contacts. A false report could have a major impact on their stock market activities, for example.   

To help protect its customers from this, Wiztopic created Wiztrust. Wiztrust is a service that allows an issuer of financial or corporate information to certify it on the Blockchain. The recipient, be it an investor, an analyst or a journalist, checks Wiztrust for the authenticity of the source and the integrity of the message if there is any doubt. 

"Trust is the cornerstone of financial markets. More trust, more market" 

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Indeed, the dissemination of false information by interested third parties is increasing. In a white paper published in May 2019, Jérôme Lascombe and Raphaël Labbé, the founders of Wiztopic, present the issues and solutions around the phenomenon of Corporate News Hacking or manipulation of corporate information.

In the introduction, they mention two compelling cases of the harmful effects of these hijackings. "In 2016, Vinci's value dropped by 20 percent after Bloomberg picked up false information about the company's performance", they write. The consequence of the operation? A €7 billion downward and upward variation before the closing of the listing.

In January 2019, the Yes Men forged hijacked the annual letter from Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock. " They announced the gradual exit of the world leader in asset management in the fossil fuel sector", explained the founders of Wiztopic. The false news had been picked up by the venerable Financial Times, among others.

You have two types of business information manipulators: the hacktivist and the opportunist. In the case of Vinci, the opportunists sought to gain from the swing in stock price: they won twice in 30 minutes,” said Jérôme Lascombe. "The main motivator remains the lure of profit, " he says.

The methods are more or less advanced. The Yes Men impersonated Larry Fink by creating a fake email address linked to a fake newsroom. The hackers behind Vinci’s attack created a fake address linked to a fake press service, that contained a fake number and named the real investor relations director. "There are still many cases like this today," says the president of Wiztopic.

Wiztrust: Blochchain to protect investors from fake news

To ensure the reliability of information, Wiztrust consists of two tools. The first allows the issuer to certify its files. They simply drag them onto a web page. The platform validates the text or image in 1 to 2 seconds. For a video, it all depends on the size of the file, but everything happens in three seconds. Unlike a solution like Wetransfer, documents are not loaded into a cloud. "Wiztrust records the metadata, encrypts it and stores it on a blockchain network," explains Jérôme Lascombe.

This generates a metadata hash associated with a transaction ID that holds "the fingerprint of the document". When someone analyzes the source of a file, the platform compares the data.

This is not enough to ensure the security of news and financial results releases. Wiztopic begins by ensuring the identity of the issuer. "We check the link between the person who certifies a file and the company he works for". Without this preliminary step, the system could not work.

Moreover, it is impossible to subscribe online. In this context, the subscription is nominative with complex identifiers or through SSO .

Encourage journalists and investors to verify information

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The second Wiztrust tool is free to access. From the platform, journalists and investors can drag the document into an auditor that validates its authenticity and provenance. If the document has not been processed in the startup's blockchain, the following message appears:

The file has not been certified with Wiztrust. Please verify the authenticity by contacting the issuer.”

Wiztrust will never tell you that a document is a fake. It will tell you if it is authentic or that it does not correspond to any certified file in our blockchain,” assures Jérôme Lascombe. “We recommend that our customers certify all their content in their interest".

Customers can also use the available image kit to inform their contacts that they are protecting their documents with Wiztrust. Some mark it in black and white in the header of their newsroom. Others indicate the certification at the foot of the email.

"What makes this approach safe is that we decorrelate the certification tool and the content of the verification tool ”, says Lascombe. “Traceability is achieved over the entire chain without excessive constraints for the end user .

A growing interest from Wiztrust 

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Klépierre, Gecina, Bouygues, Natixis, Airliquide and nearly 40 companies use the solution. “The more companies adopt our service, the more journalists and shareholders become aware of it ”.

"Government officials are contacting us to find out if we could certify official documents. We can do this, but our promise is to allow issuers of economic and financial information to secure the channel. As Wiztopic is aimed at large companies, for us it was perfectly logical to start with the companies for which the stakes are the most important in this field", says founder Jérôme Lascombe.

Wiztrust is free for the auditor, while the issuer of the information is charged. "We have customers who only subscribe to Wiztrust". The first tier of the offer costs 1000 euros per month for 3 users. "We do not sell for certification: customers can register / validate all their documents, while auditors use it when in doubt, when disseminating important information."

Wiztrust is free for the auditor, while the issuer of the information is charged: "We have customers who only subscribe to Wiztrust". The first level of the offer costs 1000 euros per month for 3 users. "Certification is not sold: clients can register all their documents, while auditors use it when in doubt, when disseminating important information.

"The beginning of a new adventure" for Wiztopic 

The solution launched in March 2019 is gaining popularity. Wiztopic is awaiting the registration of new subscribers in September. European asset management companies, banks and real estate specialists are the first users. The majority of them were already using the content delivery platform. Note that the tool dependent on a blockchain is not charged to the largest customers of Wiztopic.

"We are at the beginning of a new adventure, but we are very confident. It would not be a surprise if the number of users were to double or triple by the end of the year.”

Finally, Jérôme Lascombe considers that Wiztopic is of interest to Wiztrust's customers. According to him, the two solutions complement each other to ensure the authenticity of documents on all distribution channels.

Several startups have started on the design of Blockchain to fight against fake news. Daneel and Publiq are two of them. The New York Times recently announced that it has started a blockchain project using IBM's Hyperledger. For now, Wiztopic remains the only actor in its chosen field.08/16/2019

Source: Wiztopic translation of le big data article publish on 08/16/2019 

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