Users of Dutch accounting software Visma | yuki can now speed up their invoicing and payment processes, thanks to a collaboration with blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) firm mintBlue. The arrangement, which includes cooperation and database access from the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, also seeks to reduce the amount of money lost to fraud by quickly verifying whether invoices and their senders are genuine.
Switching to mintBlue’s blockchain-based verification is “seamless” and easy, CEO Niels van den Bergh said in the interview with CoinGeek below. There’s no requirement for either coding or blockchain knowledge and no need to understand how it works. Visma | yuki users can simply toggle a switch in their Settings. Users also retain complete ownership of and control over their data. Information published on the public blockchain is encrypted and accessible only using the users’ permission.
CTO of Visma | yuki, Jeroen van Haasteren, said that “immutable storage and automation of identity-verified invoices is critical to fraud reduction and the future of e-invoicing.” Invoice processors will be able to verify that invoices are real and publish them on the BSV blockchain and use those records to produce paper records if needed.
The Dutch government has mandated using Universal Business Language (UBL) for invoicing since 2019 to automate business processes, and incoming regulatory changes will require it. Adoption has been slow, however, and around 80% of invoices still go out on physical paper or in PDF format. mintBlue and Visma | yuki have ensured their blockchain records follow UBL formatting.
van den Bergh describes in this Q&A how mintBlue’s SDK and its integration with Visma | yuki works, how users can use it to automate ID and invoice authentication, and how other companies could also utilize the SDK to integrate mintBlue’s services into their own. Read on to find out more.
Can businesses of any size use mintBlue’s integrated service?
Certainly, businesses of all sizes can benefit from using mintBlue’s integrated service. Our technology is designed to offer scalability, privacy, and compliance, making it ideal for small businesses and large enterprises alike. We work closely with our clients to ensure that their specific needs are met and that our service is integrated seamlessly into their existing systems. Additionally, our non-custodial approach means businesses retain full ownership and control over their data, providing peace of mind and enhanced security.
Contrary to most blockchain integrators, no high upfront capital investment is required, as there is no mandate to run expensive nodes. This makes it more accessible to small- and medium-sized companies. Implementation takes a few hours, just as quickly as any API, but with absolute data control built in.
Is there much of a learning curve to processing on-chain invoicing via Visma | yuki?
It’s as simple as flipping a switch on your familiar settings page. So there is no significant learning curve for users to process invoices on-chain as it is fully integrated into the Yuki platform. Users do not need any knowledge about the underlying technology. The integration of mintBlue‘s solution has simplified the invoicing process, providing enhanced security and traceability of financial documents. Additionally, Yuki’s clients retain full ownership and control over their on-chain data, ensuring they maintain complete privacy and compliance with their invoicing processes.
How have you designed the service to minimize this?
To minimize the learning curve and streamline the integration process for our clients, we have developed a fully embedded SDK that handles all of the cryptographic functions on the client side. This non-custodial setup ensures that our clients retain complete control over their data and assets.
Moreover, integrating our solution into existing systems typically takes around two hours of implementation work. This speaks to the ease and efficiency of our design, which prioritizes a seamless experience for our clients. We provide full documentation and ticket-based support. The biggest contributor to the short learning curve is that it works like any other SDK, using your own preferred programming language.
How long have you been developing mintBlue/the SDK?
The team has been involved in Bitcoin research and development for over a decade. However, in 2017, we founded Ledgit, a consultancy and development firm focused on custom development and consultancy around the BCH and later BSV chains. As we noticed a lot of the work required similar features and infrastructure, we productized that infrastructure. We built the mintBlue prototype during the 2020 BSV hackathon and, since then, have completely refactored it for scalability, usability, and stability.
For more than a year, we’ve been operational with live use cases with our clients.
Why has use of UBL in invoicing been so low, despite the Dutch government mandating it in 2019?
Users don’t understand that funny extra .xml file suddenly added to your email when you enable electronic invoicing. So they delete it or just send the PDF (that they do understand). The UBL is a structured format of an invoice, so other organizations can easily process it. Our solution essentially merges the two files by writing the UBL on the blockchain and making the PDF the key to decrypt it from the blockchain (via QR or PDF metadata).
Your announcement says paper receipts can also be easily processed on the public blockchain, where they are automatically verified and processed. Which on-chain information is publicly viewable, and what is not? (and how do you differentiate?)
The public blockchain only reveals the encryption algorithm and hashes of the (double) encrypted data, whereas all other information requires a secret for access. In the case of Yuki’s implementation, a QR code containing a transaction ID and secret is printed on the paper invoice. This allows the recipient to decrypt the necessary information for verification and processing, ensuring secure, private, and reliable processing of paper receipts on the blockchain.
How did you get the Chamber of Commerce on board, and how will their support help promote UBL-on-chain to businesses?
The Chamber of Commerce has an innovation arm that is looking for new ways the organization can serve customers. It is a semi-public organization, which means it is supported by the government but has a for-profit mandate. The project leaders at the innovation arm immediately understood what we were aiming to do, and they had most of the infrastructure for it already built out for a different purpose.
Their current infrastructure allows for external service providers to make a call to their database and get company information that is signed with a government key. It is basically a certificate with company data in it. We let users add a public key to their company registry (they have to go through KYC). Once complete, we request the certificate to the Chamber of Commerce with the public key in it. Now we can make derivations of that public key and publish invoice data to the blockchain, and invoice receivers can do a cryptographic trick to validate if the sender is real.
Was it the same for the team at Visma | yuki?
Visma | yuki has always been at the forefront of robotic accounting and utilizing computer vision to extract information from invoices. The issue is that data always gets lost with scanning, and it is tough to spot ghost invoices. VISMA | yuki sees this as the next step to secure invoice processing, having the original data always available on-chain and being able to check the validity of incoming documents.
Watch: mintBlue is all set to further unleash BSV blockchain’s potential
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