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Universal Connect Project

Whether you are an established financial institution with existing data providers or a one person startup the Universal Connect Project (UCP) is the right way to connect to financial services like banks, credit unions and wealth managers.

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Why Use an Internet Protocol?

The UCP is an internet protocol for financial services data that builds upon the WC3 Standard Verifiable Credentials. When you connect to services through an Internet protocol instead of through a proprietary API you get:

Choice

The financial data you receive is always in the same format no matter what company you use. This means you can route your requests to another provider without making any changes to your code.

Fault Tolerance

If one company or service goes offline your requests are automatically re-routed so your application stays up and your users stay happy.

Simple Integration

Simply display the open source UCP Widget and it handles all of the user interaction needed to retrieve bank data from any data provider.

Performance

Data connection speeds vary across data providers and individual financial institutions with the same data provider. The UCP monitors the speed of connections and uses an open source algorithm to route your traffic to the fastest available connection.

Privacy

Some data providers have terms that allow them to reuse the data they collect. The UCP allows you to control when those providers are used.

Cost

Access to banking data is often one of the most expensive parts of building a fintech app. The UCP will route to the cheapest connection that meets your criteria.

What data providers can I use with the UCP?

The UCP is currently routing traffic to MX, Finicity, Sophtron and Akoya, but if you would like to use another provider open an issue on our GitHub page and a member of the community will enable it for you. One of our community goals is to have global coverage by the end of 2025.

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Why Verifiable Credentials?

The UCP combines the FDX data standard with Verifiable Credentials to provide running code (a reference implementation) that eliminates ambiguity and embeds proof that the data has not been tampered with after it is created.

Previous attempts to simplify access to financial services data have used an industry consortium approach rather than an Internet Standards approach. While Internet Standards take longer to establish the success of the Internet itself shows the benefits justify the extra work.

Verifiable Credentials allow users to take possession of data without gaining the ability to modify the data. This enables the ideal “one click to instantly share” user experience that wasn’t previously possible.

As the Internet itself is upgraded to improve privacy, security and reliability using Verifiable Credentials new applications for financial data will be unlocked. By adopting Verifiable Credentials now companies gain a competitive advantage.

Verifiable Credentials are being embraced by regulators because they allow users to take possession of their data and completely control how that data is shared.

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Why Open Source?

The code belongs to you. If you want to change the colors of the Widget or you want to tweak the routing algorithm you have complete control of the code you build upon.

Anyone can help improve the UCP. When new companies adopt the UCP they help improve it by opening issues, contributing bug fixes and suggesting design changes. This will ensure the UCP remains at the cutting edge. 

Internet protocols like TCP allow other protocols like HTTP to be built on top of them because they are open source. In the same way tbDEX (an Internet Protocol for buying bitcoin and stocks with major contributions by Block) and tbLEND (an Internet Protocol for obtaining loans with major contributions from FormFree) are building upon the UCP and we expect dozens of other financial protocols to do the same. 

Who are the major contributors?

The UCP was launched in November of 2022 at the Money 2020 Conference with this announcement from Block.

As a Block Incubation Project it received significant technical direction and support from Block and the open source community. Since that time the major contributions have been from the data providers MX and Sophtron and by early adopters that use the UCP to power their applications.