This was 2023 at OpenSanctions – plus what’s next!

As 2023 draws to a close, it’s time for us to reflect on our second year of operation - and to give you a little preview for our third.

We don’t believe that chasing headline numbers is the way to fight financial crime, but we can’t help to be proud about the growth of our data product: 68 data sources in January have turned into 113 now, 397,000 entities into 2,029,000. The 44 sanctions lists at the center of this dataset comprise of hundreds of sanctions policies and executive decrees enforced around the world. Next year, we want to grow our coverage by including political personnel and corporate ownership disclosures from additional jurisdictions around the globe.

We’ve done the engineering to scale OpenSanctions into a global resource. For example, our new country-by-country breakdown and methodology help us understand the quality of our coverage of politically exposed persons. The open source zavod data factory framework creates the foundation for growing OpenSanctions to hundreds of data sources. Next year, we plan to further improve the fidelity of our data language, and make it even easier to track data changes over time.

As a remote organization, the Christmas party is more of a metaphor (Foto: Vic Harster)

We’ve worked with our customers to make sure that our open source screening application - yente - meets their needs and produces actionable results. By providing explainable results based on a wide range of matching techniques in both hosted and on-premise settings, it’s become a valuable tool for customers and partners to interact with our data. Next year, we will team up with a machine learning researcher to create a open source testing benchmark for name matching in screening systems, and we will further improve our own system on that basis.

We’ve grown our customer base to almost 100 commercial users, working with compliance software vendors, insurers, payment services providers and public sector entities to integrate our data into their screening and AML solutions. While most of our clients are based in the US and the EU, we now also have clients in Brazil, India, South Africa and Ukraine!

We’ve partnered with GLEIF and Open Ownership to showcase the power of open data-based graph analytics in financial crime investigations. Next year, we want to dive into more showcases, for example to explore ways to apply geographic analysis to corporate structures.

We’ve doubled the size of the OpenSanctions team - and we’re hiring for another data engineer now! Next year, our organisation will continue to mature: we’ll formalise our understanding how how we can have a positive impact on society, acquire security certification, and continue to build strategic partnerships with financial technology and solutions vendors.

Looking back, it’s been a busy and productive year. We’re incredibly thankful for the many data freaks, technology builders, financial crime fighters, transparency activists, investigative muckrakers and oligarch lawyers that have taken the time to speak with us this year. You’ve broadened our horizons, and helped us understand where we can have an impact.

Let’s do more of this!

Like what we're writing about? Keep the conversation going! You can follow us on LinkedIn, subscribe to our E-Mail newsletter or join the Slack chat to bring in your own ideas and questions. Or, check out the project documentation to learn more about OpenSanctions.


This article is part of OpenSanctions, the open database of sanctions targets and persons of interest.