nWay is a game developer and publisher whose goal is to create console-quality multiplayer games for both web and mobile. It recently launched the nWayPlay Marketplace, where users can purchase NFT packs, trade individual NFTs with other users, earn NFTs by playing games, and more.
Problem: nWay’s fraud investigation process was manual and ill-equipped to pinpoint and fight coordinated fraud attacks
As nWay’s compliance program manager, David Kim knows identity verification (IDV) is vital for several reasons.
For one, it’s required in certain situations. “KYC is mandated by our payment processor that helps us on-ramp and off-ramp funds,” he shares. Not only that, but he’s expecting more laws to come. “Since we’re in the digital currency market, there will be a lot of regulations. We want to be at the forefront and be proactive about getting ahead of future regulations instead of simply reacting to them.”
However, nWay knows verifying users is more than just a requirement — it’s also an effective way of detecting fraud and building trust, which is especially vital in marketplaces. Rene Hakiki, nWay’s executive producer, works in tandem with David to balance mitigating fraud and growing their user community. “Web3 and gaming companies typically don’t do KYC, but we’re trying to change the standard,” explains Rene. “KYC is how we make sure users that join our NFT drops are real people — not bots. Knowing who our users are helps us build a safer community.”
While KYC can help weed out bad actors, it’s not 100% foolproof. nWay's main challenge was combatting bots and other large-scale fraud attacks where the same risky signals (IP address, device fingerprint) were showing up across a group of accounts. These fraud rings were not only time-consuming to catch, but also posed a huge risk to the business if they were not dealt with swiftly.
Unfortunately, like many companies, nWay’s old approach to examining and dealing with fraudsters wasn’t ideal. “Our fraud investigations were very limited — we relied on our development team to manually query our database to find linked accounts,” Rene shares. “This was costly, and it took a long time to complete.”
nWay knew this resource-intensive approach wasn’t scalable, as it was taking valuable time away from its development team’s other initiatives. And as the business continues to add more games, functionalities, and partnerships, it’s expecting more users — and subsequently, more fraud. “Once you have more visibility, fraud rings start to hit,” Rene explains.
nWay knew it needed to get ahead of fraud before it became a real problem, so it turned to its existing identity partner, Persona, for help.
Solution: nWay uses Persona’s fraud investigation and link analysis tool to find and ban fraudsters faster
Graph is Persona’s fraud investigation and link analysis tool that helps businesses catch more bad actors by surfacing risky connections — even those multiple degrees away — between user accounts. nWay appreciated that Graph could not only give them more visibility into the reach of fraud rings, but also equip their compliance team to handle investigations on their own using the configurable, no-code query editor.
These days, nWay relies on Graph for:
Busting existing fraud rings
Graph helps nWay quickly identify how users are connected via common attributes, which is helpful because shared properties often indicate bots or duplicate accounts. “Graph visually shows us clusters of users that are connected by key properties — for example, those who have the same IP address or device fingerprint,” David explains.
After a quick implementation with minimal engineering lift, nWay was able to identify a cluster of 40 users with similar properties without manually querying their database. While not necessarily indicative of fraud on its own, David explains that “some of these users were trying to manipulate the system by trying to KYC for someone else.”
With Graph, not only was nWay able to spot the fraud ring, but it was also able to quickly take action by bulk tagging and blocking these bad actors. “We didn’t want these users to manipulate our markets or commit fraud before we had time to stop the activity,” David shares, “so in order to protect our verified community, we terminated our relationship with all 40 users.”
Investigating and proactively stopping hard-to-catch fraud
Aside from major fraud rings, nWay also uses Graph to investigate and catch smaller, less-obvious instances of fraud. “We don’t always know if someone’s doing something wrong — it’s possible two users just happen to be in the same region,” David says. “For any kind of initial investigation process, Graph is our go-to tool to uncover linked or suspicious account patterns,” David says. “It’s a great tool to use as a starting point of any fraud investigation.”
For example, if his team notices suspicious activity, they’ll put the account info into Graph and see if they can find clusters of linked accounts. “By linking common traits like device fingerprint or location, Graph helps us either verify our suspicion or complete our investigation,” Rene explains. From there, nWay adapts its automated workflow logic to include the latest risk signals to proactively block future fraud from the same fraud ring.
With Graph, nWay has been able to pinpoint illegitimate transactions and users with multiple accounts, which it doesn’t allow. “We use Graph in any way possible to prevent fraud for us. From users trying to circumvent KYC or create more than one account to those committing fraudulent transactions under non-KYC accounts, Graph helps us identify these tricks,” David shares. “We never would have been able to catch these instances without Graph.”
Results: nWay decreased chargebacks by 80% by taking a more proactive approach to fraud-fighting
Ultimately, Graph has benefited nWay in a number of ways. “From a compliance perspective, Graph has saved us time and lowered our headcount need, which means our team can operate more efficiently and focus their time on complex cases instead. And from a fraud perspective, Graph combined with Persona’s KYC solution has lowered our fraud rate considerably,” David says.
While headcount and time benefits can be difficult to quantify, Rene also shares that Graph has concretely helped nWay’s bottom line. “With less fraud, our number of chargebacks has gone down, which is great because we get fined for every chargeback we incur,” he says. “Plus, on the development side, Graph’s made my life a lot easier because David’s not bothering me all the time,” he jokes.
Perhaps most importantly, the nWay team shares that Graph has helped alter how they approach fraud in general — for good. “The last thing I want is to react to fraud cases after the damage has already been done,” David shares. “The biggest advantage of Persona's Graph tool is that we can proactively block fraud incidents before they happen with automated decisioning. So we’re going from more reactive to proactive. And from a compliance perspective, that’s a home run.”