Blockchain in Financial Services

Three uses for blockchain in banking

Share this post:

The banking and financial services industries have a complex relationship with blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that was popularized by cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. On the one hand, blockchain presents numerous opportunities to transform how people exchange value. The technology provides participants in a business network with a shared, immutable history of transactions — records cannot be altered once they’ve been agreed upon through consensus and added to the ledger — so many traditional banking processes could be streamlined. On the other hand, blockchain is viewed as a threat to the established models that commerce is run on.

Change isn’t easy, especially when changing requires the overhaul of existing systems as well as collaboration among banks and financial services providers who probably never thought they’d work together on anything. However, with so many banks and startups interested in cashing in on the potential value of blockchain technology, it’s no longer a question of if blockchain will be used in banking, but when and how.

With its roots in digital currency, blockchain could take several routes to adoption within banking and financial services.

LEARN MORE ABOUT BLOCKCHAIN FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES

Identity: Knowing who you’re dealing with

For banks and financial institutions, ensuring Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance is an important step in preventing inappropriate or criminal use of funds and services. This process involves establishing the identity of the customer using various documentation, understanding the nature of the customer’s activities to make sure the source of the customer’s funds is legitimate, and assessing whether the customer poses a risk. You might think it would be enough for a bank to do this once for each customer and then simply keep the record updated, but that usually isn’t the case. More often, a variety of systems separately manage customer identity for different types of financial services.

Banks have been researching ways to share customer information across their company in a secure manner and a blockchain-based solution is a clear contender. Cryptographic protection can help keep information secure while the ability to share a constantly updated record with many parties can simplify the administrative process by reducing unnecessary duplication of information and requests.

In a pilot project by Crédit Mutuel Arkéa and IBM, using blockchain offered a complete view of customers’ documents across the bank’s distributed network.

Payments: Speeding time to settlement

Though digital payments have become more common, sending money from one individual to another isn’t always a simple endeavor. Traditionally, it’s been hard for those involved in a transaction to trust that they will receive their payment. Intermediary financial institutions like clearing houses, regulators and other banks offer certainty, but they also slow down the process. If a payment crosses borders and exchanges in currency are involved, it could take days or weeks for clearing and settlement to occur because of inefficiencies in reconciling records on separate ledgers from intermediaries.

By design, blockchain provides certainty because participants can view the same ledger of transactions that is updated through consensus and made immutable through cryptography. In the long term, this can make it possible for individuals and corporations to transact more directly, making payments simpler, faster and more secure.

In a recent press release, IBM, KlickEx Group and Stellar.org unveiled a new blockchain payments solution that uses IBM Blockchain technology to provide both clearing and settlement of financial transactions on a single network in near real time. Read this blog post to learn more.

Trade finance: Reducing friction in global markets

Friction in global markets makes obtaining financing and completing trades a lengthy and complex process. Following traditional practices, which include various activities such as lending, issuing letters of credit, factoring and insuring the parties, it can take days up to weeks to complete a single transaction! Paper documents have to be sent back and forth to be validated and reconciled, and in the interim, capital gets tied up and business slows.

By using a shared version of the truth on blockchain, trade partners can interact with greater trust, increasing the efficiency with which companies can access funding as well as saving time and costs throughout the trade process. Watch the video below to see how blockchain helps streamline trade finance:

Five banks and IBM are developing a blockchain-based trade finance platform called Batavia. Built to be openly accessed by organizations big and small around the world, the platform is designed to help support the creation of multi-party, cross-border trading networks. Read the press release to learn more.

Reimagining banking with blockchain

Banks around the world are looking to transform their industry with blockchain. The advantages of increased transparency and efficiency along with simplified processes and decreased costs are hard to ignore. According to a report from the IBM Institute for Business Value, 91 percent of banks are investing in blockchain solutions be 2018. Will you be one of them?

Learn more about blockchain for financial services and check out use cases to see the technology in action.

LEARN MORE ABOUT BLOCKCHAIN TODAY

Add Comment
No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *

More High Security Business Network stories

Blockchain security: What keeps your transaction data safe?

Proponents of the distributed ledger technology known as blockchain consider it to be one of the best ways to secure transactions. I don’t know about you, but hearing that anything is the “best” immediately makes me skeptical. How exactly does blockchain provide more security than traditional transaction processes? Let’s take a look.   Security by […]

Continue reading

Blockchain is good for your health, and your business

Blockchain is a potential game-changer to business however there is no clear and easy route to adoption. As I discussed in my first blog, there are still several challenges, including a lack of common technical standards, transaction speeds, verification processes and data limits, which are still being resolved. In a sensitive industry like healthcare, government […]

Continue reading

Beyond proof of concept: Blockchain highlights from Sibos 2017

These days, you can’t go to a financial services conference such as Sibos without encountering animated discussions about blockchain. The distributed ledger technology that underpins Bitcoin has matured in several areas over the last year, and it’s now at a point where companies are looking to go beyond proof of concepts (PoCs). Because of my […]

Continue reading