Nowadays, there is a real blockchain boom all over the world. Until recently, the word “blockchain” was associated only with a cryptocurrency. Every day there are more and more companies, startups and other industries join this technology. As a whole, blockchain technology is created for decentralized, public storage and processing of records. Such technology is steadily developing, expanding the boundaries of its application. The active use of a blockchain in the cryptocurrency sphere revealed successes and problems of this technology. It is well known that the banking sector today is striving to become more innovative, as it should meet the expectations of modern customers who want to have quick and easy access to services and transactions. This is why banks have become increasingly interested in new technology. Forty-five of the world’s largest banks joined the consortium in 2015 and created the company R3, which is working on the application of blockchain technology in the financial sector. The main idea of using blockchain technology in the banking system is to decentralize markets, it means to eliminate any centralized hubs and mediators by registering, confirming and transferring any type of contracts in the accounting system. This system can be used for drawing up and accounting debt receipts, loans, deposits, various agreements, and so on.
The main scope of the blockchain in the banking sector:
- Conducting fast and cheap transfers. This is especially important for cross-border transfers and micropayments, where the bank commission may be comparable to the transfer amount.
- Ability to automate processes and quickly process operations. This reduces costs and the number of employees.
- Ensuring fair transactions. It is impossible to make changes retroactively and falsify reports. It will make all operations transparent.
Experts estimate that banks can save a lot of money due to the introduction of the blockchain. So blockchain technology provides people around the world with access to fast, cheap and unrestricted payments.
The most famous cases of the blockchain implementation in banking
The Spanish bank Banco Santander was the first to create a payment service based on blockchain technology for international transfers from European countries to South America (press release was issued in March 2018). The Bank made a big statement in November, when together with American Express, it tested a Ripple-based international payment system. Funds of American Express customers making payments to the accounts of the British division of Santander Bank via the FX International Payment network were transferred via the Ripple blockchain. The result was almost instant verification and confirmation of transactions. Compared to alternative solutions, this was a significant step forward.
HSBC Bank tested the ability to process transactions through a new Internet banking platform, and it turned out that the blockchain increased productivity by 10 times (the transaction was verified and closed in 24 hours instead of 240, as before). HSBC showed its interest in the blockchain in February 2018. In May, HSBC and ING Bank issued a letter of credit through the R3 Corda blockchain platform to transport cargo from Argentina to Malaysia. Thus, for the first time in history, instead of a transport document, a blockchain was used to transmit the data.
JPMorgan Chase Bank offered its clients an innovation – a certificate of deposit, the interest rate of which depends on the blockchain. To speed up transactions between banks, financial giant JPMorgan has developed the Interbank Information Network (IIN) system, which is based on the unique Chase blockchain technology. More than 300 banks have already joined the banking blockchain network INN which was made on the model of Ethereum.
The use of blockchain technology has led to the automation of many processes that the banking sector cannot do without. Financial organizations act as intermediaries between investors, borrowers, and just users of banking services. Blockchain payments can further change the industry by allowing parties to make transactions directly. A methodical and consistent approach combined with a clear vision will allow the banking sector to obtain an efficient, secure and cost-effective operating model that may significantly increase profitability, savings and gain a competitive advantage in the long term.