The Transformative Power of Blockchain in Finance

The Distributed Ledger Technology will Facilitate Further Integration in an Increasingly 'Networked' Economy and Foster Faster and More Secure Credit Flow

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Blockchain has come a long way since it has come into existence a decade ago and started gaining popularity worldwide. Originally designed for cryptocurrencies, the technology has been embraced across several other sectors as an integral part of them. The utility of the technology has been revolutionizing and has already made its way across sectors including banking, finance, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, telecom, automobiles, imports & exports business, and so on.


Blockchain finds its easiest opportunity to demonstrate itself as a transformative technology in Trade Finance. Nilesh Shah, the CEO of Envision Capital has been associated with the finance sector for more than a decade and he sees Blockchain as a "pioneering technology" that will be a boon to the sector. He states, "Technology has played a vital role in the growth of the banking sector in India. The blockchain is a pioneering technology which will facilitate further integration in an increasingly "networked' economy and foster faster and more secure credit flow. Like other technologies, blockchain too could have a slow start but has the potential become universal."

ING Group, the Dutch multinational banking and financial services corporation is also bullish on the technology and the innovations it presents to trade and commodity finance. In a conversation with Entrepreneur India, Mariana Gomez de la Villa, the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) Program Director of ING, shares insights about the prospects of the technology and how ING is planning to implement Blockchain for creating solutions that will empower its clients to transform their business models.

What is in Store for Blockchain for 2019?

Although Blockchain and DLT applications keep getting developed, this year will be a decisive moment for Blockchain mass scale adoption. Gomez de la Villa says, "The ability to tokenize assets on DLT will be a hot topic for the coming year. Creating a digital identifiable representation of the value allows for a faster swap and transfer of ownership of an asset."

Expounding further, she is of the opinion that in order to unlock the full potential of DLT and build an efficient ecosystem, interoperability is an important prospect to look for. As projects get more advanced, it is important to understand the interoperability between different DLT, within the same DLT and also with existing legacy systems would look like.

"The solutions developed on DLT have to be able to communicate amongst each other in a smooth way without any alteration or loss of data. Lastly, privacy is still a nut to be cracked. ING is planning to build upon the zero-knowledge proof series, with ZKRP and ZKSM, and as such bringing privacy on DLT to the next level," she mentions.

Exploring and Building Distributed Ledger Technology

ING is accessing and building DLT solutions with the aim to empower clients transitioning to a distributed economy. As Gomez de la Villa points out ING's journey with this technology involves the investigation of various use cases across the bank as well as experimentation with various types of DLT. Initiatives are conducted via independent projects, in industry groups, with consortia, and through bilateral partnerships.

ING has evolved a lot building DLT-based solutions. Speaking of the highlights of the last year, she specifies the conclusion of one of the first live transactions (legally binding) in the industry via HQLAx, which is the collateral lending solution. "Furthermore, we are building upon our work with zero-knowledge proofs by open-sourcing our Zero-knowledge Set Membership (ZKSM) solution, allowing to verify conditions hiding sensible information. We delivered the first proof-of-concept towards a self-sovereign identity application by allowing users to gain control over their personal data and its access management. We also performed a successful pilot for our project focusing on Euro Commercial Paper application. With the objective of revolutionizing the way we trade commodities, and building upon our efforts of Easy Trading Connect, ING successfully launched the companies of Komgo and Vakt," she concludes.