Blockchain may be cryptocurrency’s foundation, but that is not the only use case for the technology. Businesses in a variety of industries are discovering new, creative ways to harness blockchain’s powers. Financial markets, in particular, can leverage blockchain’s speed and security to transform daily processes, minimize errors, reduce costs, and produce enhanced experiences for their clients.
Here are three key areas where blockchain can fundamentally alter how business is done in financial markets.
Clearing and Settlement
Clearing and settlement is fundamental to financial markets. Unfortunately, the processes are historically mired in siloed data, general inefficiencies, and frequent inconsistency – byproducts of manual workflows and thorough regulation. The resulting bottlenecks delay settlement and increase costs, especially in multi-party transactions.
Blockchain, on the other hand, facilitates expedient, real-time transactions, condensing settlement time from days to minutes. Better speeds result in cost-savings, and the technology’s immutable ledger means transparency, maintaining trust between participants, reducing risk, and allowing for end-to-end auditing throughout all stages of a transaction.
Know Your Customer
Financial institutions and their customers place a premium on security – especially identity protections. Doing so at scale often means using multiple customer identification management systems, creating additional layers of complexity for employees and clientele. Identity validation quickly turns arduous, increasing the likelihood that customers will endure a compromised user experience.
Blockchain consolidates and stores all client identification documents in a decentralized way, providing valuable peace of mind to all parties concerned. Consumers can prove their identities through a thorough, initial verification process with their bank – upon approval, they can choose to share that information with the appropriate parties, case-by-case. Companies can enjoy significant cost savings as they cut down on administrative work while reaping the benefits of a satisfied customer.
Investing in private companies means performing due diligence – and working with a lot of paper. That can mean long, manual processes on the investor side, creating inevitable delays as discrepancies are settled and details are confirmed for transactions like loans, or changes in share ownership. Small and medium enterprise businesses deal with their own roadblocks, often struggling to access credit or to place themselves within mature, secure investment environments that allow them to raise additional funding.
Blockchain opens new trading and investing opportunities by simplifying the tracking and management of securities information. Small and medium enterprise businesses can digitize issuance of private securities, allowing wider access to investors, giving companies better access to credit, and providing financial information securely and transparently to each party involved.
The financial sector is embracing blockchain’s transformative potential as they streamline daily processes, minimize errors, reduce costs, and enhance their clients’ experiences. Businesses and clients alike are enjoying the benefits. And with new, creative solutions regularly being invented, the revolution is just beginning.
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