Recently, finance companies have been discussing how they can utilize the blockchain for their businesses.
As JPMorgan Chase & Co. tests out their own private blockchain on Ethereum and multiple banks suss out Ethereum’s possible use-cases, the financial industry is hoping this new technology can move them into the next chapter of innovative services.
Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., an American business services company, started testing an open-source Ethereum blockchain for offering its proprietary corporate data to business customers. By utilizing the Ethereum, they plan to launch a service for vetting partners and conducting transactions in trade finance. Companies buying, selling and shipping products to each other today typically exchange paper documents for items such as loans and bills of lading (detailed list of shipment goods). With the Ethereum blockchain, Dun & Bradstreet would be able to confirm trade finance transactions better than those typical methods used by the banks, shippers, suppliers, etc.
Saleem Khan, Vice President of Data Innovation at Dun & Bradstreet told the WSJ:
A version of this “financial supply chain” running on a blockchain ledger would allow trading partners to confirm their identities and the terms of contracts through secure, immutable digital records stored on Dun & Bradstreet’s blockchain.
In reference to JPMorgan Chase & Co. testing their own blockchain systems, Kahn also states, “We want to make sure our content is available in this way.”
Dun & Bradstreet provides corporate and financial data about public and private companies, storing 250 million business records in its databases, with information obtained from 30,000 sources.
A pilot system with a subset of data about 6,500 public companies is accessible now to customers. The blockchain system matches DUNS numbers – the proprietary code Dun & Bradstreet assigns companies it covers – to unique blockchain identifier code created for each company. In a trade finance deal, for example, a company could verify “instantaneously” information about a potential partner, including legal name, address and whether there are liens, lawsuits or judgments against it.
A possible future use of the system could include advisory services where Dun & Bradstreet suggest compatible trading partners for a customer based on analyzing data culled from the blockchain ledger about how the organizations do business. Dun & Bradstreet would charge a fee for such “propensity modeling.”
Since this is a testing phase, Khan did not give a timeline or date for the formal launch of this new blockchain system.