17.01.2021

Deutsche Boerse, Swisscom Settle Securities with Corda and Hyperledger

Based on blockchain technology, the joint PoC intends to show the potential of new technologies in the financial services sector and maintain Germany and Switzerland’s expertise in the digital asset ecosystem.

German securities marketplace Deutsche Boerse and Swiss state-run telecom Swisscom have settled securities transactions using different blockchain protocols. In a joint proof-of-concept (PoC) involving a number of banks, the participants exchanged money in the form of cash tokens against tokenized shares, Deutsche Börse officially announced on Nov. 19.

Three major Swiss banks participated in the PoC

The PoC involved major Swiss banks, including the fourth-largest Swiss bank Zuercher Kantonalbank, investment bank Vontobel and Falcon Private Bank. These banks were acting as counterparties and exchanged securities tokens against cash tokens, the press release notes.

The central bank of Switzerland, the Swiss National Bank, also indirectly participated in the PoC as the cash tokens were deposited as collateral in Eurex Clearing’s account in the bank. The cash tokens in Swiss francs were provided by Deutsche Boerse.

Corda and Hyperledger were used for cross-chain secure settlement

In order to process cash and security tokens, the participants were deploying two different distributed ledger technology (DLT) protocols – R3’s Corda and IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric – to complete cross-chain secure settlement.

Other participants of the PoC included Swiss blockchain firm daura and Custodigit, a joint custodial venture by Swisscom and Sygnum. The firms provided core elements of the digital share registry for the PoC, Deutsche Börse noted.

The new initiative by Deutsche Borse and Swisscom is another milestone in the existing blockchain-related collaboration of the companies. Earlier this year, Deutsche Borse Group and Swisscom partnered with Singapore-based fintech firm Sygnum to develop compliant financial market infrastructure for digital assets.

Deloitte Rolls Out Demonstrational Blockchain Platform

Big Four audit and consulting firm Deloitte has rolled out a blockchain-based platform designed to provide users with blockchain demonstrations and experimentations.

In a press release published on Aug. 19, Deloitte revealed the launch of the Blockchain in a Box (BIAB) platform, which the company built based on customer interest in understanding blockchain capabilities in real world use cases.

Demonstrational platform for prototypes

Deloitte described the new platform as: “a mobile, self-contained technology platform capable of hosting blockchain-based solutions across four small-form-factor compute nodes and three video displays, as well as networking components that enable integration with external services, such as traditional cloud technologies.” Commenting on the product launch, the United States blockchain leader at Deloitte, Linda Pawczuk, said:

“What’s often misunderstood about blockchain is that it is an entirety of a technology solution – when in reality, it’s a technology component that enables larger business applications and approaches. Our mobile demonstration is practical, tactical and most importantly, tangible to clients.”

Recently, Deloitte, Fidelity and Amazon, along with other 20 firms, began supporting a new blockchain accelerator program called Startup Studio. The program will provide workshops to blockchain startups to help them enhance a variety of skills, including product design, law and engineering, smart contract development, and finance and hiring, among others.

In May, Cointelegraph reported that three Irish banks partnered with Deloitte to start using a staff data solution based on blockchain technology. Deloitte developed the Ethereum-based tool using its dedicated EMEA Blockchain Lab.

Deloitte Adds Privacy Tech to Its Education-Credentials Blockchain

Professional services giant Deloitte has added zero-knowledge proof privacy tech to its enterprise blockchain offering.

Announced Tuesday at the ZKProof Community Event in Amsterdam, Deloitte has teamed up with Israeli zero-knowledge proof experts QEDIT, to help users control how a blockchain shares data about the certificates and qualifications they have earned.

Deloitte’s Eduscrypt platform allows organizations to track, share and validate qualifications, using a private, permissioned version of ethereum. But there are instances where it is critically important to have control over what is shared, and with whom. This could be the case in Europe where the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) forbids information about individuals being shared willy-nilly.

One way around this is by avoiding putting data on a blockchain at all and instead replacing it with proofs about that data. This is what zero-knowledge proof technology does: one party (the prover) can prove to another party (the verifier) that they know some secret information, without conveying anything at all about the information.

“You can have a person prove their credentials and reveal them to the right people and fully retain control of who gets to learn what, and still have that in a notarised blockchain with all the security that it provides,” said Jonathan Rouach, co-founder and CEO at QEDIT.

Antonio Senatore, chief technology officer of Deloitte’s EMEA Blockchain Lab, said that validating, managing and recording the education qualifications of staff and prospective hires can be a very onerous and costly process for most organizations, with regulatory fines for non-compliance.

“Integrating QEDIT’s Zero-Knowledge Proof privacy solution ensures that organizations can trust in the authenticity of qualifications, while preserving the full privacy of the underlying data, and upholding regulatory compliance,” he said in a statement.

Need-to-know basis

As well as complying with GDPR, Rouach pointed to particular instances where ZKP would be helpful, such as an individual who has switched careers might want to be selective in what information can be shared about them.

“For example, a person is going to prove that they have a security certification from some IT school, but then they also learned statistics for gamblers. So when they go to apply to a bank, they would like to show that they are proficient in security but not anything else they might have acquired in their education,” Rouach said.

The event in Amsterdam, billed as Europe’s first dedicated zero-knowledge event, is being organized by QEDIT and Deloitte and taking place in the latter’s offices. Also appearing are the likes of ING Bank and Facebook’s Calibra.

The goal is to bring the ZKP community together with industries looking to use the technology and drive standards.

“ZKPs are moving fast and companies that want to deploy it don’t have experts to say what are the most mature and trusted implementations,” Rouach said.

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