Which control principles are essential for blockchain adoption on a global scale?
Since its mention by Satoshi Nakamoto in the 2008 white paper ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’, blockchain technology, also called Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), has attracted significant attention among the global financial services community. Researchers and investors are increasingly interested in the transformative and disruptive ability of this technology to:
- Facilitate an exchange of value
- Enable the safe storage of value
- Achieve operational efficiencies
- Secure cost savings
- Increase industry transparency
- Enhance customer experiences
In this paper, we consider three macro factors which we consider essential to the widespread adoption of private DLTs within the financial community in the long term. These macro factors are:
- Legal and Regulation
Although this paper discusses each factor in isolation, financial institutions should view all three as interdependent and complementary when considering DLT adoption.
When introducing DLT into the enterprise, it is essential that the DLT system is capable of integrating and interoperating with other systems, including other blockchain solutions or technologies. Even within individual DLT implementations, the blockchain component is likely to be a single part of a larger whole, with additional data stores, messaging systems, interfaces and touch points to both internal and external systems. Institutions therefore need to ensure that all systems are capable of interconnecting and communicating with one another.
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Posted in Deloitte, Report Tagged with: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, DLT, ERC20, Financial Services, Peer-to-Peer, PKI, Smart Contract
We are committed to fostering innovation that advances our objectives. Innovation can arise from diverse sources, such as start-ups, technology providers as well as regulated firms, including large financial institutions. They all have the potential to challenge existing business models, products and methodologies to benefit consumers and markets as a whole.
New technology plays a fundamental and increasingly pivotal role in delivering innovative products and services. These new products and services can improve on those currently available, offering consumers easier access to, and better, financial services. Equally, some products may not be suitable for certain consumers. Our objectives as a regulator mean that we need to strike a balance between supporting innovation and ensuring consumers are adequately protected.
Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is an example of rapidly developing technology which offers exciting potential to support the needs of consumers and the market. DLT may also present new challenges and potential risks. For example, how regulated firms allocate responsibilities for systems shared among them.
We generally take a ‘technology neutral’ approach to regulating financial services and are interested in considering whether there is anything distinctive about DLT which would require us to take a different approach.
We use this Discussion Paper (DP) to start a dialogue on the potential for future development of DLT in the markets we regulate. We are particularly interested to explore where the balance of risk and opportunities may lie in relation to DLT. Following this DP, we look forward to further engagement through public events, supervisory work and the various channels we have to interact with the Fintech industry.
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Posted in Blockchain, Fintech, Report Tagged with: Digital currencies, DLT, Financial Conduct Authority, Smart Contract
How can blockchain and smart contracts benefit securitization?
We will explore in detail how potential benefits could play out at the different stages of the securitization lifecycle, but for now, here are some common themes to keep in mind:
One version of the truth. Blockchain enables a single, consistent source of information for all participants in the network. In an industry that currently faces inefficiencies around the storage, reconciliation, transfer, and transparency of data across multiple independent entities, this feature could be highly beneficial.
A complete, immutable, and traceable audit trail. From loan origination to primary issuance, servicing, and changes in ownership in the secondary market, blockchain can create a chronological and immutable audit trail of all transactions. With this capability, regulators and auditors could finally get a systemic view of the ownership of the underlying securitized assets. An issue that troubled the industry during the global financial crisis—determining who owned the title to some underlying assets—could be more easily resolved.
Better valuation and price discovery. The transparency facilitated by blockchain could reduce the information asymmetry and network disadvantages that some entities, especially smaller ones, currently face in the securitization industry. The resulting market efficiency could raise the investment appeal of securitized assets and deepen the potential pool of investors.
Speed and certainty. Blockchain, through its disintermediation and simultaneous recording of information across the system, can virtually eliminate time lags in information and payment flows throughout the securitization process, including in the secondary market. This increase in speed and certainty could significantly reduce counterparty risk, release capital, and reduce the return thresholds that investors demand.
Security. Blockchain’s capacity to increase the security of transactions and data, and mitigate fraud could be appealing to the securitization industry, where integrity of data is paramount. Blockchain’s immutable audit trail, for example, could permit every asset (and every transaction involving that asset) to be linked to a particular security, facilitating asset perfection and eliminating the risk of double-pledging assets.
The combined impact of all the above advantages—greater efficiency, speed, transparency, and safety for data and transactions—could lower risks in the securitization market as a whole and lead to greater investor interest. This in turn could improve prices, volume, and spreads. With better and more transparent information, regulatory compliance could also be simplified and market failures could become less likely.
With these general points in mind, we will now take a more detailed look at the specific places where blockchain could impact the securitization process, ranging from loan origination and loan servicing through the structuring, review, and initial sale of the security, to the servicing of the security, ongoing ratings monitoring, and secondary market trading. At each stage, we will look at some inefficiencies in the current process, then explore how blockchain is likely to change how the industry handles certain questions around its core functions and obligations, including data recording and dissemination, transaction execution, receiving and making payments, and regulatory compliance.
We will also look at why, despite the likely advantages, implementing a blockchain in the securitization industry may be challenging. We will conclude with a vision of a possible future state and with ideas about possible next steps.
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Posted in Blockchain, Fintech, Report, Technology Tagged with: Blockchain, Chamber of Digital Commerce, Deloitte, DLT, SFIG, Smart Contract