Deutsche Bank backs blockchain potential

Deutsche Bank backs blockchain potential

Deutsche Bank is the latest major financial institution to laud the potential of the blockchain, confirming that it is exploring the use of distributed ledger technology for everything from securities clearing and settlement to anti-money laundering registries.

Responding to a European Securities and Markets Authority (Esma) call for evidence on virtual currency and the distributed ledger, the German giant strikes a positive note.

"Whilst the technology associated with distributed ledgers is still in its infancy (albeit evolving very quickly) we believe that it presents a potential opportunity to realise a number of important benefits including: more stable and resilient systems, faster processing of transactions and lower costs for bank customers," writes Daniel Trinder, the bank's global head of regulatory policy.

Deutsche is in the process of building three innovation labs in Berlin, London and Silicon Valley, as part of a EUR1 billion spend on digital initiatives over the next five years. As part of this, commercial applications of the distributed ledger has become an early area of focus.

So far, a host of blockchain opportunities have been identified, including fiat currency payment and settlement; securities issuance and transfer and clearing and settlement; securities asset servicing; the enforcement and clearing of derivatives contracts; KYC and AML registries and surveillance; and asset registries.

The bank does flag the potential risks involved, calling for "ongoing dialogue" between industry and regulators, but warns against a "precipitous move" to regulate that could stifle innovation.

In total, Esma received 18 responses, including from Intesa Sanpaolo, Euroclear, Swift and CME Group. You can read them all here.

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