Northern Trust, one of the few financial firms in the world to have a implemented a live distributed ledger application, has applied for two new blockchain-related patents in digital identity and meeting management.
The US-based custodian engaged with IBM last year on the commercial deployment of blockchain technology for the private equity market, with the aim of addressing efficiency, security and transparency failings in the administration of traditional private equity funds.
In March it added an audit node on its distributed ledger in Guernsey, to provide firms with access to a 'golden copy', or immutable master record, of the fund’s data from their own offices.
Justin Chapman, global head of market advocacy & innovation research at Northern Trust, says: “We have developed a number of blockchain innovations that may be applied to multiple business activities and product offerings, with private equity fund administration being only one example of many potential use cases. Our solutions are designed with the intention of increasing value for our clients by promoting asset safety, reducing transactional friction, increasing transparency and driving efficiency in the investment lifecycle.”
The new patent applications, submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), address systems and methods for digital identity management and permission controls and for generating and maintaining immutable digital meeting records within distributed network nodes
“It is really exciting for a custodian to be leading the way with technology innovation,” says Pete Cherecwich, president of corporate & institutional services at Northern Trust. “Researching and identifying new ways to leverage emerging technologies to deliver new and innovative solutions to our clients is critical to our collective success. Blockchain technology in particular has the potential to drive major industry-wide improvements and could significantly change how financial transactions are conducted.”