Blockchain / Distributed Ledger

Regulator Urges Blockchain Transaction Fraud Protection

As more and more financial companies bet on blockchain's technology to innovate financial services, there's one topic of conversation that hasn't been fully addressed: fraud transaction protection.

At least that's what one regulator is pushing for when it comes to investing in blockchain's future. He urged companies and financial institutions that are backing this tech to ensure they are also investing in providing fraud protection for these transactions, similar to how a bank would for a credit card.

“One way to get consumer confidence is that someone has to look after the issue of fraud,” Greg Medcraft told the Financial Times. “At least at the start, exchanges will have to guarantee the customer behind [the trade].”

Medcraft is the chair of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), an association of that regulates the world's securities and futures markets. He pointed to the fact that these measures would be "good for investors and issuers," in order to make them know their funds were safe.

He said IOSCO will hold a meeting next month about blockchain's potential, which he said could include everything "from thinking about setting up working groups to possibly setting global standards." Former JPMC exec Blythe Masters, who is now the CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, will present at the meeting.

This conversation comes at a particularly timely point for the industry as major financial institutions around the world put more stock in the blockchain's potential. In fact, just last week 11 big banks, including Barclays, UBS and HSBC, took another big step toward implementing blockchain's tech.

The banks are testing a system that uses blockchain to make financial trading faster and cheaper. The banks involved are part of a larger group of 42 major lenders who collaborated in 2015 to work with the company R3 on innovating blockchain in ways that can disrupt how the financial markets operate.

Across the financial ecosystem, banks have been exploring ways that blockchain — the decentralized ledger and technology that powers bitcoin transactions — could be used to exchange data, assets and currencies. The real benefit from what the bank’s leaders have expressed is the potential to make their operations more efficient and more transparent.

Also announced last week was the news that Digital Asset Holdings, founded by Masters, had snapped up $50 million in funding in its latest round. The investment opportunity attracted a host of fairly well-known names in financial services, including Citi, Deutsche Börse and Santander InnoVentures.

All in, the round captured some level of investment from 13 firms that run the gamut when it comes to finance functions. Also participating were: ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, JPMorgan Chase and PNC Financial Services Group; exchange operator fund CME Ventures; tech firms Accenture and Broadridge; and ICAP and Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC).

DAH’s founding “mission” is to leverage distributed ledger technology to up the efficiency and drop the cost of functions in the financial services ecosystem, including security, compliance and settlement speed.

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