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Banking with blockchain
Creating a contactless blockchain smartcard with Metro Bank
It’s not often you can claim that what you’re doing is at the forefront of game-changing technology, but our blockchain solutions are attracting attention from across the financial services industry. Blockchain, an advanced, secure, scalable and efficient new technology, promises radical change across a host of industry sectors - not least banking1. Find out how we worked with Metro Bank and SETL to create a contactless payment card that settles transactions instantly and, for the first time, processes fiat currency2 transactions on blockchain.
A Smart way of doing business
We’d been making headway with blockchain for a while, most notably in the development of our Smart Identity platform. Smart ID is a universal ‘digital profile’ powered by blockchain tech. It allows users to create and control all aspects of their online identity within a structured and accessible environment. Those with a Smart ID will have a certified digital account containing all the information and credentials they need for trusted digital interaction.
After developing the solution, our Blockchain team spotted an opportunity to take it out of the lab and into the real world. We’d already been talking to SETL - an initiative to deploy a multi-asset, multi-currency institutional payment and settlements infrastructure based on blockchain technology - and together we approached Metro Bank to create a pilot for contactless payment cards.
In November, we produced a card for a group of 100 people, each loaded with a small amount of money. The group – who had each set up their Deloitte Smart ID – were asked to test the card by performing a series of simple retail transactions (such as buying drinks and snacks) in a controlled but live environment. The payments were processed and settled almost instantly, with both the customer and the merchant’s bank balances being updated in real time. This gave both parties great clarity: the customer can keep an eye on their finances, and the merchant can use the revenue instantly if they want to - all while avoiding traditional payment processor fees.
Blockchain has the potential to transform the financial services industry, dramatically reducing complexity, lowering costs and increasing transparency. As the technology matures, we anticipate increased use of next-generation identity, compliance, payment and settlement platforms due both to the efficiency and edge they can offer today, and the exciting new possibilities digital assets and smart contracts will offer tomorrow.
The success of the interaction between our Smart ID product and SETL’s transaction-processing technology has generated wide interest in the financial services community and beyond. With blockchain technology developing at pace, we are now focused on developing Smart ID for wider adoption.
1 Despite its apparent complexity, a blockchain is really just another type of database for recording transactions – one that’s copied to (and at the same time verified by) all of the computers in a participating network so that events once recorded can be trusted by all, and without the need for an intermediary in charge of data processing.
2 Fiat money is currency that a government has declared to be legal tender.