Pioneering with blockchain
With help from IBM, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa used IBM Blockchain technology to create a functional pilot project for the retail banking organization and its divisions. Crédit Mutuel Arkéa took advantage of IBM Design Thinking methodologies and the IBM Studio in Paris to outline the strategic imperatives of the project and create use cases. An IBM® Global Business Services® team contributed industry insight and conducted a feasibility study on the business impact of the prototype project and the potential for extending the prototype to other use cases.
The bank used IBM Bluemix® cloud infrastructure to develop the blockchain project. The Bluemix platform gives developers access to IBM Blockchain services and IBM DevOps Services on Bluemix for creating, deploying, running and monitoring blockchain applications on the IBM Cloud.
After developing the application, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa imported anonymous customer data into the blockchain using the middle layer of the application. This successful import demonstrated that the bank could easily integrate the blockchain with its other systems. The blockchain could, for example, provide an audit trail for each document in the bank’s existing CRM system and begin to track each document as soon as the bank receives it.
“Blockchain is a transformative agent in our operational application, as proven by this project, the first of its kind in France,” says Frédéric Laurent, the chief operating officer of innovation and operations for Crédit Mutuel Arkéa. “This pilot offers a complete view of customers’ documents across our distributed network. The project helped us to understand and master blockchain for other client uses. Now, we are ready to incorporate this technology in our ecosystem.”
Building systems of trust
The project at Crédit Mutuel Arkéa has demonstrated the enormous potential of IBM Blockchain technology. When it had separate systems for each part of the business, the bank was duplicating effort and data. By creating a permissioned blockchain that collectively defines membership and data access rights, the bank can gather the KYC information once and then share it across divisions, significantly simplifying internal administrative KYC documentation processes. The blockchain platform also improves the customer experience by freeing people from having to repeatedly produce the same documentation when interacting with different parts of the group.
“The project helped us to understand and master blockchain for other customer uses,” says Laurent. The bank envisions other innovative ways to use the IBM Blockchain platform. “We are looking into ways to use the blockchain as a system of trust that would let customers deliver proof of identity to third parties, such as utility companies, retailers or service providers. The potential of this solution is just staggering,” says Laurent.