Microsoft’s Blockchain Experiments Expand to Digital Bank Guarantees

September 7, 2017, 11:35 AM UTC

Microsoft (MSFT) is working with Israel’s Bank Hapoalim on a system that uses blockchain technology to manage digital bank guarantees.

Bank guarantees are essential in sectors such as real estate, where they represent security for tenants’ leases, or where companies need to demonstrate that they can pay for expensive goods.

However, bank guarantees can get mislaid, and some find the process of handling them to be too laborious and slow. Which is why technology companies are now promising a solution in the blockchain—the same sort of shared-ledger technology that underpins bitcoin.

IBM (IBM) has already got in on this game in Australia, working with the banks ANZ and Westpac, and shopping center firm Scentre Group, on a recent trial that they claimed to be a success.

Now it’s Microsoft’s turn. On Wednesday, it announced a collaboration with Hapoalim to use the blockchain to simplify the process of signing up guarantors.

“The new process will enable Bank Hapoalim customers to receive security documents in a digital, automated and secure manner, without physically coming to the branch and in a very short process,” said Hapoalim CEO Arik Pinto in a statement given to The Times of Israel

Naturally, the system will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform, as did Microsoft’s recent proof-of-concept trial with shipping giant Maersk (using the blockchain for sharing marine insurance data), its collaboration with Accenture (using it for an ID system that could register refugees), and its work with Bank of America (where blockchain technology was tested for logging financial transactions).