A look back at the creation of the Blockchain Association for Finance

The main role is to define the future of independent wealth managers when it comes to digital onboarding.

In recent years, blockchain technology has been touted as the next big thing after the creation of the internet. While cryptocurrency prices fluctuate, the underlying technology remains and has evolved. Businesses now have the potential to transform well-established processes securely and efficiently.

Blockchain technology in a nutshell

When you hear the word blockchain, you might wonder what it actually means and what it allows businesses to do. Simply put, blockchain is a technology that stores information in encrypted parts (the blocks) that are linked together (the chain) and distributed among network participants. By doing so, there is no need for a central repository or trusted third party to verify this information. Thus, data theft and modification are avoided. The information can take different forms, such as cryptocurrencies, medical records, contracts or identification data.

In light of the security advantages of the blockchain, the financial sector is studying this technology with multiple fields of application, in particular the tokenization of illiquid or non-financial assets (allowing for example to exchange fractions of a collection of vintage cars like traditional stocks) or Trade Finance (replacing a manual paper-based process with an efficient electronic exchange of information between participants).

evolution of the ecosystem in Switzerland

Over the years, the Swiss blockchain environment has developed not only technologically and legally, but also in terms of ecosystems. With the formation of consortia composed of software publishers and industry players, the goal is to accelerate the adoption of this technology.

In 2021, a consortium of private banks and independent wealth managers (IFMs) came together to work on market standards and founded the Blockchain Association for Finance (BAF). The BAF intends to bring together the various players in the market, to define processes and tools allowing the secure and efficient exploitation of distributed ledger technology. One of BAF’s objectives is to align the interests of IFMs and custodian banks in the light of increased regulation, knowing that the digitization of business processes is a trend that will continue to expand in the years to come. .

Concretely, it provides general governance and management rules for users of the Wecan Comply platform, which was built to allow deposit banks and IFMs to exchange information on the blockchain during the onboarding process. Thanks to this structured and fully digital approach, platform users can reduce costs and save time in dealing with their compliance obligations.

In one year, BAF has grown from a few founding members to 13 leading private banks, including Lombard Odier, Edmond de Rothschild, Julius Baer and Pictet, alongside 80 IFMs such as Swisspartners, Prime Partners and Pléion. In order to support its future growth, its Board of Directors was recently reinforced and now includes 7 members: Michael Chaille, President (Alpha FMC), Cédric Haenni, Treasurer (Pictet), Benoit Barbereau (Edmond de Rothschild), Sébastien Capt ( Prime Partners), Laurent Pellet (Lombard Odier), Pascal Schmohl (swisspartners) and Michel Yigit (Julius Baer).

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A look back at the creation of the Blockchain Association for Finance

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