Enterprise Blockchain Solutions for Financial Services: Techniques and Challenges
Ziyuan Wang, Donghai Liu and Yang Xiang (Swinburne University of Technology, Australia)
The fundamental of the financial services industry is to facilitate trusted transactions of value between multiple untrusted parties. Lately many financial institutions are considering using blockchain to enable more efficient cross-organizational collaboration in a distributed fashion, by eliminating costly intermediaries, manual processes, and error-prone actions.
Based on our industrial experience with Tier 1 banking and insurance clients, in this tutorial, we will provide an overview and hands-on knowledge sharing of enterprise blockchain solutions including shared KYC (Know Your Customer), bank guarantee, trade finance, and real-time insurance. We will demonstrate state-of-the-art techniques, highlight challenges, emerging trends, and share key lessons learned. In addition, we will provide overview in several popular blockchain platforms, and explain how they are applicable in developing enterprise-grade solutions for the financial services industry.
Keywords: blockchain, financial services, KYC, trade finance
Blockchain technology is a natural fit for use in the finance services business as it can alleviate the pain points, particularly in cross-border payments, removal of manual processes and intermediaries, and acceleration in trade finance in a large geographic context. Due to the transparency and tamper- resistance nature of blockchain smart contracts, further benefits are realized through post-trade settlement and State/Federal regulatory reporting. According to a McKinsey report , approximately 90% of major financial institutions across Australia, Europe and North America have been experimenting and exploring the use of blockchain. However, the finance services industry is not yet ready to implement blockchain due to the limited availability of standards, technology maturity and ecosystem adoption.
In order to help accelerate the adoption of blockchain in the finance industry, this tutorial is a crucial step in demonstrating how various foundational building blocks can be aggregated through a series of design choices, to make the use of blockchain commercially viable. Specifically, through the tutorial, we will explore how to select the right blockchain platform, trust model, consensus protocol, and governance model. This will enable the use of blockchain more appealing to the finance industry and lay out a pathway for faster adoption. To support our case, we will be demonstrating representative practical examples where blockchain has already been applied in Tier 1 financial institutions with positive results.
This tutorial intends to serve as a valuable reference to a large audience including systems architects, blockchain practitioners, developers, and researchers. It can also be used as a roadmap for graduate students and academics, who are starting to research in the field of blockchain. The tutorial is also accessible by financial services industry participants, who have commenced exploring the use of blockchain in their domain. We expect the attendees to have at least the basic knowledge about databases, and core techniques behind blockchain.
Content and schedule
The tutorial length is 1.5 hours, and will cover:
- Briefly introduce blockchain and the core techniques, including asymmetric encryption, hash functions, and digital signature (20m)
- Overview of the current status of financial services and specific solutions to lay out how financial services organizations can leverage blockchain to alleviate its challenges. Highlight several popular blockchain platforms, which are fit for the financial services industry (40m)
- Enterprise Applications: Shared KYC, Trade Finance, Bank Guarantee, Commercial Insurance 
- Platforms for Enterprise Solutions: Hyperledger Fabric, R3 Corda, and Ripple
- Cover the key lessons we learnt in practice (30m)
- Challenges related to moving from proof-of-concepts (PoCs) to production 
- Business models to accelerate the adoption and deployment of enterprise blockchain solutions
Dr. Ziyuan Wang is a Senior Research Fellow at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. Before joining Swinburne, she was a Research Scientist at IBM Research-Australia (2012-2018). Her recent work focuses on blockchain research and solutions across industries, including banking, insurance, and supply chain. She has published conference papers on the topic of blockchain, stream computing, and spatio-temporal data analytics. She has co-authored several patents, in the areas of Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and blockchain. Ziyuan has extensive teaching experience on the blockchain topics, such as guest lectures to universities, client education workshops, and executive training sessions. Prior to working in the exciting field of Blockchain technologies, Dr. Wang worked for CSIRO (2010-2012), where she was involved in environmental modeling, remote sensing data management, and scientific workflows. She holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Melbourne, specializing in Intelligent Transportation Systems.
Dr. Donghai Liu holds a PhD in Computer Science from Deakin University and currently is a Senior Research Fellow in Blockchain Innovation Lab, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. Before joining Swinburne, he has been working in the finance industry for 20 years, as a senior manager in China Construction bank and Chief Technology Officer in a leading P2P lending company. He has extensive experience in developing traditional and innovative financing platform, such as non-cash cross-board payment, crowd- funding platform, P2P lending, and risk management. His current work focusses on developing decentralized application system based on blockchain to transform traditional finance industry and working with industry partners on innovation system architecture for delivering future finance service.
Prof. Yang Xiang received his PhD in Computer Science from Deakin University, Australia. He is the Dean of Digital Research & Innovation Capability Platform, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. His research interests include cyber security, which covers network and system security, data analytics, distributed systems, and networking. In particular, he is currently leading his team developing active defense systems against large-scale distributed network attacks. He is the Chief Investigator of several projects in network and system security, funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC). He has published more than 200 research papers in many international journals and conferences, such as IEEE Transactions on Computers, IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on Information Security and Forensics, and IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications.
The tutorial is jointly prepared by the authors and will be presented by Dr. Wang.
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