Report: Bank of China Joins New Blockchain Platform for Property Buyers

Hong Kong property development firm New World Development and ASTRI will jointly launch a blockchain platform designed to reduce paperwork during mortgage applications.

Property development firm New World Development and the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) will jointly launch a blockchain platform for home buyers with the Bank of China reportedly being the first bank user. The news was announced by local news outlet the Standard on Feb. 20.

The platform reportedly aims to replace paperwork operations — such as signing the Provisional Sale and Purchase Agreement or a mortgage application — with digital authorization. This will supposedly allow users to send the purchaser’s authorized, encrypted and digitally signed provisional agreement to selected banks.

Integration of distributed ledger technology (DLT) into organizations’ internal processes is estimated to help reduce banks’ operating costs by 15 to 60 percent, while the platform itself expects to see an increase in the number of users.

ASTRI CEO Hugh Chow reportedly said that DLT could reshape property market operations, resulting in efficient and flexible property buying procedures, while the HKMA argued that DLT “allows all […] users in the ecosystem to share customer information and transaction histories securely over a distributed data infrastructure, without compromising customer privacy or sensitive business information.”

Last August, Bank of China — one of the four largest state-owned banks in China — partnered with financial services corporation China UnionPay (CUP) to jointly explore blockchain technology applications for payment systems. Within the initiative, CUP was set to build a unified port for mobile integrated financial services, where cardholders will be able to use a QR code to spend, transfer and trade on a cloud flash payment app.

In January, China’s self-regulatory bank organization, the China Banking Association (CBA), announced it will launch a blockchain-based platform to improve efficiency across the sector. The project, formally dubbed the “China Trade Finance Inter-bank Trading Blockchain Platform,” aims to use blockchain to target trade finance, transactions and other financial services.

China has been actively adopting blockchain technology in various sectors. Recently, the country’s government issued the “Guiding Opinions on Rural Service Revitalization of Financial Services.” The new framework aims to use emerging technologies like blockchain to “improve the identification, monitoring, early warning, and disposal levels of agricultural credit risks.”

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Author: Ana Alexandre


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