​SWIFT and SLIB trial distributed ledger voting

SLIB vice general manager expects 'something' to be in production next year.

Financial messaging service SWIFT teamed up with voting solutions provider SLIB earlier this year to develop a proof of concept using distributed ledger technology (DLT) for voting.

Walking through a demonstration of the trial at Sibos in Sydney last week, SWIFT DLT product manager Tom Poppe and SLIB vice general manager Philippe Juanola said they joined forces to demonstrate how SWIFT infrastructure and third-party interfaces allows for new blockchain-based innovations.

The trial didn't cover all aspects of voting, just the general assembly notifications and votes casting elements, with Poppe saying the narrow scope gave both parties room to experiment.

"eVoting is a good use case cause ... it's a lot about sharing data, being sure about the shared data," Poppe explained.

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The eVoting solution was developed by SLIB and hosted on a SWIFT sandbox, with the former acting as a DLT-based service provider.

The DLT sandbox allows SWIFT to control access, to define and enforce user privileges, to physically segregate confidential data, and store it only with the relevant parties.

"We have built a hyperledger fabric network with a number of nodes and the channel that connects the nodes," Poppe said. "Every node represents a specific organisation, so in this case we had one node for the issuer of an equity, two nodes to vote for shareholders, and one node that is owned by SWIFT. "

The node owned by SWIFT essentially acts as a bridge between DLT networks and SWIFT's messaging service.

"One node gets notified that there is a certain action happening on the ledger and it's automatically translated into an ISO20022 message that is sent to the counterpart that wants to receive it -- this will be counterparts who at that moment have not yet got the appetite to be a part of the DLT-based solution," Poppe continued.

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"This proof of concept would be expanded to new functionalities, especially to be able to receive more information in real-time from SWIFT; and second we are going to expand the system to support new features."

"As a provider of a voting system, for sure, I can tell you that something from that will be in production next year," Juanola added.

The proof of concept is one of the first conducted by SWIFT as it looks to become the "marketplace" for DLT-based solutions in the financial services sector.

SWIFT earlier this year completed a proof of concept using DLT for Nostro reconciliation.

The trial, also powered by Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, saw 34 banks take a node deployed in the SWIFT DLT sandbox.

"The PoC showed that DLT could deliver the business functionalities and data richness required to support automated real-time liquidity monitoring and reconciliation," SWIFT said at the time. "It enabled real-time event handling, transaction status updates, full audit trails, visibility of expected and available balances, real-time simplified account entries confirmation, the identification of pending entries and potential related issues, and generated the data required to support regulatory reporting."

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