By Tyler Kirk
On June 21, 2016, some of Europe’s largest financial institutions announced they had entered into a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) under which they would work together to develop a blockchain-based settlement procedure for over the counter (“OTC”) transactions. According to the MOU, several European legislators are concerned that small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) do not have adequate access to capital. The MOU seeks to solve such concerns by bringing together European exchanges and investment banks under a common mandate to reduce the cost for SMEs raising capital in the OTC market. Blockchain may be the solution they are looking for.
Generally, blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger, and its creation established a new class of digital ledgers called, distributed ledger technology (“DLT”). Unlike current financial settlement systems, DLTs are more efficient because all transactions are mathematically provable and do not require a multi-day verification process. DLT protocols use encryption combined with distributed copies of the ledger to replace the need for a third-party to serve as the ledger’s custodian. In short, DLTs create an immutable record of the truth arrived at through distributed consensus.