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New SoftBank system puts consumer data on the blockchain

Tech giant aims to give lenders reliable data on borrowers

TOKYO -- SoftBank Group has developed a system for managing personal financial information using blockchain, the technology underpinning such cryptocurrencies as bitcoin.

The system will give financial institutions access to rent payment histories and property information from Tokyo-based Insite. Lenders can use this information -- spanning some 170,000 records per month -- to help determine a potential borrower's ability to pay, simplifying a time-consuming process that usually requires confirming such information as the applicant's income and bank account details.

Personal data is usually stored on a single server or on the cloud, opening it up to the risk of tampering. But a blockchain is distributed across multiple computers that verify each other's records, making data tougher to falsify.

The system was developed by subsidiary SoftBank Technology and Sivira, an Osaka-based startup developing applications for blockchain. The system infrastructure will be managed by SoftBank Technology, which will handle any problems that may arise.

SoftBank aims to put the system on the market as early as 2019. It hopes to win orders from 30 to 50 businesses, such as big banks and consumer finance companies, by 2020.


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