Microsoft is partnering with Israel’s Bank Hapoalim on a blockchain-based platform to support digital bank guarantees for customers, according to The Times of Israel.
Bank Hapoalim becomes the first Israeli bank to deploy blockchain technology in financial contracts, the lender noted in a statement. The project will simplify and hasten the process of signing up guarantors. Bank customers in need of a bank guarantee typically have to go to a branch, transfer the guarantee to the beneficiary, then return it to the bank in the event the guarantee is not used.
Simplifying Bank Guarantees
Arik Pinto, Bank Hapoalim’s CEO, said in a prepared statement that bank customers will receive security documents in an automated, digital and secure manner and in a short process. The use of blockchain technology will “significantly improve” the customer’s level of trust in the banking system, as well as the customer experience, he said.
Under the partnership, Microsoft will create a new tool using its Azurecloud platform.
Bank Hapoalim is also working with the Bank of Israel and other parties to update regulatory requirements in order to allow the use of new technology.
Shelly Landsmann, CEO of Microsoft Israel, said the partnership marks the first such collaboration in the country’s banking sector to enable a digital revolution and to combine business and technology needs and to enable access to advanced services.
Azure Finds New Applications
Microsoft, according to Landsmann, is supporting numerous blockchain technologies to support the deployment of various types of networks, depending on the business needs and the system, on the Azure cloud platform.
Microsoft launched its Azure blockchain service in India late last year, allowing Azure customers to tap Microsoft’s blockchain partners’ solutions with a single click deployment. The availability of Azure from local, hyper-scale data centers in India will enable blockchain adoption in regulated sectors such as financial services, insurance and health care, as well as governments.
In 2015, Microsoft announced a partnership with ConsenSys, an Ethereum coder collective, to offer a blockchain-as-an-enterprise solution for Azure customers. That partnership allows enterprise users on Azure to access Ethereum Blockchain-as-a-Service (E BaaS).