The Blockchain space has seen a lot of interest in the past few years as cryptocurrencies have seen hefty profits. But most of this hype has focused on the financial aspects of cryptocurrencies while completely overlooking other uses of Blockchain Technology like storage of sensitive information. The Polish Credit Office Biuro Informacji Kredytowej (BIK) has partnered with the blockchain platform Billon to use blockchains to store data on the credit history of bank clients, credit unions, etc. from the entire credit market in Poland. Let’s take a look at how blockchains benefit data records and how the move by BIK complies with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
What is GDPR and What Does It Mean For Private Information?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It addresses the export of personal data outside the EU. GDPR is the first of its kind in the world concerning data protection. Failure to comply with GDPR will result in hefty fines for corporations which can go up to $23 million. Essentially, it means that individuals will have greater control over their data. The critical points of GDPR include:
The Right of Access – All companies must provide details on what personal data is being used and how it is being used if an individual requests for the usage of their data.
Right to be Forgotten – all companies must delete an individual’s data upon request
Right to Data Portability – Individuals can request companies to transfer their data to another company
Clearly, this puts a lot of burden on companies to upgrade their existing infrastructure and significantly benefits the people of EU. Blockchains can be very useful in this pursuit as they provide very efficient means of protecting and transmitting data over the internet. That is precisely why the Polish Credit Office BIK is looking at Blockchains to help upgrade their systems and provide their users with a more secure environment.
The Scope of The Partnership
The credit office Biuro Informacji Kredytowej is owned by the largest Polish banks including Pekao, ING, mBank, Santander and Citi, tracks nearly 140 million credit histories of over 24 million people and one million businesses. These are huge numbers, and the addition of new users along with stricter regulations like GDPR puts a lot of strain on their technological infrastructure. That is why it makes sense for BIK to look onto blockchains to reap the benefits of a permissioned, private blockchain in maintaining credit information. Banks benefits include not only the reduced cost, which may be as much as 30% but also compliance with the new GDPR guidelines. Several Polish banks have been in trials since last November with Billon, which is also an FCA-registered e-money institution. Billon’s new platform will make the current process of sharing credit histories across institutions much more efficient. The key benefits include:
Permissioned Access – one of the blockchain’s biggest strengths include the ability to control the sharing of information with other institutions over the internet. In a private blockchain, network admins can make sure User Access Control is only given to people who are authorised to view the information. Additionally, blockchains make feasible to get the authorisation directly from the user whose information is being shared.
Transparency – Blockchain ledgers are collectively managed by the network participants, and any changes to the previous state require a majority vote on the network. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to sneak any information onto the blockchain without the other network participants knowing.
Equitable Use of Data – The most significant real-world implication for this partnership is undoubted that people will get more control over the personal data. Banks and credit agencies are not only responsible for keeping user data safe but also to share the data with the permission of the user.