Legal and IP News

IBM builds blockchain for French corporate registry

corporate registry

Today the French National Council of Clerks of Commercial Courts (NCC or Conseil national des greffiers des tribunaux de commerce) announced that IBM has developed a blockchain corporate registry solution. France doesn’t have a central corporate registrar. Instead any changes to commercial and corporate records have to be submitted via the local commercial courts. The blockchain is expected to launch in the first half of 2019.

The initiative involves sharing information about two sets of data. The first is general registry data such as a change of company name, moving from one court jurisdiction to another, adding new branches and corporate dissolutions. And the second set of data relates to corporate recoveries and insolvencies.

The goal is to streamline information exchange so that changes in the registry can be reflected faster. Updates often impact multiple local registries which can require quite a bit of coordination. In the pilot program, a registry update that can take several days for a complicated case was reduced to just one day.

It also means that all the local courts see the same data and they can track all changes. The European Union is exploring connecting the registries of different countries and this initiative will help to facilitate that.

The project uses Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology. Initial tests were successful and involved four different courts and IT providers.

“This project, which is the result of an autonomous initiative between clerks of commercial courts and IBM, is the continuation of our efforts to be pioneers in the adoption of innovative technologies, to strengthen the quality of the public service provided by the commercial justice system, dedicated to the expectations and requirements of today’s multipolar and interconnected economic world,” said Sophie Jonval, President of the National Clerks Council.

DigitalSwitzerland also explored using Hyperledger Fabric to speed up the company formation process.

In Canada, the District of British Columbia has chosen a different approach to a related issue. They set up the Verifiable Organizations Network (VON) to issue business identities. Because every business has a digital identity, people can query a directory to find out about them. Instead of using Hyperledger Fabric, it uses Hyperledger Indy which is focused on identity.