China’s largest online retailer JD.com has partnered with Fortune Global 500 International Trade Group (ITG) Holding to build a blockchain contract signing platform. The platform JD E-sign aims to reduce time, effort, and costs associated with paper contracts and in-person signing. It will be used by state-owned ITG’s core business, which includes supply chain management, commodities processing and trading and financial services.
The blockchain technology was developed by JD Digits, JD.com’s fintech division, and will be based on JD’s electronic cloud contract platform. It will enable the e-signing of various contract types, including mortgage letters and sales orders, featuring real-name authentication and a verified time-stamp.
Through the platform, users can electronically sign contracts which, with proper authorization, are digitally filed on the blockchain and simultaneously stored in various judicial institutions that will register the document’s legality. China has internet courts for dispute resolution, and the signed contract also goes to the Beijing and Guangzhou Internet Courts and the Beijing Notary Office. Once the client consents, the contracts will be available for search and viewing by relevant parties either online or through a WeChat mini program.
The use of blockchain ensures that the contract signing process is harder to forge and traceable. JD Digits’ data security protection scheme will encrypt and store all information to prevent data leakage.
The mechanism works in compliance with China’s Electronic Signature Law, which provides legal grounds to determine electronic legal documents’ validity.
According to JD.com, the system’s implementation on ITG’s contract signing processes will reduce cost and time expenditures by 80% and decrease contract costs by 60%.
Earlier this year South Korea’s largest telecoms company KT Corp launched a blockchain-based document platform. However, its focus is more on sharing and storing electronic documents rather than e-signing. There’s more than one solution exploring blockchain for the entire life cycle of a contract, as opposed to the initial creation. Icertis is a high profile example.