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Santander Bank Makes History and Welcomes Blockchain

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The secure, decentralized nature of blockchain technology presents huge applications outside of cryptocurrency, as one largest European bank proved in a historic first at its last annual investor meeting.

‘PRACTICAL’ AND ‘INSTANT’

Investors at the Madrid-based Santander bank sent and count their votes using blockchain at their annual general meeting (AGM) late last month, the bank announced today. Santander hailed the test as the “first practical use of blockchain for investor voting.”

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Blockchain offers a decentralized, online ledger in which peers on the network verify transactions independently. Santander said they used this technology to create a “shadow digital register” so investors could see how their votes could be counted and confirmed faster, seconds instead of days or even weeks.

Investors normally have to vote 2 weeks in advance to leave enough time to count ballots, but the process could possibly become instant thanks to the blockchain, the bank said.

Luis Antonio Perez, head of corporate services at Santander, noted:

The blockchain technology has enhanced efficiency and transparency upon the reception and vote tabulation process, which will result in bridging the gap between all in the process.

The Financial Times reports that some investors have complained in the past, their votes are frequently lost or that it’s too difficult to vote outside their home market but blockchain arrives to reduce this problem.

Santander bank is the largest bank in the Eurozone by market capitalization, with more than 4 million shareholders and 60.5 % of its stock belonging to institutional investors. At its last AGM, the bank had a record high 63.55 % turnout of investors and 22.5 % used the new blockchain voting system.

Sergio Gámez, global head of shareholders and investor relations at Santander, said the bank’s “very fragmented capital” caused by its really beneficial blockchain tech among their international group of investors. Gámez then added:

This year using blockchain technology for the institutional vote has been a great help in terms of transparency and agility.

Santander and fintech company Broadridge, in partnership with JPMorgan and Northern Trust as custodian banks, conducted a test of the blockchain voting system roughly 13 months ago. Broadridge has continued to develop the voting system built upon JPMorgan’s Quorum blockchain platform, which is billed as an “enterprise-focused version of Ethereum.

SANTANDER WELCOMES BLOCKCHAIN

The bank is also deeply invested in the Ripple cryptocurrency network and is using the power of these payments. Benefits are not only for Santander bank as well for the clients.

“Blockchain technology will play a transformational role in the way we achieve our goals and better serve our customers, adding value by creating more choice and convenience,” said Sigga Sigurdardottirt, head of customer innovation at Santander, in an interview quoted by this website.

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