By CCN: Vanguard, the world’s largest provider of mutual funds, is using blockchain to power their enterprise.
The investing giant, which popularized mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for the common investor, has been using distributed ledger technology to manage $1.3 trillion worth of index funds, Forbes reports.
Since February, Vanguard has used blockchain to manage financial data for one-quarter of its assets, valued at $1.3 trillion. More than just a one-off trial, the service is operating live for millions of customer accounts.
That’s right – clients of Vanguard’s index funds have unknowingly been using a blockchain-based service throughout most of the year, and the company reports its implementation has been an overall success.
Vanguard’s implementation of blockchain, which includes the flagship $800 billion Total Stock Market Index Fund, represents one of the largest uses for distributed ledgers to date.
The distributed ledger program was designed by New York-based startup Symbiont. The ledger software is based on the same blockchain technology introduced by Bitcoin, giving a vote of confidence for the security of operating in the cryptocurrency universe.
Vanguard says the use of blockchain has overhauled its system for the better. Warren Pennington, head of Vanguard’s fintech strategies team, claimed that the company’s previous system required the manual syncing of data, with employees being forced to make updates “all day long.” With blockchain, the process is streamlined and automatic.
The project, which began in mid-2017, originally employed a team of fewer than ten people. Pennington explained that lack of familiarity with the software was a major barrier of entry,
“One of the challenges in a highly regulated industry is just lack of familiarity. That’s what takes time—letting people get familiar.”
While blockchain education is becoming more sought after at a collegiate level, the industry is suffering from a lack of developers that have experience with the technology. Crypto has put distributed ledgers in a bright spotlight, and the industry could receive a massive boost from the rising adoption of Bitcoin and Facebook’s forthcoming GlobalCoin.
Vanguard joins a host of other financial institutions, including Fidelity and J.P. Morgan Chase, turning to blockchain as a source of innovation. However, not everyone is bullish on the development of blockchain improving financial institutions.
Earlier in the week, Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann ridiculed blockchain for being slow and expensive in a failed trial run. The leader of Germany’s Central Bank declared that blockchain was not a “breakthrough” technology, and claimed that other banks had experienced similar results.
Vanguard’s glowing review for blockchain makes Weidmann’s evaluation look like more FUD coming out of Europe’s economic elite.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.
Last modified: May 31, 2019 16:45 UTC