Polish-British fintech firm Billon has reportedly sealed an almost €2 million (~$2.1 million) grant from European Commission’s Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) Instrument program to develop a blockchain document management system. The news was reported by Billion in a press release on May 14.
The Commission’s SME Instrument program provides funding for innovation projects which are close-to-market, and has reportedly awarded Billon a grant under Phase 2 of the program — which provides enterprises with up to 70% of the costs of their proposed project.
Billon’s system, dubbed B4TDM (Blockchain for Trusted Document Management), is reportedly a proprietary blockchain-powered solution for storing, signing and sharing digitized documents.
The system reportedly both digitizes documentation and provides encryption and customizable access control rights. Billon is said to have estimated that the blockchain implementation can help firms cut management costs by close to 50%.
In a statement, Billon Group CEO Wojtek Kostrzewa underscored B4TDM’s potential efficiency gains and enhancement of regulatory compliance, noting that the system will aim to protect:
"Document identity content, and to provide control over data they choose to share or delete. With the funding [...] Billon will fulfill MIFiD2 and GDPR requirements with innovation that puts a customer in control of their own data and documents."
Kostrzewa’s reference to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — a landmark European Union-wide legal framework for personal data privacy — points to the specific regulatory context within which Billion has been developing its blockchain solution.
In particular, GPDR established new digital era rights by introducing statutory requirements such as individuals’ right to be forgotten and other far-reaching privacy requirements.
Kostrzewa further referred to the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID 2) — introduced as a part of the EU’s January 2018 financial reforms — which enacts stricter transparency requirements to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
Billon’s approach to tackling GDPR compliance is reportedly to design its system so that enterprises will be able to delete access to data at a customer’s request to be forgotten.
Ostensibly due to such provisions, the B4TDM solution has reportedly already been adopted by the Polish Credit Office, with the first local banks to begin adoption by the end of Q2 2019.
As reported, the debate over blockchain’s interaction with data privacy laws has intensified since GDPR took effect in May 2018, with some arguing that its immutability principles — especially in the context of public, rather than permissioned, networks — pose an obstacle to compliance.