IBM Teams Up CULedger to Further Push Blockchain Adoption by Global Credit Unions

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by Darya Rudz · 4 min read
IBM Teams Up CULedger to Further Push Blockchain Adoption by Global Credit Unions
Photo: Yuankuei Cheng / Flickr

IBM and CULedger partnered to deliver blockchain services for financial cooperatives and credit unions. The first services on the CULedger blockchain network are set to be available for credit union members worldwide later this year.

CULedger, a credit union service organization (CUSO) that focuses on delivering innovative applications to credit unions through its cross-border global distributed ledger platform, is famous for its services among which is MyCUID customer identity system. On March 11, the company came up with a new initiative. CULedger announced a partnership with IBM, American multinational technology company.

As a result of the partnership, CULedger and IBM will use permissioned blockchain technologies to create an immutable audit trail that can be used to develop new business models and transform existing business processes for credit unions.

Julie Esser, CULedger’s Chief Engagement Officer, explained that the aim of the collaboration is focusing on such services as identification authentication, regulatory compliance around know-your-customer (KYC), lending and payments. The companies will work on improving them and making all transactions requiring users’ authentication easier. Esser said:

“It’s not only between consumer member or business member, but it’s also know your suppliers, know your employees. So any type of relationship that exists that requires some level of credentialing and KYC is a perfect fit for that.”

She continued:

“We want the credit unions to have options so they can ultimately decide whether that platform works for their credit union and its membership. We’re not pushing one particular product, we’re making a menu of products open for them.

We’re building a peer-to-peer network of digital exchange. Digital exchange can be credentials. It can be things utilizing smart contracts. It could be things of value, currencies, loyalty points, settlements, wire transfers, all of those different things.”

For IBM that has worked with a great variety of clients across financial services, supply chain, government, retail, digital rights management and healthcare sectors to implement blockchain applications, this partnership is also important. Marie Wieck, General Manager at IBM Blockchain, commented:

“Credit unions will be able to cooperate and receive shared value from quickly exchanging sensitive data in a permissioned, individually controlled and transparent way. This decentralized approach using blockchain helps put the customer in control of their own identity.

The work underway between CULedger and IBM will also lay the foundation for new kinds of services and collaboration among credit unions as we work together to scale and extend the network.”

The deal seems to be successful and beneficial for both parties. IBM as an expert in the fin-tech industry will bring its experience in building blockchain networks among large ecosystems of members, while CULedger will share the best of its knowledge of working with credit unions.

Who is CULedger

CULedger is a credit union-owned CUSO that delivers innovative applications to credit unions through its cross-border global distributed ledger platform. The company began its activity in 2016 and quickly became one of the largest distributed ledger consortiums in the world.

CULedger received donations from various credit unions and industry providers and became a credit union-owned CUSO (credit union service organization) on June 12, 2017. In February 2018, CULedger quickly reached its minimum Series A funding target of $10 million to further develop the initial proofs of concepts, hire leadership and to build out a private, permissioned distributed ledger network.

Last year, CULedger launched MyCUID, the first global digital identity ecosystem for credit unions and their members that addresses the problem of having siloed online identities by using distributed ledger technology to provide a self-sovereign identity.

Currently, there are over 260 million members belonging to credit unions, financial co-operatives that provide savings, loans and other services to their members. Partnering with IBM, CULedger expects to increase this number of clients.

John Ainsworth, CEO and President of CULedger, stated:

“A cooperative model that helps improve the member experience while benefitting all credit unions is the ideal approach to ensuring the next wave of financial innovation for the credit union industry.”

The first services on the CULedger blockchain network are set to be available for credit union members worldwide later this year.

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