Poland’s Alior Bank Using Public Ethereum Blockchain To Verify Documents

Blockchain, News | June 18, 2019 By:

Alior Bank, a large universal bank in Poland, has started using blockchain technology to authenticate clients’ documents.

Forbes reported that the Warsaw-based bank is now offering a feature that allows customers to check on the authentication and integrity of official documents they receive using the public ethereum blockchain. Using smart contract, the feature enables customers to search documents they have received on Alior’s servers and browse their history to find where those documents are located on the blockchain to ensure that they have not been changed by the bank since they were published.

“We know exactly in which block of ethereum the document with a given hash is published,” said Piotr Adamczyk, Alior’s blockchain technology lead who was in charge of writing the code for the project. “If we know the block number, we also know the timestamp. We know that the document was published some time ago and hasn’t been changed in that time [if the hash stored on the blockchain is identical to the hash calculated from the document], so we can prove it hasn’t been replaced on our servers.”

The new blockchain feature is in line with Poland’s regulations that require banks to provide customers access to documents in the form of a durable medium. Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection also ruled in 2017 that a page on a bank’s website which can be easily changed doesn’t qualify.

“It was born in our innovation lab, but later on, we managed to convince our management that a dedicated team should be set up on just blockchain issues,” said Alior Bank blockchain strategy lead Tomasz Sienicki. “Everybody can copy this code and use it for his or her purposes. We encourage people to do so.”

The bank further claims that it is the first bank to use a public blockchain for customer service.

“We want people to verify that we did everything right and we don’t conceal anything,” Sienicki said. “If we say the documents are actually verified and authentic, everybody can check it and confirm. That’s not possible using a private blockchain.”