The blockchain facilitates the transfer of official documents in a very smooth way. It offers very clear solutions to notaries and independent managers when these official documents relate to the assets of their clients.
Often cited in recent years as the paragon of professions endangered by blockchain, notaries are in fact far from being threatened. Blockchain technology offers them solutions to which the profession had no access until now. A pioneer in digital technology, the Paris Chamber of Notaries has been investing in digital technologies and solutions for many years. It has even set up an innovation fund with more than 6 million euros in outstandings in 2019. With this envelope, it can carry out innovative and structuring projects capable of developing the notary’s profession in relation to new technologies.
As defined, its objectives are to enable notaries to gain autonomy, develop new offers and thus increase their added value in the eyes of clients, all while achieving productivity gains.
It is therefore not surprising that one of their first projects, funded and implemented, is to use blockchain technology to track financial securities through a shared electronic recording device. Satisfied with the success of this first trial, The Paris Chamber of Notaries has presented an even more ambitious project at the Technot trade fair in June 2021: to create a register of authentic instruments on the blockchain.
This is an inspiration for the Swiss market, which has an equal need to digitalise its notarial activities. Sending an authentic instrument to the cantonal tax authorities, to take a very simple example, is currently done by a physical courier. This is a costly and inefficient process in a society that is digitising at every turn. The digitalisation imposed by the confinements has also had an impact on the Swiss notary’s office. Between remote powers of attorney and videoconferences with clients, notaries have used new methods to adapt to the Covid crisis and continue their activities as best they can.
Blockchain provides more than just answers. It offers numerous guarantees thanks to end-to-end encryption of information, decentralisation of data ownership and verification of each transaction at any time, without the possibility of manipulation. Thus all data can be exchanged directly with the official registers, without transferring documents or even digitising processes. These initiatives, of which the canton of Geneva is at the forefront with the Chamber of Notaries of Geneva, demonstrate the concrete potential of the blockchain. The digitisation of the exchange of authentic instruments between public institutions and notaries could therefore widen the field of possibilities, and open up opportunities for independent managers.
The digitisation of birth certificates, marriage certificates and wills may be of particular relevance to financial institutions, for example, as may the digitisation of building rights and real estate deeds.
“The digitalisation of the exchange of authentic acts between public institutions and notaries could therefore widen the field of possibilities and open up opportunities for independent managers.”
The digitisation of wills and the creation of a digital infrastructure giving managers access to their clients’ inheritance information would perpetuate the relationship with the heirs in the same way. This is also the case with events related to the birth of future beneficiaries, marriage or any other official event where access to information is often complex. The existence of a qualified data source would greatly facilitate the structuring of the various heritages.
By going digital, and using technologies such as blockchain, notaries are integrating a new form of financial infrastructure, purely digital, which facilitates interactions between key players who are otherwise used to working together. Such an infrastructure, if built on technologies such as blockchain, will lead to more trust between the various stakeholders. For in this famous trust, which is specific to digital technology, lies an indispensable link in the financial centre of the future.
The electronic signature and remote identification of persons, which are still not widely used, as well as the almost non-existent digital authentic act, are therefore not far off. The potential for the digitalisation of notaries through technologies such as blockchain is immense. And the interest for the financial sector is all the more obvious.