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Swisscom looks to disrupt payments with new blockchain subsidiary


Swisscom has launched a dedicated subsidiary to offer blockchain solutions to enterprises.

Blockchains are databases which maintain a list of records called blocks on any type of transaction. This “digital ledger” is stored across peer-to-peer networks rather than on a single server, making it resistant to tampering and failure.

Titled Swisscom Blockchain, the unit will provide a range of services to industries including healthcare, insurance and banking.

This will include researching new types of commercial register based on the technology, as well as developing digital stocks that can be securely bought and sold outside of trading hours.

The division will provide secure settlement for initial coin offerings, an equivalent to an IPO where digital money is raised in place of traditional currency and tradeable tokens issued instead of shares.

It will also offer consultancy services to help organisations use blockchain and a virtual workshop, called the Blockchain Crypto Infrastructure, which will allow customers to quickly test and deploy pilot projects or minimum viable products.

The division will be led by CEO Daniel Haudenschild, who joins from consultancy firm EY.

Swisscom holds a 70 percent stake in the new Zurich-based subsidiary, with the remainder held by undisclosed founder partners.

It will build on Swisscom’s blockchain work since 2015, which has included creating a solution for off-exchange trading and participating in worldwide consortium Hyperledger.

Urs Schaeppi, CEO of Swisscom, said: “Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionise business models and ecosystems in almost all sectors by providing secure connections between all participants.

“And this is ingrained in Swisscom’s DNA: securely connecting people, organisations and objects with highly available infrastructure.”
Robert Gebel, Head of Banking & Industries at Swisscom, said: “The combination of consultation, development expertise and blockchain infrastructure is unique in Switzerland up to now.”

Other telco players such as Cisco and TIM are investigating applications of blockchain.

Read more about blockchain in our Q2 magazine feature, Blockchain for telcos: Add-on or must-have?