Already working with the Department of Homeland Security and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to secure records on their blockchain, Factom has now set its sights on the trillion-dollar mortgage industry. Having launched its new Factom Harmony solution in March, the company hopes to attract big banks and host their sensitive mortgage data. By increasing the efficiency of document management, Harmony will allow a seamless transaction process between lenders and brokers, without them having to worry about lost documents, altered agreements or incomplete records.
Built on the Factom Apollo data management solution, which allows users to store and create immutable digital records, Harmony “works with existing imaging or document management solutions to create secure, transparent, unalterable records for final loan documents.” In the process, every file is secured within a blockchain container, locking in the order of the final documentation, recording each person who accesses files and rejecting duplicate documents.
Factom refers to this system as “a perfected digital audit vault” for each specific loan. Thus the core product behind Factom Harmony is called Digital Vault, which locks into time the most important closing documents and gives a complete history of every file from origination to close.
As an all-inclusive solution, Factom Harmony
creates a permanent record and index of final loan documents, making audits smooth by reducing quality control, due diligence and review time;
reduces costs by creating a single source that organizes the final documentation and provides cryptographic truth that each document is an authentic copy;
provides access control to multiple parties that can collaborate under audit conditions and exceptions, and includes an immutable audit trail of all actions on each document in real-time, giving a true history of every loan;
opens a secure audit room or due diligence deal room that can be tracked on the Factom blockchain.
According to Peter Kirby, CEO of Factom Inc., “The Harmony solution and the underlying Factom blockchain provide lenders with something that was fundamentally missing from the industry. With Harmony, a lender is able to create a final set of documents for each closed loan.”
Right now, origination of a loan has underlying costs of about $7,500 per loan — up from approximately $2,500 per loan in 2006. The costs have tripled over the last few years as banks have been forced to step up their efforts to be in compliance with new laws.
Factom Harmony addresses many of the redundancy issues associated with these efforts by permanently documenting the process from the moment documents are first created, and then allowing that data to be quickly shared and verified digitally. Having digital records that can be securely shared and verified also speeds up financial institutions’ ability to settle transaction among themselves. Factom does not claim to move money faster, but it does attempt to allow others to have the confidence in the data they are reviewing and thus speed up the processes.
According to Factom, Harmony is the first practical and effective deployment of blockchain technology in the mortgage industry. Through combining blockchain technology, advanced cryptography tools and a digital fingerprint for each document or data file, lenders can securely store and expose individual loan files or documents to various third parties.
“This technology dramatically changes the approach and reduces the costs for audits, third-party reviews, litigation costs and due diligence costs,” Jason Nadeau, executive vice president of Factom, said in a statement. “The combination of blockchain and digital signature technology within Factom’s solution creates a solution where the benefits of digital signatures and electronic vaulting are now available for all documents without having to deploy any eMortgage or eClosing technology.”
Toni Moss is the founder and CEO of AmeriCatalyst LLC, an advisory firm located in Austin, Texas, specializing in corporate strategy, business development, market intelligence and market positioning for companies engaged in all sectors of the residential real-estate and housing finance industry in the North American market. Moss has advised clients including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, the European Commission and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Well-known in the U.S. mortgage industry, she is a big fan of Factom Harmony, and had this to say about the blockchain-based solution:
“The industry remains disparate and fractured with regard to the acquisition, management, distribution and protection of data, with a wide variety of third-party providers, proprietary platforms and programming languages. It’s just a matter of time before mortgage data is aggregated into a secure and centralized industry utility — and blockchain [technology] is the most promising catalyst to enable it,” Moss said to Bitcoin Magazine.
“As data becomes more plentiful, accurate, accessible and immutable, investors will have the confidence to return to the mortgage market; processing, servicing and transactional costs (should) decrease; and the market itself will be far more secure and sustainable in the long-term.”
Factom has yet to announce any contracts or partnerships related to its mortgage solution, but the time is right for big banks to start utilizing blockchain technology. In a separate recent development for the company, the Factom blockchain was made accessible to Chinese developers through WanCloud, a product released by Wanxiang Blockchain Corporation to drive progress among Chinese enterprises.
In January of 2016, when Vinny Lingham announced that he had stepped down as CEO of the popular mobile gift card service Gyft, speculation began to bubble up as to what innovation sandbox he would be stepping into next. A vocal advocate for Bitcoin and the blockchain movement in the media and at industry events, he has been a leading pioneer in the effort to integrate bitcoin payments at Gyft during his tenure there.
As CEO of Civic, a new startup company focused on digital identity, Lingham is now in pursuit of a new entrepreneurial quest. Civic’s mission is to deliver secure, low-cost identity verification that’s decentralized via blockchain technology. Consumers will have the ability to share information such as their social security or identity numbers securely from any device with digital signatures that validate that the information hasn’t been tampered with.
On May 23, Lingham and Civic CTO Jonathan Smith formally announced their launch of services at Consensus 2017, offering a viable solution to ID theft, fake online profiles and bank accounts, and other data breaches that have an adverse impact on consumer identity. Civic also unveiled their plans at the Token Summit for a token offering on the Ethereum platform. A final token will be issued on the RSK platform.
Civic tokens will provide access to the product while allowing token holders to benefit from its network effect. Overall, Civic endeavors to raise $33 million through the token sale, with additional tokens beyond that allocated to enterprise partners and developers. The company has already received $2.75 million in funding via Social Leverage, an early-stage seed investment fund, as well as through various VC firms that are engaged in Bitcoin and blockchain technology, including Pantera Capital, Blockchain Capital and Digital Currency Group.
Civic’s stealth digital identity platform is designed to replace passwords, usernames and the need for biometrics. The company’s main value proposition targets the explosion of data breaches that hit both consumers and the businesses they engage with. Civic will deliver applications for securing cryptocurrencies, e-signatures, social accounts, financial services, e-commerce/credit cards and medical records. Moreover, it will have the capacity to be used as a digital replacement for passports, driver’s licenses and voter ID, among other utilities.
Consumers will install an app on their smart device, and when someone attempts to access their SSNs within their personal ecosystems, they get notified. This serves as a preventive measure for the unauthorized use of personal information. Ultimately the goal is to deliver solutions for consumers to better control their personal information while providing a positive customer service experience.
Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Lingham noted that ID theft is a pervasive issue, especially with the recent spate of around 2,000 data breaches per year in the U.S. alone.Civic wants to solve this problem by granting people control of their identity and where their personal information is stored. By verifying their information and storing it on their personal devices, consumers can ensure that their identity information is only distributed to authorized parties.
He emphasized that when a consumer or business uses the Civic login service, no usernames or passwords are created, thereby reducing the vulnerabilities associated around one hack being able to to access other accounts.
Lingham believes that blockchains are likely the most secure place to store information right now, which is why Civic is constantly assessing opportunities to leverage and capitalize on the emerging technology.
Regarding the often-knotty scenarios created around securing government acceptance and collaboration, Lingham said: “We believe that the technology we have is unique and highly differentiated. That said, as we continue to build our user base and network for acceptance, this will draw in governments. We have already had some interest in this area and believe it will only be a matter of time.”
Based in Palo Alto, California, Lingham says he plans to open an office in his native South Africa with the goal of hiring developers there. He decided to take this ambitious step following reforms to South Africa’s business regulations that have created a more favorable environment for investments.
“We’ve always believed that one of the best applications for cryptocurrencies was the ability to power something like voting, one day,” said Lingham. “In order to get there, the larger distributed mobile identity problem needed to be solved first. This is what we are focusing on now — to build the world’s largest identity platform, powered by technology that decentralizes and secures consumer identity information.”
Image of Vinny Lingham: By Sidearmslide - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9856443
The post Vinny Lingham Embarks on Identity Management Quest With Civic appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.