Blockchain and the Private Funds Industry: Potential Uses by Private Funds and Service Providers (Part Two of Three)

Blockchain technology – a distributed database used to immutably timestamp and record transactions – is most commonly thought of in a single context, yet its applications are varied and limited only by the objectives of the adopting users. While popular society is fixated on its use for digital currencies (e.g., Bitcoin) or as a medium for illicit transactions, many more practical blockchain applications could greatly enhance the efficacy of the financial sector while also dramatically reducing its overhead expenses, such as by streamlining fund operations while simultaneously improving compliance protocols. This three-part series provides an overview of necessary information and considerations for the eventual integration of blockchain technology into the financial sector. This second article describes various potential uses of blockchain technology, such as reconciling trades and onboarding investors, to improve private fund operational efficiencies and compliance efforts. The first article detailed how blockchain works and provided examples of how major elements of the financial industry (e.g., derivatives trading and repurchase agreements) are already incorporating the technology. The third article will explore how and when the private funds industry will adopt the technology, while presenting issues related to that implementation. For more on how fund managers can utilize technology, see “The SEC’s Broken Windows Approach: Compliance Resources, CCO Liability and Technology Concerns for Hedge Fund Managers (Part Two of Two)” (Oct. 1, 2015); “Can Emerging Hedge Fund Managers Use Technology to Satisfy Business Continuity Requirements and Mitigate Third-Party Risk?” (Sep. 3, 2015); and “Can Private Fund Marketing Be Automated?” (Aug. 7, 2014).

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