Leading firms help creators of blockchain platform for bank guarantees

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Two leading firms in Australia have confirmed their roles in the launch a blockchain platform for bank guarantees.

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) advised the Scentre Group, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Westpac Banking Corporation, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and IBM on the launch of Lygon. Gilbert + Tobin (G+T) also advised Westpac.

KWM and G+T said the use of blockchain technology streamlines the process of issuing bank guarantees and significantly reduces risk, fraud and margin for error. In addition to modernising how customers obtain and manage bank guarantees, Lygon is expected to cut the process from a month to about a day.

“Bringing this project to market through a joint project between leading market participants represents the next step in the maturity of sophisticated blockchain solutions and their viability for the modern customer,” KWM said.

KWM’s team acting on the joint project, which will be trialled in an eight-week live pilot, was headed by partners Scott Farrell and Annabel Griffin.

“The Lygon project shows how blockchain technology can be used to increase the transparency of transactions while improving security and maintaining privacy for those involved.,” Farrell said.

G+T said that the launch gives birth to a service that can be used by the whole industry, which would have otherwise been impossible to establish if the participants acted individually. Adam D’Andreti, the firm’s lead partner, explained why the transaction was distinct.

“The complexity of this transaction posed unique challenges. The deal required detailed and bespoke risk analysis to be undertaken, new contract structures to be developed and creative problem solving to negotiate and implement almost all aspects of the transaction, which skills lie at the heart of our multi-specialist and adaptable teams,” D’Andreti said.

D’Andreti said that the firm’s M&A, technology, IP, and competition and regulatory teams worked together seamlessly to assist Westpac in the transaction. Simon Burns, G+T technology partner, said that the project will ultimately deliver better services to Westpac clients.

The G+T team led by D’Andreti also included lawyer Ilona Hunnisett. Burns, who led the technology aspects of the deal, was supported by lawyer Nikhil Shah. Partner Elizabeth Avery led the competition and regulation aspects, with support from lawyer Richard L’Estrange. IP support was provided by lawyer Rebecca Smith.