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ING protects customer data using blockchain

The new feature encrypts customers’ names, location and numerical information, displaying only the range or category the data comes under.

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ING has sought to enhance its data privacy technology with the aid of blockchain.

The Dutch bank released “zero-knowledge range proof” (ZKRP) at the end of 2017, its first method of protecting data using blockchain technology. ZKRP encrypts customers’ numerical data to display only the range the value sits in. This ensures customers’ privacy by not revealing the exact value.

The latest development, “zero-knowledge set membership” (ZKSM), goes beyond just numerical data. ZKSM now also encrypts location and names in addition to numerical information. For example, a mortgage applicant will need to provide their salary, but the new technology encrypts the data so that an application would only display a salary range. Additionally, banks can confirm that the client lives within the EU without revealing which country.

ZKSM is available to everyone, including external developers who can experiment and identify any potential improvements.  

Annerie Vreugdenhil, head of wholesale banking innovation at ING, said in the announcement: “Our overall goal with distributed ledger technology and specifically blockchain is to create solutions that empower our clients to transform their business models. One of the key elements in this process for clients is how to deal with data and privacy. The release of ZKSM is the next step in this journey.”

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