IBM and Others to Legally Register a Company in 3 Hours on the Blockchain

IBM and other partners are to legally register a company, from start to finish, in record time: 3 hours (instead of 4-6 weeks) using digitized workflows and smart contracts.

That’s to be showcased today during the DigitalSwitzerland challenge, taking place in Zurich, where for the first time a start-up is to be legally entered into the companies registry by “combining a digital workflow and Hyperledger Blockchain with the existing IT systems of the bank and commercial registry,” trustnodes is told.

A number of entities are involved, including Proxeus which raised $25 million in an ICO. They describe themselves as “an award-winning, powerful workflow engine and document generator allowing users to create blockchain applications by inputting information and building workflows without the need to learn a new programming language.”

They are to be joined by partners Canton Zug, the home of Switzerland’s Crypto Valley; Grunder Rechtsanwälte; IBM Switzerland; Kaiser Odermatt & Partner; Swisscom; VermögensZentrum; and Zwicky Windlin & Partner.

“From our perspective as Swiss notaries, the process will speed-up the registration from a pushcart to a rocket, facilitate the drafting of legal documents and it will consolidate the various parties in a most effective way,” Philippe J.A. Kaiser, Partner at Kaiser Odermatt said.

Details are sparse at this stage, but a livestream of the event will demo the new collaborative project which aims to show that the entire process for registering a Swiss startup in the commercial register can be completed in a fraction of the previous time required

“By shifting the entire registration process encompassing the entrepreneur, lawyer, bank, notary and commercial register to a digital workflow and Hyperledger blockchain and a utilizing smart contract, the key steps can be processed instantly, drastically reducing the time it takes to verify the multiple steps of registry.

The bank will state that the capital money has indeed been paid; the notary will confirm that the necessary documents have been provided, read over, and approved; and the commercial register does the final check that everything is lawful.

If all of the conditions are met, then the filing, which up until that point will have been provisional, will be officially registered with the Commercial Register and Official Gazette of Commerce,” a press release states.

“Our business ecosystem is rapidly evolving through open dialogue and collaboration among business partners and government entities – an ideal territory for embracing a digital transformation, which includes advancing and applying blockchain technology,” Ulrich Schimpel, CTO at IBM Research, says before adding:

“In the big scheme of things, reducing the complexity and duration of all administrative interactions throughout the entire corporate life-cycle has the potential to strengthen Switzerland’s positon as a world-leading business location.”

The current application is a simple smart contract, focused mainly on whether the conditions have been met to register a business, but the idea is to incorporate far more complex aspects, such as share restrictions, partnership agreements, powers of attorney.

“What we demonstrated today is that without any legislative change, traditional paper-driven, highly iterative processes can be transferred to the blockchain securely and effectively, increasing efficiency and dramatically lowering costs,” says Antoine Verdon, cofounder of Proxeus, before adding:

“But incorporating a company is only the first step: by tokenizing company shares and connecting them with crypto-identities, we will be able to automate entire areas of corporate law and financing.”

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