Could blockchain fix pensions?
Transparency has been lauded as the biggest advantage of using blockchain, with everyone from former Prime Minister David Cameron to the Big Four highlighting its potential in fighting corruption and promoting accountability. Could it also be the way forward for pensions?
The 'blockchain' refers to a digital ledger system powered by software algorithms to record digital currency transactions and track the exchange of other data.
It can be viewed by anyone and, crucially, can only be edited with the agreement of a majority of users. This means that everyone using the system is constantly aware of who owns how much and where they are putting it.
Anastasia Andrianova, Founder and CEO of Akropolis, believes the blockchain could be the solution for empowering people to make informed decisions about their pensions and go a long way toward restoring trust in the system.
In an article for Global Banking and Finance, she explained: "A lack of transparency lies at the heart of this pensions crisis. Just when people need as much useable information as possible to safeguard their jeopardized futures, it is far too difficult to understand the benefits and shortcomings of different pension programmes.
A pensions blockchain would also make it easy for people to move between funds as every pensions occurrence would be logged on the ledger forever.
"The beauty of the blockchain is that no single entity is in control of the ledger - transparency can be built in at the protocol level. And once data is inputted, it can’t be erased or edited. This could be vital for the integrity of pensions.
"A pensions blockchain would also make it easy for people to move between funds as every pensions occurrence would be logged on the ledger forever. This would promote better competition among pensions providers, and consumers would find it easy to find pensions that suit them."
Akropolis aims to become the largest alternative pensions infrastructure in the world by utilising this solution. As we move ever increasingly towards a fully digital economy, this project will likely be watched closely by traditional providers.