Blockchain innovation shows Guernsey’s ‘nimbleness and adaptability’

01 March 2017

The first commercial deployment of blockchain technology demonstrates how nimble and adaptable Guernsey can be when it comes to innovation in the digital age, according to Carey Olsen Partner Tom Carey.

The offshore law firm provided legal advice and support as Northern Trust and IBM built a security-rich blockchain, or distributed ledger solution, based on the open source Linux Foundation Hyperledger Fabric. It is being used in the management and administration of a private equity fund managed by Unigestion – a Geneva-based asset management with $20bn in assets under management (also advised by Carey Olsen).

Partners Tom Carey and Mark Dunster, along with Counsel Richard Field, led the Carey Olsen team. Mr Dunster and Mr Field advised Northern Trust, whilst Mr Carey advised Unigestion. Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright provided advice from an international perspective, given the firm's expertise in the area and global reach.

"Guernsey has been at the forefront of developments in the private equity space, being the domicile of choice for PE structures for many years now," said Mr Carey. "This innovation demonstrates how nimble and adaptable Guernsey can be when it comes to innovation in the digital age.

"The close collaboration between Northern Trust, IBM, the Guernsey government and regulator and other parties involved has been pivotal in bringing the blockchain product to a successful launch. We are proud to have played our part in this technological development for Guernsey."

In the private equity space, the blockchain technology allows Northern Trust to improve traditional business processes at each stage to deliver greater transparency and efficiency. It allows the fund to transfer ownership stakes and be managed, serviced and audited throughout the investment lifecycle on a transparent platform offering ‘one version of the truth’ to participants who gain access via secured means.

The blockchain network has been designed to support compliance with current, local regulations. Both government and regulator in Guernsey were kept informed during the development process and have been supportive of the use of technology to provide innovative solutions.

"Guernsey has been at the forefront of developments in the private equity space, being the domicile of choice for PE structures for many years now. This innovation demonstrates how nimble and adaptable Guernsey can be when it comes to innovation in the digital age."
Carey Olsen Partner Tom Carey

Carey Olsen has also joined forces with Northern Trust, Sure and Startup Guernsey to host the island’s first Blockchain conference, which takes place at St Pierre Park on 2 March.

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