Oracle unit partners with Everest to bring blockchain to banks worldwide

FILE PHOTO: The Oracle logo is shown on an office building in Irvine, California

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oracle Financial Services Software Ltd, a unit of Oracle Corp, has teamed up with financial technology provider Everest to bring blockchain to banks worldwide to enhance their product offerings, Everest Chief Executive and co-founder Bob Reid said.

Oracle Financial's software is used in retail and corporate banking as well as the insurance sector.

Everest, whose blockchain technology enables a wide range of financial services, said it recently worked with the Asian Development Bank on the Central Bank of Samoa's regulatory compliance platform. Everest is also a licensed custodian of cryptocurrencies.

In an interview on Tuesday, Reid told Reuters the collaboration means Oracle's bank clients will be able to verify a customer's credentials and transfer them to the blockchain platform in different countries. Everest is registered and based in Malta.

Blockchain, a digital ledger of transactions, gained prominence over the last 10 years as the technology that underpinned the virtual currency bitcoin.

"Oracle does some blockchain work in their cloud, which is not related to the core banking and financial platform that they sell to banks," Reid said. "We're bringing blockchain for identity and account creation to Oracle."

Oracle, the parent company, launched a blockchain platform cloud service in 2018.

Its financial software unit already provides a wide array of anti-money laundering capabilities, but Everest's blockchain-based identity and biometric verification services should enhance Oracle's banking software, Everest's top official said.

Those two services will be integrated into one product, Reid said, and should be completed by the fourth quarter.

The collaboration enables financial institutions to "remotely onboard customers across multiple jurisdictions, especially during the ongoing pandemic," said John Edison, vice president and head of Financial Crime and Compliance Management Products at Oracle, in a statement.

Through the joint service, banks can also access cryptocurrencies, cross-border and decentralized finance or DeFi tools, Reid said. DeFi projects facilitate crypto-denominated lending outside traditional banking.

Global banks' adoption of blockchain has a come a long way since a decade ago, market participants said.

"Eighteen months ago banks won't take a call from anybody from crypto: they were scared, they were worried about compliance," Reid said.

(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Alden Bentley and Richard Chang)