Northern Trust Wins Patent for Storing Meeting Minutes on a Blockchain

Northern Trust Corporation has been granted a patent for a system to create immutable records of meetings on a blockchain.

Jun 6, 2018 at 8:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:01 a.m. UTC

Financial services firm Northern Trust won a patent Wednesday for a method for backing up records of meetings using blockchain tech.

The method utilizes a series of smart contracts to capture data related to the meeting, including records of who is attending (sourced from devices they might carry), when the meeting took place and where. As previously reported, Northern Trust has been using a private blockchain it created with IBM to capture key data since 2017.

Northern Trust hones in on a very specific use case – event data, essentially – but it speaks to the firm's wider trend of gathering operational data through a distributed system.

"During the meeting, a first smart contract may authenticate and record attendees in the digital meeting record based on biometric information received from the attendees' devices... a second smart contract may capture in the digital meeting record, meeting actions of each attendee, including date, time, and location associated with the meeting actions. After the meeting, a third smart contract may autopopulate post meeting documentation."

Northern Trust won a second patent on digital identity management on Wednesday, public records further show. This second patent focuses on generating one-directional cryptographic hashes of reference documents and biometric information.

The two patents work hand-in-hand as the digital meeting records would be tied to a set of digital identity records. The meeting records would also use one or more encryption keys, generating an encrypted version of the records, that is then appended to a blockchain by the network node.

The function aims to "integrate interactions between digital identities within the blockchain, authentication and recording processes using biometric information, document storage in a repository, and one or more smart contracts managing meeting activities in real-time."

"We have developed a number of blockchain innovations that may be applied to multiple business activities and product offerings, with private equity fund administration being only one example of many potential use cases," Justin Chapman, global head of market advocacy and innovation research at Northern Trust, said in a statement.

Northern Trust Corporation image via Shutterstock

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