Thomson Reuters has made two significant moves in the blockchain sector. In late March the firm had begun contributing to the Hyperledger project, an open-source blockchain initiative led by the Linux Foundation. The project boasts support from high-profile technology and financial firms as well as a number of blockchain-focused startups, and has attracted significant attention for its bid to bring the tech to big businesses.
Less publicized was its investment in Fluent, a startup looking to use permissioned blockchains for supply chain applications. The move was a strategic one, the company said at the time, indicating that it saw possible applications for the firm’s technology across its global string of business units.
Among those units, Scott Manuel, vice president and head of product management for Thomson Reuters says, are the company’s tax accounting and legal research businesses. Manuel said in an interview with CoinDesk, that while the company’s financial data delivery and trading product divisions are looking at applications in line with major financial institutions, particularly exchanges and clearing houses, it’s on the legal side that the firm is seeing significant interest in blockchain.
According to Manuel, “there seems to be thousands” of potential use cases for this technology These include in data delivery and digital identity, which he cited as being of particular interest to Thomson Reuters.
“We have a very large [know-your-customer] business around individuals and institutions,” he said. “So how will digital identity apply here? We’re investigating that with engineers, doing some internal proofs-of-concept in that space, too.” Bridging supply chains with blockchain as something of interest to the firm – an application that has already garnered recent interest among Hyperledger members. “Supply chain is very interesting and that’s going to be a business that has a lot of disruption,” he said.