Today, applying for financial products is typically an onerous process that incorporates many complicated steps. Applicants must fill out stacks of paperwork and obtain documents such as bank statements, tax returns, and pay stubs from a variety of sources. Additionally, customers have limited visibility into how their data is being shared. The process is lengthy and stress-inducing for many consumers.
Blend aims to bring simplicity and transparency to consumer banking by transforming the lending industry into a one-tap ecosystem. Most recently, we announced One-tap Pre-approval for Mortgage, an offering that provides automatic access to buying power in the form of a verified pre-approval letter. We are working to bring this decreased decision time and ease of use to all lending products.
In order for every financial transaction to be a one-tap experience, consumers need one-tap access to their own data. This financial profile doesn’t exist today and needs to be portable across institutions and verified by third parties. Enabling this data ecosystem is core to realizing our broader vision, and today we’re sharing an important step toward this goal: Finprint, an open protocol to enable a financial profile that is consumer-controlled and verified by third parties.
Building a consumer-centric protocol via the blockchain
When solutioning at Blend, we’re laser focused on putting the customer first. We decided to leverage blockchain in order to make this financial profile as consumer-friendly as possible. The decentralized nature of blockchain technology allows us to put the consumer in control – data stored via the protocol cannot be read without the consumer’s explicit consent, and data providers cannot limit or censor the consumer’s ability to share their data with other parties. Mechanisms inherent in blockchain such as microtransactions and staking also help us to align incentives across all participants.
Additionally, by building Finprint on an open blockchain, we enable the development of an open ecosystem where creators across the industry can collaborate to meet the specific needs of all users. Rather than integrating Finprint into Blend’s lending and banking products, making it available only to institutions and consumers using Blend, offering Finprint as an open-source blockchain protocol will enable any application to leverage this data. This means consumers gain access to a wider range of tools that allow them to develop a healthy financial future.
We’re excited to release the Finprint codebase under a BSD license and invite collaborators to help us drive the industry forward. Open-source contributions to the existing implementation of the protocol are welcome, and we hope that people with a shared passion for this space will help us improve upon this first iteration. We’re anticipating wider collaboration across the industry to tackle the data-sharing problem, as we believe this consumer-minded approach is the way of the future. We’re curious to hear your ideas on how we can improve Finprint.
There’s already been a notable shift toward consumers calling for control of their own data, and we expect this concept to continue to gain momentum. Finprint is just a first step toward empowering consumers. We’re looking forward to seeing a one-tap, consumer-centric data ecosystem unlock a new level of transparency and simplicity in finance, and know this is just the first step in the conversation.
Want to help shape the financial system of the future? Check out Blend’s career opportunities.