Blockchain technology has many applications even outside of cryptocurrency and quite a few different sectors including health, energy and the education sector have benefited from a wide range of blockchain based solutions. There are firms who use blockchain to ensure adequate distribution of energy and there are a few institutions that have now begun to use blockchain technology to award certificates and even let firms authenticate certificates presented by prospective employees.
The banking sector is one of the biggest benefactors of blockchain and one example is Ripple’s network of hundreds of financial institutions who use RippleNet to facilitate transactions in record speed. From next year, banks in Italy will also use blockchain technology to improve their business efficiency and settle transactions.
The Spunta Project
According to a recent announcement from the Italian Banking Association (ABI), banks in the country will begin to use distributed ledger technology (DLT) for its transactions to help them get settled considerably faster. DLT will also help inter-bank transactions as it will ensure unmatched transparency and proper exchange of information between any involved parties
in such transactions. It is also expected that using blockchain will ensure full disclosure as opposed to the long and arduous process of doing reconciliations every month.
The solution is officially called the Spunta Project and is based on R3’s open-source distributed ledger platform. There was a trial period in February this year with eighteen banks which constituted more than 75% of all the banks in the sector when ranked by staff strength. This stage was preceded by an initial testing stage which began in October 2018 with 14 banks.
Using the Spunta Project, it is expected that some specific issues the banks have which have to do with several nodes jointly used by the banks for data storage and also the use of smart contracts, will be solved. The project is to officially launch in March 2020.
IT and the Italian Banking Sector
Recently, the ABI conducted a survey on Italy’s use of IT in its banking industry. The survey showed that since 2014, there has been a continued increase in the banking sector’s IT investments. Last year, it increased from 2017 by 5.7%. The survey also revealed that the bulk of these investments were used for mobile banking solutions, digital services, and cyber risk management.
Earlier this year, a bill proposed in the Italian House of Representatives which sought to clarify regulation and minimum criteria for blockchain technology and the legal deployment of smart contracts was passed.
Last month, the president of Italy’s Medici Bank, Prince Lorenzo de’ Medici, launched his new banking platform which is dedicated to “digital-centric commerce and investing.” According to the prince, the growth and development of the blockchain technology sector inspired the new platform with a mission to
“create seamless, digital customer experiences and expand financial opportunity across global markets.”