Blockchain technology is finding ways to be used around the world for various use cases, but perhaps the most obvious use case is in the traditional banking system. Considering the immutability and the ability to track funds, it is surprising that more banks have not integrated it. However, the Italian Banking Association (ABI) has chosen to collaborate with R3’s Corda distributed ledger platform, aiming to evaluate a blockchain interbank system.
According to ABI, the platform is a product of work contributed by R3, NTT Data (Japanese IT firm) and Sia (Italian ICT company). The project is being called “Spunta,” and has been integrated into 18 banks in Italy. The 18 banks selected represent 78% of the entire banking sector, based on employees alone.
The ABI interbank system trial has already completed the initial testing phase in October, which was done with 14 of the same banks. Now, Spunta is in the pre-production stage, which means that a focus group will be using it after a few more tests. The stability of the platform will be tested by the developer, generating transaction volumes for one year. As these tests are being performed, further updates are planned for pilot banks, eventually taking over the entire banking sector of Italy.
A bill was recently passed in Italy to outline and define what distributed ledger technologies and blockchain are. The new bill also addresses those new criteria that smart contracts have to follow from a technical standpoint, or they will not be granted legal validity. One of the use cases that blockchain has been of particular interest in applying is with online voting, according to member of the Italian Parliament Maria Laura Mantovani.
In December, Italy became a part of the group of European countries that presently promote DLT ledgers in their area. The other supportive countries include Malta, France, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, and Greece. The governments in favor of blockchain believe that blockchain technology could bring many benefits to the southern EU economies.
R3’s Corda can so easily be integrated into existing platforms that many major financial companies have already added it. Commerzbank of Germany, Natixis Bank of France, and Rabobank of the Netherlands were all involved in a single paper transaction that was based on the Corda blockchain.
SBI Holdings recently announced an agreement with R3 as well, helping to expand its services in Asia.