Italian Banking Association Trials Blockchain Powered Interbank Platform
Blockchain consortium R3’s enterprise level, open-source trade finance platform Corda is now being tested by the Italian Banking Association (ABI).
The platform was customized by Japanese IT firm NTT Data, R3 and Italian ICT company Sia. The “Spunta” project, which involves customization of the platform and testing by 18 banks, represent 78% of the Italian banking sector in terms of employee count.
The ABI’s blockchain-powered interbank system passed the initial testing phase with 14 local banks in October 2018. The project is now in its pre-production phase, according to the association, and will be launched after a number of initial tests for a focus group. In addition, developers will test the stability of the platform by generating volumes of transactions over a period of 365 days.
At the same time, the ABI and its partners are developing further updates to be tested by pilot banks, which will reconstruct the production processes of the entire Italian banking sector, the association notes.
The Italian Parliament recently adopted a bill defining distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and blockchain, as well as the technical criteria to be met by intelligent contracts in order to be legally valid. Maria Laura Mantovani, a member of the Italian Parliament, said that its application in online voting is a favorable use case for blockchain.
Italy joined six other European countries in December 2018 (Malta, France, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain and Greece), which agreed to support the use of DLT in the region. The participating governments explained that it could be a major innovation for the economies of the southern EU. Major financial companies frequently use R3’s Corda.
The German banking and financial services company Commerzbank, French corporate and investment bank Natixis and Dutch financial services company Rabobank, for example, completed a live commercial paper transaction based on this blockchain platform at the end of 2018.
More recently, SBI Holdings, a Japanese financial services company, officially announced a joint agreement with R3 to expand its Asian business.