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Mizuho Trials Blockchain for Cross-Border Payments

(@mpmcsweeney) | Published on March 8, 2016 at 16:05 GMT
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Japanese banking group Mizuho has completed a blockchain test focused on cross-border securities settlement.

The test used the Open Assets Protocol, a commonly deployed implementation of colored coins that provides an added layer of functionality to the bitcoin blockchain. Using Open Assets, bitcoins can be specially marked to represent other assets on the blockchain.

According to an 8th March press release, the test included the participation of Japanese IT giant Fujitsu, including its research and development arm Fujitsu Laboratories.

The participants said that the test, which took place between December and February, showed that post-trade processing times can be reduced using blockchain applications.

Mizuho said in a statement:

"In the system, continuously generated blocks containing trade information were chronologically linked as blockchain, becoming information that could not be tampered. And, because the information could be shared between multiple companies, the partners confirmed that it was possible to shorten the time required in the post-trade process."

Near-instant settlement

The trial's aim, Mizuho said, was to seek a method of facilitating the post-trade process that would both shorten the time involved as well as reduce the possibility of data tampering.

"The goal was to enable low-cost, low-risk cross-border securities transactions by building a system utilizing blockchain technology that can almost instantly share matched trade information in the post-trade process as data that cannot be tampered with, but without building a large-scale settlement system from scratch," the bank said.

Mizuho said that it offered its "expertise with the securities settlement process" to the project, with Fujitsu developing the test system that was used. Fujitsu Laboratories managed the trial itself, according to the companies involved.

Mizuho and Fujitsu aren’t the only companies in the finance space looking at applying blockchain tech to potential solutions for post-trade settlement.

Last year, a group of firms involving the London Stock Exchange, Société Générale and UBS began work on exploring the technology for this purpose.

More work ahead

The companies involved said that they intend to use the data gleaned from the experiment to prepare for future efforts.

For Mizuho, the announcement adds to the growing body of blockchain tech work it is conducted. Last month, the bank disclosed that it was working with IT consulting firm Cognizant to develop an internal recordkeeping system using the technology.

Mizuho, which was an early banking interest in the space given its past work with now-defunct bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, is also involved with work on a syndicated loan system that uses blockchain applications.

That project sees Mizuho partnering with Information Services International-Dentsu (ISID), Microsoft Japan and blockchain startup Currency Port.

The bank is also one of more than 40 banking partners of the blockchain consortium led by startup R3.

Image Credit: TK Kurikawa / Shutterstock.com

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