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A group of international banks is reportedly planning the launch of cross-border payment services backed by blockchain.

According to Nikkei, the group – which includes Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Standard Chartered, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Banco Santander, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce – is eyeing a 2018 launch, with a focus on both retail and commercial customers. Distributed ledger startup Ripple will provide the underlying technology, the paper said.

The past year has seen a number of banks worldwide test blockchain tech for cross-border payment purposes, including some who have trialed Ripple’s platform for this purpose. These include banks in India, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Bank-to-bank payments have emerged as an appealing use case in the financial industry, even drawing the attention of some central banks.

Yet, the new service being envisioned by the group could see use beyond just cross-border payments, according to Nikkei.

The institutions are said to be weighing additional resources utilizing blockchain, including mechanisms that would enable the settlement of inter-bank agreements.

"The seven banks are also mulling taking that innovation beyond wiring money. This could pave the way for integrating sales agreements with payment settlements at banking institutions," the paper said.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which as an ownership stake in Ripple.

MUFG image via Shutterstock

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