Forty-two local and regional banks in Japan have joined a new blockchain consortium focused on cross-border payments.

Launched by financial services group SBI and a joint venture co-launched with distributed ledger startup Ripple, the consortium’s membership includes a wide range of both large and smaller institutions. The launch of the consortium comes days after SBI announced that it would establish its own digital currency exchange in Japan.

Those involved in the project plan to share resources and collaborate on a cross-border proof-of-concept, with an eye to create a basis for commercial-scale products next year.

SBI said in a statement:

“The Consortium will promote discussion, from both technical and operational perspectives, on activities required in domestic and foreign exchange services to utilize blockchain and other new technologies, consolidate domestic and foreign exchange services, and build 24-hour and real-time remittance infrastructure, and will try to finish PoC by next March to move forward commercial base.”

SBI said that efforts to organize the consortium began in August, with an initial aim to launch with 15 member banks. The group’s ranks swelled following a period of “active responses” during the solicitation phase, the company said.

The SBI-backed consortium is the latest effort of its kind to emerge. Similar organizations, formed among Russian financial firms or European insurance companies, have launched in recent weeks.

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Japan currency image via Shutterstock

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