India's biggest stock exchange and a group of domestic banks recently collaborated on a know-your-customer data trial involving blockchain.
The test involved the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE), ICICI Bank, IDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, IndusInd Bank and RBL Bank, as well as HDFC Securities, a Mumbai-based brokerage. Blockchain startup Elemential provided the technology for the trial.
The test, the first stage of which was completed in January, is the latest and perhaps most significant for India's finance space to date.
2016 saw a number of institutions within the country testing blockchain. And in recent weeks, other financial firms in India have begun exploring use cases and developing applications of their own. The NSE has been testing the tech since as early as September, according to past reports.
The test centered around a shared environment in which the stock exchange would onboard customer data, allowing the banks - and any regulators that have a window into the platform - to access this information in real-time.
Inside the test
NSE isn't alone among stock exchanges worldwide in its blockchain experimentation. From Hong Kong to Abu Dhabi, bourses have been experimenting with various uses cases, particularly on the e-voting front. A recent patent application from Nasdaq suggests the exchange operator is exploring how to backup data using the tech.
In a way, the trial in India offers a window into how those institutions are looking to put the tech to work.
According to sources close to the test, those involved spent some time testing the system for resiliency. Simply put, the stakeholders attacked their own blockchain.
Perhaps notably, the steps taken by the companies represents the first iteration of what will be future testing of the KYC solution.
The next step will involve the use of real customer data - a key milestone before any kind of real-world use.
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