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One of South Africa's largest banks has joined the global blockchain consortium led by R3CEV.

Absa Bank, a subsidiary of Barclays Africa, announced today that it would be joining the 40-plus consortium, which includes a range of banks and non-bank financial institutions worldwide. Recent participants have included Chinese bank Ping An and the financial arm of automaker Toyota.

The partnership is said to include an effort to develop a broader working group within South Africa focused on regional distributed ledger networks, with the goal of creating "the continent’s first distributed ledger-based banking solution".

Andrew Baker, CIO for corporate and investment banking at Barclays Africa, said in a statement:

"We see huge potential for financial institutions in Africa to embrace disruptive technologies like blockchain, and use them to empower individuals and improve the lives of their customers. However, its true value will only be realized if we work together to co-develop and share solutions to common problems."

The consortium has spent the last year both adding new members as well as testing blockchain solutions in trials involving multiple banking participants. R3 announced its own distributed ledger solution, dubbed Corda, in April.

Absa Bank was not immediately available for comment when reached.


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