Banks are once more showing their interest in blockchain with reports indicating that several top global banks are teaming up to invest up to $50 million in the development of a digital cash system on top the blockchain.
A report published by Reuters today, and which cites “people familiar” with the plans, says that the project has brought together nearly a dozen banks.
It is expected that the dozen or so banks will work together on a new project dubbed Fnality, and which sources say could be ready for launch in 2020.
The interest in such a project goes back to 2015 when Swiss-based banking giant UBS reportedly began developing a blockchain-based pilot for crypto that would link to “real-world currencies.” Working with blockchain firm Clearmatics, UBS envisaged a crypto asset that also enabled connectivity with central bank accounts.
Clearmatics went on to file for a trademark for “Fnality,” and in August 2016, the pair were joined by another four other banks. These were: Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon), ICAP, Santander and Deutsche Bank.
Together, these banks have reportedly been keen to develop a blockchain-based system and identified the “utility settlement coin” (USC) originally set up by UBS and Clearmatics.
It is not immediately clear who the twelve or so banks are, but according to Reuters, the banks that previously worked on the USC project are thought to be participating.
Apart from the earlier mentioned banks, others that have associated themselves with the USC project are State Street Corp, Barclays, Credit Suisse Group, and HSBC Holdings.
Reuters quotes a spokeswoman of Barclays as saying that the British giant is “a member of the USC Project.” she also confirmed that the project’s Research & Development (R&D) phase was in its final stages.
Earlier this year, U.S.-based investment bank JP Morgan announced that its cryptocurrency called the JPM Coin was ready for real-world testing. The coin is expected to be used by the bank’s clients to complete real-time transactions settlements.