14 Italian Lenders Trial Blockchain for Interbank Reconciliations

A group of Italian banks is testing blockchain technology for interbank reconciliations. More lenders are expected to join the project after the initial phase.

The Italian Banking Association (ABI) has launched a blockchain pilot to test the technology for interbank reconciliations. The trial will be conducted through ABI Lab, the consortium’s technological laboratory, and will initially involve 14 local banks. The group will utilize the Corda platform developed by R3.

During the pilot, the banks will use distributed ledger technology (DLT) for reconciliations, a process in which two banks check whether two corresponding accounts match. The financial institutions will also leverage the technology to verify aspects such as:

  • The time required to determine transactions that do not match;
  • The lack of a standard approach and a unified communications protocol;
  • The visibility of transactions between banks.

The technology will allow banks to build bilateral channels through which they could exchange data by using smart contracts. ABI is working on the application with NTT Data and collaborating with SIA for the node network and verification procedures.

In November last year, SIA, the blockchain startup behind Siacoin, said it was planning to establish a 600-node infrastructure for clients like banks, governments, and business enterprises to help them connect the blockchain apps developed by R3.

The 14 banks taking part in the pilot are Banca Mediolanum, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, BNL BNP Paribas Group, Banca Sella, Banca Popolare di Sondrio, CheBanca! - Mediobanca Group, Credito Emiliano, Crédit Agricole, Banco BPM, Credito Valtellinese, Iccrea Banca, Intesa Sanpaolo, Nexi Banca, and Ubi. After the first phase, the pilot will be extended to include more banks.

In February, Credit Agricole and Citi Bank bought stakes in London-based blockchain startup SETL, which provides a payments and settlements platform. A month earlier, the French banking group announced that several of its entities were exploring Ripple’s blockchain for money transfers. Credit Agricole is also a member of the RippleNet consortium.