French Central Bank Conducts an “Interbank Blockchain Experiment”

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The Banque de France, the country’s central bank, has revealed details about a discreet blockchain experiment that was put to the test back in October 2016.

In a release [PDF] late last week, the bank revealed that it had tested blockchain technology to understand the consequences of decentralizing ledger managing functions of SEPA credit Identifier, which is essentially a simplification of cross-border Euro transfers within the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

The experiment was conducted in partnership with Parisian Fintech startup Labo Blockchain as well as the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations. The latter is a French public sector financial institution under the control of the parliament which is seen as the “investment arm” of the French government. Other unnamed French banking groups were also involved in the experiment which found its inception in July 2016.

Since then, weekly working meetings were the norm, the French central bank revealed. Professional, technical and legal aspects of a decentralized management framework were discussed. Eventually, come October, the Banque de France had already developed and provided parts of the blockchain software suite to participants, who installed and operated it physically on premises or via an external cloud.

While details are currently scarce, the revelation is undoubtedly the first-known instance of France’s central bank experimenting with blockchain technology.

An excerpt from the press release reads:

This experiment enables all participating banks to share their analyses on the impacts of and opportunities provided by this technology.

Further, the monetary authority states that a “comprehensive assessment” will be carried out in the coming months to understand the results of the experiment. Come January 2017, more details of the experiment will be revealed at a conference organized by the French Payments Committee in Paris.

Following its revelation, the French central bank joins its counterparts from a number of other countries including Singapore, Japan, Russia, Finland, Sweden, the European Central Bank, China and Canada, among others, to express interest, experiment or even look to develop digital currencies based on blockchain technology.

Image from Shutterstock.

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