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India’s Largest Bank Confirms Blockchain Rollout in December

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:01 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:01 PM

The State Bank of India will launch two blockchain production-ready beta solutions next month, ready for use to 27 major Indian banks of the ‘BankChain’ consortium.

Government-owned State Bank of India (SBI) is India’s largest banking corporation with assets over $460 billion amid a foothold in just about every financial services sector in the country. As a public sector bank, the SBI took the lead to establish India’s first financial blockchain consortium called BankChain, wherein participating banks and technology companies research, develop and implement blockchain applications in the financial industry. Now counting 27 member banks among its ranks – both public and private – BankChain also sees the likes of Intel, IBM and Microsoft as technology partners.

The consortium will put to use its first blockchain applications with two beta rollouts for smart contracts and a common know your customer (KYC) platform next month, according to SBI’s head of innovation Sudin Baraokar.

In quotes reported by the Economic Times , the official stated:

By next month, we should have two beta production solutions ready for use by the 27 banks. We will also invite further participation. The beta production that will be ready and smart contracts and the second is KYC.

Outlining use-cases for smart contracts, Baraokar pointed to “simple” processes like non-disclosure agreements that can be automated, as opposed to manually signing forms. “A lot of internal processes can be [smart] contracted,” Baraokar revealed. “We do a lot of IT procurement, a lot of it can be implemented using blockchain.”

A blockchain-powered KYC solution is listed among 10 “active projects” of the BankChain slate. Other notable projects include virtual currencies, cross border payments and peer-to-peer payments. As reported earlier this month, the SBI’s KYC blockchain solution will run on Intel’s modular Hyperledger Sawtooth platform.

The collaborative effort among Indian banks to develop blockchain solutions under a common roof is heralded by Baraokar as a “big move” for India’s banking sector.

“It is also de-risking our investment in emerging tech, so that all banks can come and invest at once…we can also share knowledge and reduce the cost,” Baraokar added. “We can also use each other’s technical teams to take this forward. We focused on solutions that the bank does not have…things like smart contracts, which is not regulatory heavy.”

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