Central Bank of Argentina Trials Blockchain for Novel Interbank Settlement Layer
The Central Bank of Argentina (BCRA) is trialing a new blockchain-enabled clearing system that could be utilized by some of the country’s largest financial institutions.
Blockchain developer IOV Labs stated on Tuesday that it had built a proof-of-concept, for a permissioned blockchain network, based on RSK Smart Contract Network, in association with the central bank and major commercial banks in Argentina including BBVA and Santander.
The solution is intended at speed fiat payments, making them more secure and interject end-to-end traceability, IOV stated.
“By implementing this type of platform, the financial system will be able to build an integral collaborative ecosystem in line with the current modern technological advances and on par with the world’s most innovative financial systems,” said Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar, CEO of IOV Labs in a statement.
“Given the global circumstances we are facing, we need now more than ever to use technology to optimize processes and provide better services to our citizens,” he added.
Network participants will embrace the BCRA, banks, clearinghouses, and other financial entities. While recently in the testing phase, IOV and BCRA stated the new network could establish the foundation for an alternative clearing system.
While Argentina’s central bank was an early mover in looking at efficiencies produced by blockchain, it has also taken a dusky view on cryptocurrencies. It published a statement as far back as 2014, telling citizens they could not utilize digital assets like bitcoin as a form of legal tender and warning of possible cheating.
One of the aims of the BCRA-initiated proof-of-concept was also to show there are other viable use cases for blockchain technology besides cryptocurrencies, in particular utilizing smart contracts.
The new layer tested by the BCRA operates along the same lines as a similar blockchain initiative, also based on RSK, hosted by the country’s primary gas distributor prior this year. Identified as Gasnet, the intention was to utilize distributed ledgers to bring new abilities to Argentina’s backlogged gas certification process.
As other central banks move toward producing and issuing their digital currencies, it isn’t yet apparent if the BCRA’s developing interbank settlement layer could one day form the foundation for a digital peso.
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