R3: 12 More Banks Join Blockchain Consortium, Exchanges and Funds Coming

Another 12 banks have joined the consortium developing blockchain technology for securities settlement and payments.

The consortium, led by FinTech startup R3, now has 42 banks. The latest additions are: BMO Financial Group, Danske Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, Natixis, Nomura, Northern Trust, OP Financial Group, Banco Santander, Scotiabank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, U.S. Bancorp and Westpac.

Bitcoin’s blockchain technology and other distributed ledger systems inspired by it are envisioned to streamline the way securities, currency transfers and other assets are settled.

From the additions, Santander has expressed keen interest in the technology for the past year and a half, most recently launching a blockchain challenge. Westpac was reportedly exploring Ripple’s technology for cross-border currency transfers and also launched a blockchain challenge of its own.

R3 said that it will engage other entities including funds, exchanges, clearing houses, standards bodies and infrastructure companies in early 2016. These are a key piece of the puzzle that spans multiple areas of the trading economy.

Another collaborative blockchain venture, the recently announced ‘Blockchain Settlement Group’, was formed between banks, exchanges and clearing houses. Its members include London Stock Exchange (LSE), LCH.Clearnet, Societe Generale, CME Group, UBS and Euroclear.

UBS and Societe Generale are also members of R3’s consortium.

With the latest additions, R3 says that the group “is now the financial sector’s largest and most diverse commitment and investment to applying blockchain technology to financial markets.”

It added that the initial window for admittance of new bank members is now closed. An R3 public relations representative told FortuneZ that the current window will not include Russia’s Sberbank, which was reported last week to be interested in joining.

In a statement, R3 CEO David Rutter said that “there is increasing evidence to support” the notion that “distributed ledger technology has the potential to impact the financial services sector the way the Internet changed media and entertainment.”

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