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ECB, Bank of Japan partner for distributed ledger technology research

Published 07 December 2016

The European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of Japan have announced to launch a joint research project to study the possible use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) for market infrastructure.

The banks expect to release the findings of the project next year.

The study aims to help define how new technologies can change the global financial ecosystem.

ECB Executive Board Member Yves Mersch said: “It cannot be stressed enough that any technology-based market infrastructure service needs to be mature enough to meet high requirements in terms of safety and efficiency.

“These requirements are taken very seriously by the ECB, not only in its role as operator but also as one of the European authorities overseeing the safety of financial markets.”

Mersch said that the ECB has decided to cooperate with the Bank of Japan to explore the potential future use of DLT for central banking services in a more global context.

Recently, a DLT task force has also been established within the ECB as part of the post-trade harmonisation agenda.

The objective of the task force is to ascertain the potential impact on DLT on harmonization.

Mersch said: “New technologies will have a profound impact on the financial market. It is essential that these technologies are explored, analysed and tested to ensure that tomorrow’s market infrastructure is not only efficient and innovative but also remains safe and resilient.”

In June, the Bank of Canada also embarked on a study to weigh the potential of blockchain technology in interbank payments.

For the study, the bank partnered with R3 CEV, a consortium of major global banks, and the Canadian Payments Association.

The Canadian central bank said that they are studying the technology to create an interbank payment system to replace existing legacy systems.

Image:Frankfurt am Main: Building complex of the European Central Bank as seen from North-West (December 2014). Photo courtesy of Epizentrum.