Italian banks to use blockchain to improve efficiency

The Italian Banking Association (ABI) has announced that Italian banks will be turning to blockchain technology for reconciliations. The initiative will kick off in March 2020 and will be the first use of blockchain technology for banks in the country, a report by Finextra revealed.

The move is part of the ABI’s Spunta Project. The project is managed by the association’s research and innovation arm, ABI Labs. The Spunta Project is designed to foster the development and use of blockchain technology in the country’s banking industry.

The ABI intends to boost the full visibility of the transactions between banks with the new blockchain system. The system will also enable daily reconciliations for the banks as opposed to the current setup where these reconciliations are conducted monthly. Additionally, the ABI hopes to foster more effective communication “between counterparties in the event of an exception.”

The announcement comes after the ABI released the results of its survey on the use of IT in the country’s banking sector. The survey revealed that banks had increased their investments in IT by 5.7% in 2018. It also found that close to 90% of the banks had either matched their 2018 IT budget this year or exceeded it.

The Spunta Project kicked off in February 2019, in partnership with R3’s Corda platform, Japanese IT giant NTT Data and Italian decentralized cloud storage platform Sia. 18 banks participated, representing over 75% of the Italian banking sector in terms of the number of employees. ABI revealed at the time that it was seeking to further refine its algorithms and create reliable reports for auditors.

Italy has strived to keep up with its peers including the U.K. and Germany in blockchain development. In December, the Italian government announced that it had assembled 30 experts to help formulate the strategy for blockchain development in the country. The experts included lawyers, academics, scientists and business people.

The Italian Prime Minister has also previously expressed his belief that blockchain technology will be one of the forces that shape the future. He stated, “Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain are destined to radically change our lives, the society in which we live and the economic and productive fabric of the country. We have to decide which way to go.”

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