Telstra – CBA blockchain project tipped
(8 April 2019 - Australia) Telstra and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) are suggested to have joined forces in recent months for a conceptual blockchain project seeking to enhance security for high-value online transactions.
Branded as an “electronic escrow” service in patent information, the project is believed to apply distributed ledger technology (DLT) in order to give customers additional guarantees when executing large sized transactions. Telstra and CBA have provided minimal external guidance about the project or their tie-up, with Telstra and CBA declining to comment because it was too early to discuss. CFOs, corporate treasurers and bankers on syndicated loan desks have noted the CBA has been conspicuously absent from many recent deals. Among the crack team assembled for the project are an emerging technology specialist and an internet-of-things (IoT) software engineer.
It is unclear whether the CBA and Telstra project is related to a partnership announced between the two groups and Ericsson to trial 5G edge computing, which also includes decentralised computer systems to deliver data rich services on a fraction of the infrastructure. In announcing the tie-up on February 25, Telstra said the project with CBA and Ericsson would enhance existing processes such as identification and would support new applications such as artificial intelligence (AI). The Bank said the technology would provide “better experiences” for customers and “enhance the availability, stability and performance” of the network for the banks. CBA recently announced the successful application of blockchain to monitor a shipment of goods to Germany for Pacific National and Patrick. In 2018 the World Bank requested CBA apply that DLT technology for bond issuance. The World Bank indicated that the traditional wait time of T+2 days could be reduced to T+2 minutes using blockchain. The project follows a similar partnership between Telstra and NAB called ‘Proquo’. Telstra and the bank’s NAB Labs division developed the tool, which allows small business to buy, swap or sell services.
Last week ANZ announced it was working with regulators in Hong Kong, Singapore and China to digitise trade finance through blockchain technology, a move that will enable banks to make faster lending decisions and regulators to better monitor international capital flows. ANZ is one of several banks to collaborate on the ‘eTradeConnect’ platform, which allows importers and exporters to make purchase orders and invoices with relevant data connectivity directly to banks in order to streamline complex financing decisions.