As The Business Times reports IBM and the three largest banks in Australia have joined efforts to test retail financing by the technology of blockchain. The new product is a bank-guarantee platform that is used by shopkeepers. The platform has a shared database. If the project is successful, this will be the very first application of the blockchain technology in processing retail financing.
The three banks that are partnering for the project are Westpac Banking Corp, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. Again, as reported by The Business Times, these three banks will team up with the Westfield mall owner Scentre Group to test the use of IBM software to process financing contracts on the same network.
The process of retail financing is a rather “manual” one and usually happens on paper. For example, retailers use certain types of guarantees either on paper or issued manually to make sure that their landlord knows that they can pay their rent. Sales in this case do not matter that much as the assurance to the landlord must be guaranteed by these guarantees.
The partners on the project believe that the use of blockchain can actually streamline the manual process of issuing bank guarantees and make the entire process easier for all stakeholders. If the project is successful, although it is still in trial phase, this will be the first use of the technology in the retail financing space.
The Australian banks commented that while they do no envision the launch of a cryptocurrency, they will certainly consider it if the platform is successful:
If it made the platform more attractive, made it work faster and gave it some global scale, then we certainly wouldn’t rule out considering it in the future.