UPDATED 02:34 EDT / JUNE 09 2015

NEWS

Westpac, ANZ trial Ripple’s Blockchain ledger system, but say no to Bitcoin, for now

Two of Australia’s top 4 banks, The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ,) and Westpac Banking Corp., have joined the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd. in trialling Ripple Labs, Inc.’s Bitcoin inspired Blockchain ledger system for payment tracking.

Westpac is reported to be further along with its trial, with the bank telling The Australian Financial Review that it is currently in the early stages of a proof of concept, with staff making low-value international payments to two other countries.

ANZ, however, is yet to have actually started running a trial, but instead is said to be progressing in talks with Ripple on how “the potential benefits the model could offer its customers.”

Of note ANZ and Westpac appear to be looking at using Ripple’s platform for tracking customer payments, whereas Commonwealth is testing the platform for payment settlements between its subsidiaries.

Westpac’s General Manager of Global Transactional Services Rachel Slade told the paper that they had been encouraged with the trial so far, along with its ability to track payments, while insuring the bank remains compliant with anti-money laundering laws.

“The solution we’ve developed is faster than other alternatives in the market today, providing same or next-day payment. This technology could be very beneficial to all Australians, providing a low-cost and fast method of sending low-value payments overseas,” Ms Slade said.

Unlike the Commonwealth, ANZ and Westpac told the paper that they did not have an interest in entering the Bitcoin space, due to “regulatory concerns,” or, in other words, the fact that Bitcoin is unregulated.

Slade did note that Westpac is, however, watching the space.

Rippa for Ripple

For Ripple, it’s another step in their efforts to extend the use of its Ripple Protocol, based on the Bitcoin Blockchain, out further into mainstream financial institutions.

These new potential deals demonstrate the different ways the Blockchain ledger can be used across financial services, particularly not only providing regulatory compliance, but as in the case with Westpac, actually exceeding or more strongly enforcing compliance requirements.

These banks may not be well known well outside of Australia, but the three here are all top 20 global banks by market capitalization, so their use of Ripple’s platform will be noticed by other banks.

Based in San Francisco, Ripple Labs is backed to the tune of $34.4 million with an investor list that includes Crypto Currency Partners, RRE Ventures, Route 66 Ventures, Core Innovation Capital, Bitcoin Opportunity Fund, China Rock Capital, Camp One Ventures, Google Ventures, IDG Capital Partners and others.

Image credit: suburbanbloke/Flickr/CC by 2.0

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