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New blockchain innovation group aims to boost awareness of the technology

The blockchain industry is looking to gain a global voice with the formation of a new blockchain advocacy group.

The Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC), being launched by blockchain technology company Bitfury Group and international law-firm Covington, aims to bring business leaders together and highlight the latest blockchain innovations.

The council is launching around this year's World Economic Forum in Davos later this month and will host representatives from EY, Overstock and the China Mergers and Acquisitions Association.

"The GBBC will provide a much-needed forum for businesses, innovators and technologists to come together and explore the many opportunities that blockchain technology has to offer," said Valery Vavilov, CEO of the Bitfury Group, in a press release.

"This is a crucial step in the global advancement of blockchain technology."

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Blockchain was developed alongside the digital cryptocurrency bitcoin. It works like a huge, decentralized ledger that records and stores transaction information on a global network in order to prevent tampering.

The problem for blockchain is that many businesses and executives still do not understand it. A Deloitte survey conducted last year of 308 senior executives at large U.S. companies found that 39 percent of respondents had little or no knowledge about the technology.

"The GBBC seeks to educate business leaders on blockchain technology, support businesses interested in implementing blockchain technology to advance their goals, and provide a forum for businesses and technology experts to collaborate on blockchain-based business solutions," Jamie Smith, Bitfury Group's global chief communications and marketing officer and co-chair of the World Economic Forum's Future Council on Blockchain, told CNBC via email.

"There is a tremendous need for a global body dedicated to educating and connecting relevant parties in the blockchain and business worlds. The GBBC aims to fill that role."

However, there is already someone in the blockchain industry providing a similar service to GBBC. R3 is a start-up founded in 2015, and has brought some of the world's biggest banks together to explore applications of blockchain technology for finance.

But it has encountered some problems. Goldman Sachs and Banco Santander, both original members of the consortium, declined to renew their memberships last year.

"The GBBC and R3 are quite different and a comparison wouldn't be apt," Smith explained via email. "Apples and oranges, so to speak. We created the GBBC for the ecosystem because nothing like it exists."

"I don't want to speak for R3 but they are a firm that is developing blockchain for bank-specific use cases (e.g. clearing, settlement)."

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