A group of 40 major banks, including Goldman Sachs and Barclays, have tested a way to trade fixed income assets using the blockchain, the technology that underpins bitcoin, in a move that highlights how serious the world's biggest lenders are about the technology.
Financial technology firm R3 CEV, which brought together the banks last year to work on blockchain applications, announced the move Thursday.
Blockchain works like a huge, decentralized ledger for the digital currency bitcoin, recording every transaction and stores this information on a global network so it cannot be tampered with. However, most experts agree that the technology is not close to mass adoption and is still just in the trial phase.
The technology can be potentially be applied to wide array of uses and, for financial firms, some of the most interesting areas involve the clearing of trades. Experts say the blockchain will allow a large number of transactions to be settled in a matter of minutes or even seconds as well as being more secure, since each transaction is recorded and cannot be tampered with. At the moment, the process of settling some trades can take days.