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Top Australian banks join IBM, Scentre in blockchain project

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Australia's top three banks said on Thursday they have agreed to partner with IBM and shopping mall owner Scentre Group to test blockchain technology to digitise bank guarantees.

[BENGALURU] Australia's top three banks said on Thursday they have agreed to partner with IBM and shopping mall owner Scentre Group to test blockchain technology to digitise bank guarantees.

The companies are exploring how to move away from paper-based bank guarantees to cut processing time and the risk of fraud, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Westpac Banking Corp and Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a statement.

A new blockchain platform is being tested on a group of retail property leasing customers in an eight-week pilot programme.

"While the pilot is focussed on retail property leasing, this technology has the potential to benefit many sectors and reduce the risk of fraud across billions of dollars guaranteed by the banks," Didier Van Not, general manager corporate and institutional banking at Westpac, said in a statement.

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Blockchain is an automated, computerised system to share, verify and permanently record data.

The technology behind cryptocurrencies, has been gaining traction among mainstream businesses. Facebook plans to launch a new global cryptocurrency called Libra and Australian markets operator ASX is undertaking user development and testing. 

REUTERS