The applications of blockchain technology in the financial world are a subject that has occupied investors, bank owners and officials, governments, clients, and potential customers. In the past few hours, another alliance has been formed to look for innovative solutions and keep up with modern times.

BBVA and Banco Santander, two of the biggest financial institutions in Spain, will join a European Union joint blockchain platform that is scheduled to be launched next year, according to reports from a Spanish economic publication called Expansion.

Meet IATBA, the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications

The E.U. project is called the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (IATBA.) Mariya Gabriel, who is the commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, and Roberto Viola, currently functioning as the Chief of the E.U. Department of Communications Networks, Content and Technology, were the hosts of a recent roundtable discussion in Belgium, and officials from the two Spanish banks accepted an invitation.

The IATBA will see the daylight in 2019’s Q1, and Expansion did not provide a precise date. After the meeting in Brussels, details were provided about the joint project: it has, as a primary goal, to come up with E.U. blockchain regulation and set the table for the launch of E.U. wide blockchain applications.

The IATBA is a project that intends to host more financial institutions in addition to BBVA and Banco Santander. In fact, the two Spanish multinational enterprises are among the first five banks to receive an invitation to join the association, with the other three names not yet public.

The European Blockchain Partnership is the organization promoting IATBA. The former represents a strategic pact in which 27 nations of the European Union currently participate. Some of them are the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and France.

Developing a European Blockchain Services Infrastructure

The main objective of the European Blockchain Partnership is to develop “a European–Blockchain-Services Infrastructure that will support the delivery of cross-border digital public services, with the highest standards of security and privacy.”

BBVA, through its CEO, has previously stated that there are some notorious challenges and limitations in the use of blockchain technology, but that has not stopped the company from taking part of the IATBA initiative or from testing out several blockchain solutions in recent times. For example, BBVA formed a partnership with Repsol, an energy firm also hailing from Spain, in their quest to develop blockchain-based products such as Ethereum and Hyperledger.

BBVA also provided a $150 million loan to a private blockchain network through three funding financial institutions, joining and Japanese Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) and French BNP Paribas.

Not to be left behind, Santander has also shown marked interest in the blockchain and decentralized technologies and platforms. In the month of July, the international bank was one of five financial institutions to join IBM’s blockchain platform, also putting together a research team that intended to determine the possible applications of the model in trading securities.

By Andres Chavez


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