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6 banks in new digital currency project

Six of the world’s largest banks have come together in a project to create a new form of digital cash. The new system is expected to be launched in 2018 for clearing and settling financial transactions over blockchain. The banks – Barclays, Credit Suisse, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, HSBC, MUFG and State Street – have teamed up to work on the ‘utility settlement coin’, created by Switzerland’s UBS to make financial markets more efficient. The project has reached a new phase of development in which the members aim to deepen discussions with central banks and to work on tightening up its data privacy and cyber security protections. Hyder Jaffrey, head of strategic investment and fintech innovation at UBS, said the bank is in discussions with central banks and regulators and it will continue that over the next 12 months with the aim of a limited ‘go live’ at the back end of 2018. The utility settlement coin, based on a product developed by Clearmatics Technologies, aims to let financial groups pay each other or to buy securities, such as bonds and equities, without waiting for traditional money transfers to be completed. Instead they would use digital coins that are directly convertible into cash at central banks, cutting the time, cost and capital required in post-trade settlement and clearing. The coins, each convertible into different currencies, would be stored using blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, allowing them to be swapped quickly for the financial securities being traded. Existing members of the project are Deutsche Bank, Banco Santander, BNY Mellon and NEX.

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