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R3, Accenture to develop blockchain-based settlement system

Ben Munster


Consultancy firm Accenture has partnered with blockchain consortium R3 and software giant SAP to build a prototype for a blockchain-based system designed to make one-to-one transfers of large sums of money easier.

The proposed platform “paves the way to linking to tokenized-assets, like equities, to create an increasingly integrated and seamless financial services ecosystem,” said John Velissarios, Accenture’s blockchain lead, in a statement.

The companies say blockchain technology can make “gross settlement”—unbundled transactions conducted between individuals in real time—quicker and cheaper. Generally these transactions involve large sums of money that the senders prefer not to transfer in batches alongside other transactions. Gross settlement can be expensive and slow; R3 et al believe they can do one better. 

The prototype will make use of stablecoins, fiat currency-pegged cryptographic tokens that are less volatile than regular cryptocurrencies. This helps to present the picture that the companies are working within the system rather than against it—something that Facebook’s Libra project has been struggling with. By doing so, the companies hope it will provide a better offering for those wanting to move large amounts of money.

It's a classic example of using blockchain technology as the backend for a product while keeping the word “blockchain” out of sight; something that's becoming more and more common.