German central bank sees positive results from blockchain settlement trials

German central bank sees positive results from blockchain settlement trials

Deutsche Bundesbank and Deutche Bourse are backing the application of blockchain technology in the settlement arena, following a successful trial run using Hyperledger Fabric and the Digital Asset platform.

Developed over a two-year period, the prototypes functioned as a sandbox for testing blockchain-based securities settlement including the full lifecycle of bond issuance, settlement, corporate actions, redemption as well as cash transfer including provisioning of digital coins, transfer between market participants and settlement of cash payments.

The German central bank says the trials showed that both prototypes are suitable for the "productive operation of a realistic financial market infrastructure" and can serve as a basis for further development, noting that the Digital Asset Platform and the Hyperledger Fabric have had subsequent releases which may even improve the performance.

Burkhard Balz, member of the executive board of Deutsche Bundesbank, says: “During this project, Deutsche Bundesbank and Deutsche Börse learned a lot about the usage of this technology and its concrete implementation. We expect the rapid development to continue, and also see the potential in using it for high-volume applications. The approach of a permissioned architecture, which takes into account the requirements of the financial sector from the outset, has proven to be right.”

A final report on the outcome of the trials has yet to generate any conclusions over whether DLT-based financial infrastructures offer a material advantage over existing centralised systems.

"Potential disadvantages for DLT-based solutions may be among others high latency (for some technology stacks) and high CPU-usage," notes the report. "Potential advantages may be among others higher resiliency and lower cost of reconciliation due to the joint data base. The importance of these aspects will differ according to the specific use-case under consideration. Further studies have to reveal for each use-case whether a DLT-based solution may be the beneficial technology"

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