The World Bank has chosen Commonwealth Bank of Australia to be the sole arranger of the world’s first blockchain bond.
The blockchain bond dubbed bond-i will be created, allocated, transferred and managed using distributed ledger technology or blockchain, which is the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum. The World Bank said that investor interest in bond-i, which stands for blockchain operated new debt instrument, has been strong with plans to launch the transaction following consultation with more investors. The World Bank didn’t provide a date for when the blockchain based bond will launch. Bond-i is also a nod to Bondi Beach in Sydney. (See more: Which Industries Will Blockchain Disrupt Next?)
Blockchain To Streamline Processes In Capital Markets
According to the World Bank blockchain has the potential to streamline processes in debt capital markets, making it easier to raise capital and trade securities. It also improves operational efficiencies and enhances regulatory oversight, the World Bank said in a press release announcing the new bond. It noted that it issues anywhere from $50 billion to $60 billion in bonds annually and prides itself on being an innovator in the capital markets. It pointed to the fact that it was the first to issue a bond in a global format in September of 1989 and was the first to launch an e-bond in January of 2000. “We believe that emerging technologies, equally offer transformative, yet prudent possibilities for us to continue to innovate, respond to investor needs and strengthen markets,” Arunma Oteh, World Bank Treasurer, said in the prepared remarks. Oteh noted that the World Bank has been working with Commonwealth Bank of Australia for several months on the initiative and is now in the position to launch its first blockchain bond transaction.
(See more: How Blockchain Can Protect the Global Economy.)
Blockchain Getting More Uses
The bond-i blockchain platform was built and developed by the CBA Blockchain Centre of Excellence. A private Ethereum-based blockchain is being used for the efforts but CBA said it could look at other options as this area of blockchain takes off. “We know blockchain has the potential to revolutionize financial services and markets, and this transaction is a significant step towards that future state,”Sophie Gilder, head of Blockchain, Innovation Labs, CBA in the press release. The move on the part of Commonwealth Bank of Australia comes as the Australian Securities Exchange is gearing up in 2020 to start using blockchain to clear and settle equity trades in an effort to save money.