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Blockchain As A Service: Italian Banks Are Experimenting With A New Format

Vsevolod Gnetii

Very soon in Italy blockchain technology can enter “as a service" in a package of proposals for customer service in the Italian interbank system. Initially, it is planned to introduce blockchain to verify the compliance of banks in pairs. The experiment is launched by 14 Italian banks under the leadership of AbiLab, an innovative laboratory operating under the auspices of the Italian Banking Association (ABI).

Gianfranco TORRIERO, deputy general director of the Italian Banking Association (ABI), commenting on the innovation, stated in an interview with Il Sole 24 ore, the financial and economic edition of the Italian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (Confindustria): "A pilot project means a concrete experiment in the sphere of a specific process without direct involvement of the clientele, which can prove the effective potential of the blockchain, creating the conditions for the introduction of the system into other processes of banking activity.”

An experiment based on the Corda project, powered by Dlt technology developed by R3 in collaboration with Ntt Data for application development and Sia cryptographic platform, which provided the infrastructure, can be launched at the end of the year. Other banks can join the process.

The financial sector in general, and the banking sector in particular, are the most promising areas for the practical application of blockchain technology that is provided to the clientele, i.e. to the final consumer, as a service. A group of European financial and credit institutions is ready to launch a back office process platform. Despite the fact that the driving vector of blockchain technology is guided specifically by the financial sector, the process includes the real sector of the economy, namely industrial production.

The most costly is the preparation and management of the chain: the initial experimental part requires investments of tens of thousands of euros, which is far from being possible for all enterprises. Especially in view of the fact that the current level of development of blockchain technology does not guarantee reliable and clearly defined benefits.

In addition, there is a general distrust of innovative technology, including potential benefits. According to Massimo Chiriatti, the client's technical manager of IBM's Italian branch, “Blokchain is still a relatively immature technology and it is difficult for small businesses to understand it and make a significant investment in research and development. The solution to the problem may be the identification of a method for fitting and standardizing solutions, but the market chain effect can also work when small customers join the network and the solutions applied to the larger existing operators within which they are included as nodes.”

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