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A blockchain crowdfunding drive backed by French banking giants BNP Paribas has successfully completed its first development phase, according to news emerging from the company today.

Part of BNP Paribas’ Securities Services division, the blockchain is designed to enable parties to trade securities quickly and securely.

Shares in a high-profile banking client and a handful of startup clients of technology partner SmartAngels have already been integrated into the system, which BNP hopes could lead to more efficient, more cost-effective transactions in the future.

In completing the first phase of development, the platform is moving closer toward a workable model, with a wider rollout of the technology expected in the near future.

According to the BNP Paribas release detailing the news, the platform is designed to make it easier for both primary and secondary securities markets.

“The platform can be used to register transactions on the primary and secondary markets and is being designed to meet the needs of a wide client base, including issuers, shareholders, investors (business angels, venture and growth capital investors) and crowdfunding platforms, as well as lawyers, notaries, accountants and banks.”

The development could be hugely significant for securities trading, as well as for financial services more broadly — one of the key industries set to benefit from the blockchain and distributed ledger technology.

The technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether, the blockchain uses a network to spread transactional information, recording value in a decentralized ledger automatically and securely.

While the details of the specific technology being deployed are as yet unconfirmed, the successful development phase could inspire similar projects, with banks and financial services companies worldwide keen to leverage the benefits of blockchain technology.

The conclusion of the development phase comes a year after initial plans were announced, and several months beyond the initial scheduled completion date of the second half of 2016.

Blockchain applications for crowdfunding and raising capital are already proving popular across the board, with a raft of ICOs and other rights issues already being conducted on the technology.

With such explosive growth, even surpassing venture capital funding in blockchain technologies in recent months, the BNP Paribas blockchain could be well-timed to take advantage of this emerging space.