Indian Banks Team Up With Microsoft To Explore Blockchain

A consortium of Indian banks exploring applications of blockchain technology have confirmed they have chosen Microsoft as their official technology partner.

The consortium, which includes the likes of ICICI Bank, State Bank of India and DCB Bank, announced they would develop applications in partnership with Microsoft and their Azure protocol, after reaching an agreement that will shape the direction of their exploration of the technology.

The Microsoft Azure system will be used to house nodes, which will communicate transactional information across the distributed network.

The 20 partner organisations, which announced their collaboration only last month, will develop their blockchain technology on the back of the Azure platform, with technical support from Microsoft to help develop effective working models.

The first project that will be developed on the system is designed to streamline KYC obligations. KYC, or Know-Your-Customer regulations are amongst some of the most administration-intensive burdens on banks and financial services companies, designed to help prevent money laundering and other financial crimes.

The system will make it easier for member banks to share KYC information during the client onboarding process, saving on duplication of work across the industry and leading to potentially significant time and cost savings in the process.

The KYC tool will be developed by Primechain Technologies, a Mumbai based company with expertise in developing for the blockchain. It is thought to be the first of many blockchain projects slated for development by the consortium, which aims ultimately to overhaul the systems and processes used across India’s financial sector.

Microsoft has supported blockchain development through its Azure platform since 2015, with several high profile partners already having developed applications on their blockchain-as-a-service infrastructure.

Partners have included the likes of JP Morgan, Bitshares and Emercoin, all of whom have used the Azure platform as a sandbox-style development environment for creating blockchains and derivative solutions.

While the Indian banks’ initial system remains in the early phases of testing, analysts are hoping it could come to have a significant impact on the member banks involved, with opportunities for developing numerous other applications of the distributed ledger technology in the months and years to come.