BBVA joins Linux Foundation's blockchain project

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The Spanish banking group BBVA has joined a major international project to establish common standards for blockchain technology, the bank announced Monday.

Led by the nonprofit Linux Foundation, the open-source project, known as Hyperledger, seeks to ensure that blockchain implementations are compatible both within and across industries.

As a member, BBVA agrees to share its code and expertise, in return for which it gains access to Hyperledger engineers in its efforts to apply blockchain technology to financial services. It will also have the chance to form partnerships with other members, a group that includes organizations as different as American Express, the Bank of England and Thomson Reuters.

"Being a Hyperledger partner is an important step forward in BBVA's blockchain strategy, as it allows us to participate in the most relevant open-source communities in the industry and collaborate with companies from a wide range of sectors," Carlos Kuchkovsky, BBVA's chief technology officer of new digital business, said in a release on the bank's website.
Lately it seems as if every major financial services company has its own blockchain initiative, laboratory or working group. Increasingly, companies in other industries are following suit.

As blockchain projects have proliferated, the need for "interoperability"—the ability for various blockchains, both public and private, to play nice with one another—has become paramount.

That is where Hyperledger comes in.

"We believe that Hyperledger will be fundamental to ensuring standardization and interoperability in the different technologies and platforms that will make blockchain a powerful tool that will transform business processes and social relationships," Kuchkovsky said.

Hyperledger has participated in a number of blockchain proofs of concept, and is aiming to launch production-ready applications of the technology later this year, according to Brian Behlendorf, the project's executive director.

In joining Hyperledger, BBVA can now count itself a participant in the most prominent coalitions devoted to distributed ledger technology. It is already a member of R3, a global consortium of banks that aims to apply blockchain technology to financial markets, and of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance.

BBVA is the parent of Birmingham, Ala.-based BBVA Compass Bancshares, the holding company of BBVA Compass, one of the largest banks in the United States.

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