World Bank and Australia's Largest Bank Issue Bond Exclusively Through Blockchain
The World Bank and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), the country’s largest bank, have issued a public bond exclusively through blockchain technology, Reuters reports August 23. The World’s Bank official mandate for the project was first unveiled August 10.
The A$100 million ($73.16 million) deal entails two-year bonds that will settle August 28 and have been been priced to yield a 2.251 percent return, according a CBA statement.
The prototype -- dubbed “Bondi” (Blockchain Operated New Debt Instrument, and a pun on Australia’s most well-known beach) -- is being hailed by the participants as a milestone in automating decades-old bond issuance and sales practices. Reuters cites CBA executive general manager, James Wall, as saying that:
“You’re collapsing a traditional bond issuance from a manual bookbuild process and allocation process, an extended settlement then a registrar and a custodian, into something that could happen online instantaneously.”
As Reuters notes, Word Bank bonds are classified with an AAA rating -- the highest possible rating that indicates a high level of creditworthiness. The bank reportedly issues between $50 and $60 billion in bonds annually to foster economic progress in the developing world.
As Cointelegraph has reported, this May, Sberbank CIB -- the corporate and investment banking arm of Russia’s largest bank Sberbank -- conducted the first blockchain-based commercial bond transaction in Russia.
The transaction was completed in partnership with leading local telecoms firm MTS and the National Settlement Depository (NSD), and entailed the smart-contract enabled issuance of MTS corporate bonds for the value of RUB 750 billion ($12 million) with 6-month maturity.
In Australia, major initiatives are underway to integrate blockchain across both the government and the financial sector. This July, IBM signed a five-year AU$1 billion ($740 million) deal with the Australian government to use blockchain and other new technologies to improve data security and automation across federal departments, including defense and home affairs.
As of December last year, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has been working to implement blockchain technology to replace its current system for processing equity transactions, a project that Reuters today notes is slated to be completed by 2020.