In a world first, a blockchain bond has been mandated by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) via the World Bank.
The CBA will be the sole arranger of the bond which will be “created, allocated, transferred and managed using blockchain technology” according to the press release this week. The ‘Kangaroo Bond’ refers to foreign bonds issued in Australia in local currency, AUD. It has been termed ‘bond-i’ which is an acronym for Blockchain Offered New Debt Instrument. It also takes reference from Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach.
When is has been launched launched the bond will be issued and distributed on the blockchain operated by the World Bank and the CBA in Washington and Sydney. The two banks are using a private Ethereum blockchain but they are open to alternatives as other blockchain projects are developing rapidly and may serve to me more suitable as the initiative grows.
According to the press release the two organizations have been in close partnership for many years and the World Banks’s 70 year track record on innovation will be leveraged. Executive General Manager of Institutional Banking & Markets International CBA, James Wall, said
“We take a collaborative approach to innovating and have a track record of partnering with other leading financial institutions, government bodies and corporates to innovate through blockchain. We believe that this transaction will be groundbreaking as a demonstration of how blockchain technology can act as a facilitating platform for different participants,” Before adding “We are delighted to have partnered with the World Bank and fully support its vision of making innovative use of technology such as blockchain to increase the efficiency of financing solutions to better achieve their goal to end extreme poverty.”
The World Bank issues between US$50-60 billion annually in bonds for sustainable development as part of its mandate to reduce poverty. It added that investor interest in the bond so far had been very strong. The partnership will also leverage the CBA’s globally recognized Blockchain Centre of Excellence which is based in the Sydney Innovation Labs. Head of Blockchain at CBA, Sophie Guilder, added;
“We know blockchain has the potential to revolutionise financial services and markets, and this transaction is a significant step towards that future state. By working collaboratively with the World Bank, we were able to find solutions to technical and legal considerations to make this ground breaking transaction a reality.”
While banks are generally against cryptocurrencies which, as a decentralized form of finance, go against their business models. They are very enthusiastic about the underlying blockchain technology on which most digital assets are based. Blockchain projects and partnerships in the financial sector are likely to grow rapidly over the coming years as the technology becomes mainstream.