Illinois has become the first regulatory jurisdiction to join the R3 Consortium, a global conglomerate of banks and partners aimed at Blockchain-related research.

The US state’s regulator, The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, said the move would “provide the support necessary to ensure the commercial and social viability” of so-called “distributed ledger” technology (DLT).

DLT, which has come to be the catchphrase for private, more centralized Blockchains being studied by banks, is a key focus of R3.

Illinois Secretary Bryan Schneider commented on the decision:

“As Illinois’ financial regulator, we are committed to embracing the potential that distributed ledger technologies bring to our financial institutions. Its potential to dramatically lower transactional costs, automate manual processes, and reduce opportunities for fraud and risk are truly promising. Through our collaboration with R3, we look to provide the support necessary to ensure the commercial and social viability of this emerging technology.”

The Prairie State has previously taken a constructive view on virtual currency regulation. Plans have included a broad wait-and-see attitude among regulators, given Bitcoin’s still fairly early stage of growth.

“...At this point in time digital currencies like Bitcoin, given their low transaction volume and relatively niche use, are best viewed as a speculative investment or possibly even a new type of asset class, not as money,” Schneider said during a public consultation on the topic last December.

R3, meanwhile, has recently found itself in hot water over allegations it is divorcing itself from Blockchain technology altogether.