The State Bank of India (SBI) plans to beta test a Blockchain-based smart contracts system that was developed by the BankChain consortium in December 2017. The consortium, which was launched in February, is composed of 27 banks that aim to develop Blockchain solutions for the banking industry in the country.

According to SBI’s head of innovation, Sudin Baraokar, the smart contracts will be tested for “simple things” like nondisclosure agreements. He added that majority of their internal processes can be accomplished using the technology.

"A lot of internal processes can be contracted. We do a lot of IT procurement, a lot of it can be implemented using Blockchain."

SBI’s planned innovation center and BankChain initiatives

According to Baraokar, the state bank also plans to establish an innovation hub in Mumbai. The center will be used to conduct research and development (R&D) on new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and Blockchain technology. The facility is also designed to host hackathons and incubate startups. The proposed center is currently in the design phase and it is scheduled to be launched in mid-2018.

Meanwhile, the BankChain consortium has launched the know your customer (KYC) platform dubbed ClearChain in May 2017. The platform is intended to enable banks to share data of their customers among their members. Among the information that can be shared are data on wire transfers and investigatory reports, including Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR).

The BankChain consortium was established in February 2017. SBI was the first member of the group. So far, the organization already has 22 Indian banks including DCB Bank, Axis Bank, and ICICI Bank, as well as five Middle East-based banks as members.