The Associazione Bancaria Italiana (ABI), Italy's national banking association, has moved into a "pre-production" phase of an interbank blockchain solution that ended its first round of pilot testing in September 2018. According to a report from FinTech news outlet Finextra, the initial group of 14 Italian banks has grown to 18 in the newest phase of the project, representing 78 percent of the Italian banking sector in terms of the number of employees.
ETHNews covered the September 2018 announcement that the project, dubbed Spunta, had established a basis for the implementation of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) into an interbanking system. Spunta, using R3's Corda blockchain technology, is meant to help improve on the "complex discrepancies" managed between banks, including "transparency and visibility of information, greater speed of execution of operations, and the possibility of checks and exchanges directly on the applications."
With last year's tests achieving "positive results," the pre-production phase will see further development on how infra-group reconciliations are managed and how to create reliable reports for auditors. ABI also plans to simulate the production of the Italian banking sector to test the platform's stability by replicating transaction volumes for an entire year.
Italy has been hard at work recently within the world of blockchain technology and governmental regulation. In December 2018, Italy joined six other European Union countries in an agreement to promote the use of DLT in their regions. The group of seven countries believes the technology "may lead to more cooperation in the Mediterranean basin," and that the "promotion of privacy" through blockchain technology will help "[empower] citizens to be in control of their own personal data."
Earlier this month, the Italian parliament passed a bill defining DLT and blockchain criteria for legal validity within the country. The bill also established that digital records stored on a blockchain, including EDCCs (aka smart contracts), will be understood as legally binding.