Swiss global financial services company UBS announced on August 31, 2017, that six other banks will join its group working on the creation of a blockchain-based digital payment and settlement system that uses a "utility settlement coin" (USC), which will be a digital cash equivalent of every major fiat currency backed by central banks.
London-based blockchain company Clearmatics joined UBS to launch the initiative in September of 2015. The new partners, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, HSBC, MUFG, and State Street, add their experience and resources to those already pooled by the existing members, which include BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, Santander, and brokerage ICAP.
USC is designed to be convertible with a bank deposit in a corresponding real currency. The token could thus be spent in the same manner as fiat currency.
UBS acknowledged blockchain technology's ability to automatically process and settle transactions without the necessity of third-party verification, thus making payments “faster, more reliable, and easier to audit.”
The group is currently in discussions with central banks, and expects to launch by the end of 2018.