Bank Santander “real-money pilot” digitizes a $20 million bond trade on Ethereum

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  • Santander for the first time digitized the process of issuing bonds on a public blockchain.
  • The main area of focus for Santander remains to be fiat: There no plans to offer custody services for cryptocurrencies.

The Spanish banking behemoth Santander claims that it is the first financial institution to utilize a public blockchain in the entire process involved during the issuance of a bond. According to the communication from the bank on Thursday, an Ethereum token was used in the representation of a $20 million debt processing. What makes this particular process interesting is that another set of ERC-20 tokens were used to settle the same bond. All the tokens represented cash that was currently held in custody.

Similar bonds have been issued by Santander before using the blockchain technology but the processes were conducted on a private Ethereum protocol. According to Santander, it has become the first bank to digitize the entire process. However, Santander issued the bond to itself and no external investor was involved. The head of digital investment banking at Sanender John Whelan told CoinDesk:

“It’s an evolutionary step. There are no secondary markets yet, but we are on that path.”

The head of funding at Santander Antonio Torío refers to project as a “real-money pilot.”

“For Santander, this is really much more of a technology innovation issue than a pure financial issue. We regard this an important first step that will be followed by more complex transactions.”

The bank also clarified that it is not interested in offering custody services for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Whelan added:

“At the bank, we are not interested in cryptocurrencies directly. The technology is the same underneath, but we are interested and our customers are interested in traditional dollars, euros, pounds and that’s our space.”