Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest bank by asset size, has entered into a partnership with the entire company distributed ledger technology project Hedera Hashgraph.
According to a joint statement, the African banking giant has now joined other large companies such as Google, LG and IBM as a member of Hedera’s board.
Standard Bank will also be the operator of the contract for Hedera, the first in Africa, which focuses on exploiting DLT to eliminate bottlenecks in cross-border trade across the continent.
Across Africa, innovation in domestic ATMs is creating faster and more efficient transaction systems. However, this progress has not yet become a landscape of cross-border payment transactions with stable currencies, which have already been identified as potential to address these challenges.
For Ian Potter, head of DLT and Blockchain at Standard Bank Group, the partnership with Hedera is part of the bank’s focus on leveraging decentralized technology to improve cross-border trade in Africa.
Potter told Cointelegraph that the bank views DLT as a viable basis for cross-border support in Africa and also connects the continent with partners in key markets such as China, adding:
“We have completed [Concept Guides], we have solutions in production, and we are collaborating with these parties to scale up and use these solutions for cross-border trade. Our primary goal is to continue exploring and experimenting with this technology as it rapidly evolves through partnerships and leverages existing solutions to accelerate adoption and expansion.
Potter highlighted the growing interest in central banks’ digital currencies, or CBDCs, as an indicator that DLT-based technology could disrupt the global business process.
According to Hedera chief Mans Harmon, Africa is ready to take the lead in DLT and tells Cointelegraph:
“With services such as M-Pesa already being used on a large scale, we see a willingness from African companies to implement new technology such as blockchain and distributed management technology to meet customers’ changing needs. In addition to financial services / DeFi, we also see great interest from companies in the region to use DLT. Use in healthcare, energy management, identification and supply chains.