ANZ Bank will work with other financial institutions and technology companies to develop an enterprise-grade distributed ledger framework based on blockchain, the transaction tracking technology underpinning crypto-currency Bitcoin.
Called The Open Ledger Project, the effort was announced by the not-for-profit Linux Foundation organisation, which steers the development of the open source Linux kernel for operating systems.
According to ANZ CTO Patrick Maes, the bank decided to particpate in the open ledger project as there is currently no industry accepted, enterprise-grade blockchain framework that is fit for the finance industry.
"Our objectives around blockchain initiatives are that we will seek to learn, explore and contribute to the development of a global framework with our ecosystem partners, and ANZ is uniquely placed in this regard since we operate in 34 markets," Maes said in a statement.
The bank believes blockchain technology will improve the customer experience and potentially deliver productivity gains by solving real business challenges when it comes to payments and correspondent banking, Nigel Dobson, ANZ's general manager of payments transformation said.
ANZ will be joined by Germany's Deutsche Börse share exchange, the SWIFT interbank global funds transfer system, the London Stock Exchange Group, banks JP Morgan and Wells Fargo and State STreet.
Tech firms IBM, Intel, VMware, Fujitsu and others have also hopped aboard The Open Ledger Project.
Blockchain is a digital ledger that can be used to create secure, cost-efficient business networks that do not require a centralised point of control. Linux Foundation said "virtually anything of value can be traded and tracked" quickly and efficiently.
Financial software company R3 will contribute a new transaction architectural network to the Open Ledger Project, and IBM will provide tens of thousands of lines of existing code, as well as corresponding intellectual property.
Digital Asset Holdings will contribute the Hyperledger mark, which will be used as the project name, and enterprise grade code and developer resources.
Linux Foundation will set up technical steering committees to manage the contributions and to further develop blockcahin.
Financial institutions and software houses have shown plenty of interest in blockchain technology lately.
Commonwealth Bank and NAB are both involved a project, led by R3, to trial blockchain.
Westpac this week also joined the consortium.
The Australian banks and 20 global peers such as Goldman Sachs, Barclays, JP Morgan, Royal Bank of Scotland and Credit Suisse look to blockchain as a way to make their operations more efficient, transparent and faster.
In November this year, Microsoft launched a cloud-based blockchain platform with startup ConsensYs, for banks and financial institutions using the company's Azure platform.