The Bank of England announced Sept. 16 that it’s upgrading the payments systems that move over $600 billion a day for British traders and banks. By 2020, the Real-Time Gross Settlement system will be made more easily accessible by smaller institutions, and constantly online, instead of only during working hours, Reuters reported.
In a sign of how important blockchain–the technical idea underpinning cryptocurrencies like bitcoin–has become, a key part of the plan is to make sure the new system works with “distributed ledgers,” another term for the technology. “The new RTGS service must be capable of interfacing with a range of new technologies being used in the private sector, including distributed ledgers, if they achieve critical mass,” the Bank of England’s proposal for the changes said. The UK’s central bank has been among the most active in exploring uses for blockchain, and governor talked about the technology in a draft of his speech. “If distributed ledger technology could provide a more efficient way for private sector firms to deliver payments and settle securities, why not apply it to the core of the payments system itself?” a transcript of the speech (pdf) said.