The South African Reserve Bank had run a proof of concept project in June 2018 called Project Khokha experimenting a distributed ledger technology-based wholesale payment system in a ‘real world’ environment. The trial, which the central bank later described as a success, found that the typical daily volume of the payments system could be processed in less than 2 hours with full confidentiality of transactions and settlement finality. The objectives of Project Khokha were to build on the initiatives previously undertaken by global peers and to gain further insights on DLT developments in a South African wholesale payment context. The project provided the opportunity to broaden the DLT skills base in the South African banking industry.
The central bank’s initiative had one very positive outcome. Today, all the major commercial banks in the country recognize the disruptive potential of the technology and have initiated pilot projects for a variety of use-cases. Blockchain is gaining acceptance and massive investments have happened. Experts say the country is at an inflection point and banks are now starting to explore some practical ways to apply the technology to real-world needs.
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