Taiwan Taipei blockchain

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The Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank, a private commercial Taiwanese bank, has reportedly launched a blockchain-powered payments system for retail usage, a first in the country.

According to a local report by the Taipei Times, the private-sector bank announced the deployment of the payment system for local restaurants and merchants on Sunday after commencing development of the platform in March 2017. Specifically, the bank is rolling out the blockchain payments system in merchant establishments and eateries near theNational Chengchi University, a national research university based in the country’s capital.

The bank first inked a partnership with the university in March 2017, announcing a joint-project dubbed the ‘Key Technology and Engineering R&D for Blockchain Payment Network’. During trials at the university’s own campus, the blockchain payment platform helped transaction volumes among participating merchants selling lunch-time meals to students grow four-fold.

According to a local report, the payments platform runs on the Ethereum blockchain by utilizing the Istanbul Byzantine Fault Tolerance algorithm, enabling it to scale and drastically reduce transaction times and costs.

The bank contends that transaction settlement times take less than a second on the network, underlining the benefits of adopting a blockchain-powered system. Further, merchants will also be able to verify transaction records in real-time with each transaction encrypted and recorded in an immutable distributed ledger, increasing overall efficiency.

The entire project took six months before the bank began integrating the system in October 2017 before going live as a payments platform around the university in recent weeks.

Taipei is also adopting a ‘smart-city’ initiative with blockchain technology.

While the deployment of the payments platform is relatively limited in its current scope to businesses near the university, the development comes at a time when Taiwan’s new central bank governor stressed the authority would keep “an open mind” to new technologies including researching blockchain technology for the country’s payments infrastructure.

“The Bank will also try to explore the feasibility of enhancing the security and efficiency of payments systems using decentralized blockchain technology,” incoming governor Yang Chin-long said earlier this year while being sworn in.

Taipei city authorities have already announced their intention to use blockchain technology in order to turn the city’s capital into a “smart city” with a number of applications in areas including healthcare, electric vehicle charging using feeless micropayments, monitoring air quality for pollution levels and more.

Taipei city images from Shutterstock.

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