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France's Central Bank Details its First Blockchain Test

France’s central bank quietly released new details about its work with blockchain last week.

The Banque de France said on Friday that it had tested the tech for hypothetical use in the management of SEPA Credit Identifiers, or identification markers used to establish the identity of creditors within the Single Euro Payments Area. The trial marks its first publicly acknowledged blockchain trial.

According to the central bank, one of the key participants in the trial was the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, a public-sector organization that acts as a kind of investor on behalf of the French government through a number of subsidiaries. Paris-based startup Labo Blockchain and several unnamed French banks also took part in the test.

Work began in July, the Banque de France said, culminating in October with the creation of prototype tools for creating and managing SEPA Credit Identifiers. The central bank outlined how weekly meetings were held with stakeholders as the project moved forward, going on to indicate that more detailed insights into the project would be released sometime next year.

Word of the trial comes months after the central bank called for more research into the subject, arguing at the time that any testing should focus on both the positive and negative impacts the technology could hold for the finance sector.

The Banque de France evoked this sentiment in its announcement, noting in a translated statement:

“This experience allows all the participating banks to share their analyzes on [the] impacts and opportunities of this technology.”

With the trial, the French central bank becomes the latest institution of its kind to test the technology.

In the past year, central banks in Japan, Sweden and Singapore, among others, have launched similar efforts, with the European Central Bank announcing a new research undertaking in partnership with the Bank of Japan on 6th December. Earlier this month, the US Federal Reserve released its first major research paper on blockchain.