EU Blockchain Association Gets Two New Spanish Members

The E.U. International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (IATBA) is getting two new members. Banking groups BBVA and Santander are reportedly joining the association according to Spanish economic newspaper Expansion’s November 20th edition.

Conducting an EU blockchain roundtable conference in Brussels were Mariya Gabriel, the commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, and Roberto Viola, the director of the E.U. Department of Communications Networks, Content and Technology. Invites were sent out to representatives of both the Spanish banks.

The primary aim of the newly-formed IATBA will be to regulate blockchain applications in E.U. while promoting the use of the technology across the continent. According to E.U. officials, the association is set to launch in the first fiscal quarter of 2019.

Although an undisclosed number of members’names have not been disclosed yet, it was reported by Expansion that BBVA and Santander were among the first five banks to join the association.

BBVA is perhaps best known for being the primary sponsor of the Spanish football league, La Liga and was also the second largest bank in Spain as of 2014. Santander Bank is a subsidiary of the Spanish Santander Group and is based out of Boston, employing almost 10,000 people and has $57.5 billion in deposits.

The IATBA is an initiative of the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) – a collaboration between 27 member states including France, the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, and Sweden. The partnership was created with an aim to unite the continent under the common objective of a cross-continent blockchain infrastructure that will set new standards of privacy and security. The newly formed association has thus been actively promoted by the EBP.

BBVA has already started testing blockchain solutions on its own products all throughout this year, despite facing the standard set of challenges and limitations of blockchain technology, according to the CEO of the Bank, Carlos Torres Vila. The bank partnered with Spanish energy corporation Repsol in June to test out different blockchain technology solutions, including Hyperledger and Ethereum.

Both the banks have shown interest in decentralized technology and its applications. Santander Bank joined IBM’s Blockchain Platform in July along with four other banks and has created its own research team to find more uses of blockchain and decentralized technology in securities trading.

BBVA recently finished carrying out a $150 million loan through a group of three funding banks including the French baking group BNP Paribas and Japan’s bank holding Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFJ).