Ethereum-Based Payments Trial Succeeds in South Africa

The South African Reserve Bank’s Project Khokha has turned out to be a striking success. The project itself is a proof-of-concept trial to replicate interbank payments and settlements on an Ethereum-based enterprise blockchain, announced in February by the central bank in partnership with Ethereum coder collective ConsenSys deploying the use of Quorum, an enterprise blockchain developed by JPMorgan and EthLab, an Ethereum startup.

The Central Bank has published its report on a “real-world’ trial of a blockchain-based wholesale payment system lasting nearly three months since the mid-February.

Deployed in a “realistic test environment”, the blockchain was successfully able to handle the entire typical daily volume of South Africa’s Real Time Gross Settlement System, which amounts to about 70,000 transactions, and all that in about 75 minutes!

Transactions were processed within 2 seconds on average, with full confidentiality and a 100% settlement rate.

Image from: SARB

Similarly astonishing results were witnessed in another test iteration simulating a failed SARB node where other banks would still be able to transact with each other without the central bank’s supervision. The test settled 70,000 transactions in less than 2 hours.

Image from: SARB

Despite the apparent success, the authorities insist that there “are still many issues” to clarify before bringing the blockchain platform into production.

“Some of these issues relate to the practicalities of implementation, but also to legal and regulatory factors and to the broader economic impact.”

The Bank went ahead and said that the objective of the blockchain settlement was in fact to provide a better understanding of how the interbank settlement system would integrate with the Quorum blockchain platform, rather than replacing the current system.