Hedera makes inroads in Africa as Standard Bank Group becomes node operator
Standard Bank Group has become the first African node operator on the Hedera network.
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Standard Bank Group — Africa’s largest bank by assets — has partnered with enterprise-grade distributed ledger technology project Hedera Hashgraph.
According to a joint announcement, the African banking giant now joins other major corporations like Google, LG, and IBM as a member of the Hedera Governing Council.
Standard Bank will also become a Hedera node operator, the first in Africa with a focus on utilizing DLT to ease bottlenecks in cross-border trade on the continent.
Across Africa, innovations in domestic payment rails have created faster and efficient transaction systems. However, this advancement is yet to translate to the cross-border payment transaction scene with stablecoins already identified as having the potential to solve these issues.
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For Ian Putter, head of DLT and blockchain at Standard Bank Group, the partnership with Hedera is part of the bank’s focus on utilizing decentralized technology to improve cross-border trade in Africa.
Putter told Cointelegraph that the bank views DLT as a viable base-layer for supporting cross-border in Africa and also connect the continent to partners in major markets like China, adding:
“We have completed [proofs of concept] have solutions in production and are partnering with these parties to scale and exploit these cross-border trade solutions. A key focus for us is to continue exploration and experimentation with this technology as it rapidly evolves, through partnerships and leveraging existing solutions to speed up implementation and scaling.”
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Putter highlighted the growing interest in central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, as a pointer to the potential for DLT-based technology to disrupt the global business process.
According to Hedera CEO Mance Harmon, Africa is poised to occupy a leading role in DLT utilization, telling Cointelegraph:
“With services like M-Pesa already widely used, we see a willingness for African companies to embrace new technologies like blockchain and distributed ledger technology to meet the changing needs of their customers. In addition to financial services/DeFi, we also see strong interest from companies in the region in leveraging DLT for use cases in healthcare, energy management, identity, and supply chains.”
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