Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- UBS Group AG and peers on both sides of the Atlantic plan to seek regulatory approval to use a new form of digital cash to settle financial transactions, cutting costs and time, according to Financial Times.

UBS, which pioneered the “utility settlement coin,” is partnering with Deutsche Bank AG, Banco Santander SA and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. to advocate for the system and start using it by early 2018, the newspaper reported. The project uses blockchain, the technology underpinning bitcoin, to let firms pay for securities without waiting to complete traditional money transfers.

The initiative will be announced Wednesday, the paper said. Spokesmen for the four banks said they couldn’t immediately comment or didn’t respond to messages outside normal business hours.

The idea of using digital cash on a blockchain ledger has captivated Wall Street executives because it could speed transactions and free up capital. Investment banks including Citigroup Inc. also have projects in the works, hoping to improve upon the financial industry’s existing system, which can take days to move money across town or around the world, tying up billions of dollars.

Executives overseeing the utility settlement coin plan to spend the next year persuading central banks and regulators to approve the concept and cooperate with its implementation, the FT said, citing Hyder Jaffrey, head of financial-technology innovation at UBS. The consortium will argue the system would improve transparency for regulators.

To contact the reporter on this story: Noah Buhayar in Seattle at nbuhayar@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net, David Scheer, Dan Reichl

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