Brazilian bank Bradesco harnesses blockchain

The institution is supporting startups focusing on the technology and planning trials to develop new services

Brazilian bank Bradesco is placing efforts on blockchain technology to streamline operations and costs, while improving services and products.

The bank - which is one of the largest in Brazil and has acquired HSBC's local operations earlier this year - is planning on starting trials for a digital wallet service based on the code behind bitcoin, also known as distributed ledger technology.

The service is being developed by eWally, one of the fintech startups selected to participate in Bradesco's startup program InovaBRA.

Bradesco's research and innovation director Marcelo Frontini told Brazilian newspaper Valor that the trials should commence at the end of the year at Paraisópolis, a São Paulo neighborhood that comprises one of the city's largest slum and has several Bradesco payment points in retail outlets.

It is understood that the trials will integrate the digital wallet service to the payment points and allow customers to make deposits, make payments and withdraw cash.

Last month Bradesco has also joined the R3 consortium, which comprises 45 financial companies in research and development of blockchain usage in the financial system.