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Vienna, 25.09.2018 OeKB launches live blockchain operations for government bond auctions Austria

Austria  assumes pioneering role on the European stage with use of blockchain technology for government bond issues

As a neutral capital-market participant, and on behalf of the Austrian Treasury (OeBFA), Oesterreichische Kontrollbank (OeKB) operates the auction procedure for the issue of  government bonds by the Republic of Austria. 

Following successful tests, at next week's government bond auction, for the first time, a blockchain notarisation service will be used. This coming Tuesday, 2 October 2018, a tap issue will take place of two outstanding government bonds (0.75% government bond 2018 – 2028, and 0.00% government bond 2016 – 2023) in a total volume of EUR 1.15 billion. For details, go to: Issue calendar (in German).

Blockchain technologies constitute a non-manipulable system for securing and transferring information. In this context, Austria has assumed a pioneering role on the European stage with regard to use of blockchain technology for government bond issues.

"Digitalisation of the financial sector, also referred to as FinTech, was established in Austria some time ago. We need to use its positive impact intelligently for the financial service sector. For us, blockchain technology forms a focus of economic policy. Through setting up the FinTech Advisory Council at the Ministry of Finance, we are developing strategies enabling Austria to benefit optimally from these developments," declares Austrian Finance Minister Löger.

Blockchain and similar solutions will be used in many areas of the digital economy and public administration as an underlying technology. In order to gather practical experience, various blockchain technologies have been evaluated in terms of their suitability in practice. By way of additional service, and for quality assurance purposes, on 2 October 2018, an initial live blockchain operation will be launched. "Blockchain technology offers great potential for increasing efficiency and assuring quality in bank processes. For this reason, we have indeed been engaging intensively for some time with this topic and have already tested several prototypes. Launching live operations at this point, on behalf of the Austrian Treasury, represents a gratifying and logical next step," declared Angelika Sommer-Hemetsberger, Executive Board member at OeKB

The aim is to record the authenticity of data using a so-called blockchain notarisation service. "This added security contributes to achieving a high level of confidence in the auction process for Austrian government bonds and strengthens Austria's good standing in the market, which indirectly also has the capacity to contribute to favourable financing costs," indicated Markus Stix, Managing Director at the Austrian Treasury.