Payments Canada, Bank of Canada and R3 release detailed findings of blockchain experiment

OTTAWA, September 29, 2017 – Payments Canada, the Bank of Canada and enterprise software consortium R3 today released detailed findings from the experiment with distributed ledger (blockchain) technology that has garnered international attention over the last two years. The whitepaper, A Canadian Experiment with Distributed Ledger Technology for Domestic Interbank Payments Settlement, provides a comprehensive view of the experiment, dubbed Project Jasper, including platform design, testing and performance.

“Project Jasper got the world’s attention because it was the first time a central bank and payment system operator had participated in a blockchain experiment with the private sector,” said Andrew McCormack, Senior Director, Technology at Payments Canada. “In fact, that involvement and the participation of financial institutions through R3 was one of the most valuable outcomes from the project. It was a clear illustration of how collaboration can move an entire industry forward.”

The results of that collaborative effort are outlined in the whitepaper, which discusses the background and rationale for the project, governance and organization, details on the proof-of-concept distributed ledger design and key lessons learned, including:

  • Clearer understanding of the capabilities of distributed ledger technology platforms: The participants experimented with Ethereum and R3’s Corda for a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each platform.
  • Feasibility of applying Liquidity Savings Mechanisms on a distributed ledger platform: This achievement represented a major innovation in thinking about how to enable an inherently centralized process on a decentralized distributed ledger technology platform.
  • The value of collaboration among Canadian industry members: The financial services environment in Canada is highly concentrated, which presents great opportunities for public-private collaboration on projects that benefit all participants and Canadians generally. This includes Payments Canada’s ongoing work to modernize the Canadian payments system overall.
  • Many opportunities for further exploration: While the project demonstrated the ability to settle wholesale payments on a distributed ledger, the technology is not yet ready to underpin a domestic payments system. This work presents many opportunities for further research and exploration, including the possible integration between Project Jasper and other types of distributed ledger-based financial market infrastructures.

Project Jasper was launched in March 2016 to understand how distributed ledger technology (DLT) could transform the future of payments in Canada. Since then, two phases of exploration into the use of the technology, more commonly known as blockchain, for wholesale interbank - or high-value / wholesale - payments settlement have been successfully completed. The whitepaper, A Canadian Experiment with Distributed Ledger Technology for Domestic Interbank Payments Settlement is available on

About Payments Canada

Payments Canada ensures that financial transactions in Canada are carried out safely and securely each day. The organization underpins the Canadian financial system and economy by owning and operating Canada’s payment clearing and settlement infrastructure, including associated systems, bylaws, rules and standards. The value of payments cleared and settled by Payments Canada in 2016 was C$51 trillion, or C$201 billion every business day. These encompass a wide range of payments made by Canadians and businesses involving inter-bank transactions, including those made with debit cards, pre-authorized debits, direct deposits, bill payments, wire payments and cheques.

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