The European Union’s investment arm, the European Investment Bank, has sold €100 million worth ($121 million) of digital bonds on the Ethereum blockchain, according to a report by Bloomberg Law, citing anonymous sources.
The bonds were priced on Tuesday, according to the report, and consist of two-year notes, which have a zero percent coupon. Investment banks Goldman Sachs, Societe Generale and Banco Santander were also involved in the process.
Ethereum is the second biggest blockchain platform by market cap. It allows for the creation of multiple tokens, which can be fungible, like a currency, or non-fungible, like with digital trading cards or other NFT art.
This is not the first time a bank as issued bonds on blockchain In September 2019, Santander issued a $20 million bond on Ethereum. It used an ERC-20 token to represent the bond, which was settled using other tokens at a later date.
Another company using the public Ethereum blockchain for settlement is accounting firm EY. It is trying to get big businesses to create agreements, settle invoices and make payments on the blockchain—but it’s also working on privacy technology to keep that data confidential.
Many companies have also used private, closed versions of blockchains, where access is restricted to their clients who have permission to use the network. Instead, the banks in the European Investment Bank trial are testing out the public Ethereum blockchain.
In 2018, a broad "blockchain, not bitcoin" narrative emerged from banks and financial institutions that were declaring their interest in using blockchain tech, sans crypto. Are we now seeing the beginning of a "blockchain for bonds" rallying cry?