SoftBank-backed blockchain research group doubles up on carrier membership

A telecom carrier consortium for blockchain announced it doubled its membership from six to 12 and is working on global remittances.

The newest members of the Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG) are Axiata, PLDT, Telin, Turkcell, Viettel and Zain. The CBSG was formed in September of last year with backing from SoftBank and U.S. blockchain specialist TBCASoft. Etisalat, Far EasTone, KT, LG Uplus, SoftBank and Sprint had previously joined CBSG.

CBSG's mission is to provide telecom members and their customers various services such as secured global digital payments, clearing and settlement, personal authentication, internet of things applications and other services using blockchain technology.

Blockchain, which was developed for bitcoin, is a digitized, distributed ledger that tracks transactions as statements of facts that can be used in a digital economy by businesses, regulators, operators and their customers.

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CBSG also announced the creation of an additional blockchain working group that will focus on global remittance services. CBSG said blockchain technology was well suited for global remittance services, which typically includes sending money from one entity to another, because it streamlines the process to better serve customers.

The consortium is focused on blockchain technologies that are specifically focused on telecom carriers. With blockchain, carriers will be able to create and extend services beyond their traditional footprints and markets, according to CBSG.

“By transporting valuable digital assets over mobile networks in a secure and transparent framework, blockchains can speed the growth of the digital economy and help us to deliver new services for our customers," said Kaan Terzioglu, CEO of Turkcell, in a prepared statement.. "We must look beyond simply extending the connectivity of existing telecom infrastructure. As mobile carriers, we are well positioned to offer a ‘blockchain-as-a-service’ ecosystem and we must use this advantage."

According to CBSG's website, blockchain has raised more than $70 million in funding from investors such as Lightspeed Venture Partners and Google Ventures.