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Japan's SBI, megabanks take stakes in blockchain group R3

New network for financial transactions promises to slash costs

In blockchain-based systems, users maintain transaction logs, comparing their own copy of records with their peers'.

TOKYO -- Japan's SBI Holdings and more than 40 financial institutions from around the globe have pledged some $107 million to R3, an American startup building a new network for financial transactions on the back of blockchain technology.

SBI is poised to become the New York-based group's principal shareholder, as it has committed to purchasing more than 2 billion yen ($17.9 million) in new R3 shares through its venture capital fund. Other investors include Wells Fargo, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup of the U.S., as well as Japan's three megabanks -- Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group. Japanese brokerage Nomura Holdings is also participating.

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