Software giant Microsoft has partnered R3 consortium to prompt the development of blockchain-based solutions for the global financial industry.

Microsoft has been supporting R3 for some time now, providing the consortium with dedicated technical architects, project managers, and lab assistants. 11 out of 42 consortium’s members (including Barclays, Credit Suisse, and Well Fargo) tested a private version of Ethereum at Microsoft’s BaaS platform this January.

Under the new partnership’s conditions, all members of the consortium are granted access to such Microsoft Azure tools as those created by a decentralized protocols developer ConsenSys, financial and accounting services providers Ripple and Factom, blockchain solutions developer Eris Industries, payment processor BitPay, and many more.

“Throughout the experiments we started to realize that the level of expertise they gave us in terms of the man-power and the technology actually made them the ideal partner,” says Charlie Cooper, managing director of R3.

Earlier R3 experimented with other potential partners, including Amazon and IBM.

According to Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of global business development at Microsoft, the partnership between Microsoft and R3 will contribute to optimization of back-office operations and “potentially save billions of dollars” in the financial industry.

R3 consortium was established last year on the initiative of a fintech company R3CEV, bringing together 42 financial companies including such world banking giants as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Credit Suisse, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Citi, Commerzbank, Societé Generale by as early as December 2015.

In March 2016, R3 announced that the trial of five cloud-based blockchain technologies tested by 40 banks participating in the consortium had been finished successfully. 

Elena Platonova