Nine of the world’s biggest banks, including Goldman Sachs and Barclays, have joined forces to develop common standards for blockchain technology in a bid to broaden its use across the global financial markets.

The new project, led by financial innovation company R3, also comprises of BBVA, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, State Street, RBS and UBS.

More banks are expected to pledge their support in the coming weeks, R3 said in a statement. The project will be led by R3 CEO and former ICAP Electronic Broking CEO David Rutter.

Rutter said: "This partnership signals a significant commitment by the banks to collaboratively evaluate and apply this emerging technology to the global financial system. Our bank partners recognize the promise of distributed ledger technologies and their potential to transform financial market technology platforms where standards must be secure, scalable and adaptable."

The blockchain works as a huge, decentralized ledger of every bitcoin transaction ever made that is verified and shared by a global network of computers and therefore is virtually tamper-proof.

The group will collaborate on research, experimentation, design, and engineering to help advance enterprise-scale shared ledger solutions to meet banking requirements for security, reliability, performance, scalability, and audit.

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The group will work within a collaborative lab environment or "sandbox" to test and validate distributed ledger prototypes and protocols.

The project – in addition to developing commercial applications – will seek to establish consistent standards and protocols for this emerging technology across the financial industry in order to facilitate broader adoption and gain a network effect.