(Reuters) - Synchrony Financial said on Monday its has joined R3, a group of companies working on blockchain technology, making it the first credit-card issuer to join the consortium.

Blockchain is a web-based transaction-processing and settlement system whose efficiency banks say could slash costs. It creates a "golden record" of any given set of data that is automatically replicated for all parties in a secure network, eliminating any need for third-party verification. (http://bit.ly/2eLrQx6)

Led by a consortium of over 70 of the world's biggest financial institutions - called R3 - the banking industry has been researching ways to harness the speed, accuracy and efficiency afforded by blockchain.

The first cross-border transaction between banks using multiple blockchain applications took place on Monday, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Wells Fargo & Co said, resulting in a shipment of cotton to China from the United States.

(Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)