Business 19 March 2019Erik Gibbs
IBM’s blockchain answer to SWIFT officially launches
In September 2018, tech giant IBM introduced Blockchain World Wire to the financial world. The service was being designed to offer simpler, faster and cheaper international payments and would have a major impact on the success of the world’s current dominant cross-border payment provider, SWIFT. World Wire is now live and ready to fulfill its mission, and SWIFT should definitely be concerned.
According to IBM, World Wire is “a real-time global payments network for regulated financial institutions.” It was created to enhance foreign currency exchanges, remittances and cross-border payments, which have already been proven to benefit greatly from blockchain technology. According to an IBM press release, World Wire is now available in 72 countries across the globe and supports 47 currencies. It is available across 44 banking endpoints and IBM is still actively pursuing regulatory approval to offer the service in additional international jurisdictions.
IBM’s project is the first that is able to integrate payment messaging, clearing and settlement while “while allowing participants to dynamically choose from a variety of digital assets for settlement.” World Wire GM, Marie Wieck, adds, “We’ve created a new type of payment network designed to accelerate remittances and transform cross-border payments to facilitate the movement of money in countries that need it most. By creating a network where financial institutions support multiple digital assets, we expect to spur innovation and improve financial inclusion worldwide.”
IBM has chosen Stellar Lumens (XLM) for its platform. The network will run on both XLM and a U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoin that IBM has developed through a collaboration with Stronghold. The company’s press release adds that six banks have already signed letters of intent to issue their own stablecoins on World Wire, including Brazil’s Banco Bradesco, Bank Busan, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) and others.
According to the Innovation and Digital Channels Executive Director for Bradesco, Luiz Carlos Brandao Cavalcanti, Jr., “Bradesco continuously adopts innovation that enhances customer experience and improves efficiency. The World Wire Network addresses both of these aspects, and therefore presents a valuable opportunity for Bradesco and its customers in Brazil.”
RCBC First Senior VP Manny T. Narcisco adds, “RCBC is pleased to be an early innovator with plans to issue our own Peso stable coin on World Wire, pending final approval from our regulators. We’re focused on innovation that adds value for our customers, and World Wire presents a tremendous opportunity to transform and enhance our payment infrastructure.”
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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