Software giant IBM has launched its blockchain-based World Wire, designed to “clear and settle cross-border payments in seconds—not days.”
Based on the Stellar network, World Wire is designed to be compatible with financial institutions’ existing payment systems, supporting “payments of any size, to any destination, in any asset type.” Currently, IBM said, “sending money across borders today requires a series of intermediaries for both clearing and settlement, each adding time and cost to the process. With IBM Blockchain World Wire, clearing and settlement with finality happens in near real-time… Funds can now be transferred at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional correspondent banking.”
The company cited a McKinsey & Company study showing the payments industry growing 7% each year up to 2021, and becoming a $2-trillion industry by 2020.
IBM has had its share of investments in blockchain projects of late. In August, it collaborated with the Australian government in the creation of the Australian National Blockchain, intended for businesses to collaborate via smart contracts. It also teamed up with transport and logistics company Maersk in launching TradeLens, that allows for efficient supply chain management, by providing up-to-date, accurate record-keeping used in the transfer of goods.
Last July, the state of Delaware tapped IBM to design a blockchain-based filing system geared toward corporations. The second-smallest state has 1 million registered companies, including 64% of the ones listed in the Fortune 500.
Among IBM’s proposed uses of blockchain technology is for the trade of cannabis, whose legalization in North America has been gradual the past two decades. The use of blockchain, according to IBM, would legitimize the industry by making transparent all sources of funding and movement of products.