NY Bank Launches Blockchain Digital Payments Platform

Banking in blockchain – with real-time payments as a kicker?

CoinDesk reported this week that Signature Bank, which is based in New York, is debuting a digital payments platform that is built on blockchain – and geared toward real-time transactions.

With the dawn of the new year, the platform, to be known as Signet, will go live on Jan. 1, and will let customers transact at any time. Funds, said the site, can be sent from one customer to another – and done directly, which means that middlemen and fees are bypassed and eliminated.

There is a minimum $250,000 balance required of holders transacting across the platform.

The platform is being built, said CoinDesk, with trueDigital Holdings, which is also located in New York and has trained its efforts on exchange and settlement done across blockchain infrastructure. Approval has come from the New York State Department of Financial Services for Signature Bank to offer those services within the state. There also is a nod from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which has approved the Signet deposits, and where insurance will be in place “up to the legal insurable amounts.” As reported by CoinDesk, Scott Shay, who serves as chairman of Signature Bank’s board, has said that a “number” of industries could benefit from real-time transactions, such as energy distribution.

Elsewhere, Some Skepticism

And amid the hope – some disillusionment, perhaps?

Separate from the above news, Computerworld reports that in a joint report from the Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Technology Conference this past fall, researchers found that blockchain “undelivered on claims” after studying dozens of blockchain use cases. Those same researchers said that when they sought to get data on various blockchain projects, “no one was willing to share data.”

“Despite all the hype about how blockchain will bring unheralded transparency to processes and operations in low-trust environments, the industry is itself opaque. From this, we determined the lack of evidence supporting value claims of blockchain in the international development space is a critical gap for potential adopters,” they added.

Amid value that was found: The researchers found that proofs of concept could help serve as an “impetus to question what we do, why we do it and how we could do it better,” as Computerworld stated.

The site noted that, per Avivah Litan, a Gartner vice president, the aforementioned report lacked balance. She contended that the researchers did not endeavor to find out why blockchain projects did not deliver on stated goals.

“Back in early 2018, we’d already said … 99 percent of enterprise projects are dead end; 99 percent don’t need the technology; they don’t get out of the lab. They’re a result of CEOs’ fear of missing out – the FOMO phenomenon,” Litan told Computerworld. “Having said all that, it’s a very valuable technology. People started trying to use it before it was ready for prime time. That’s true in the cryptocurrency world and in the enterprise blockchain world.”


New PYMNTS Report: Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook – July 2020 

Call it the great tug-of-war. Fraudsters are teaming up to form elaborate rings that work in sync to launch account takeovers. Chris Tremont, EVP at Radius Bank, tells PYMNTS that financial institutions (FIs) can beat such highly organized fraudsters at their own game. In the July 2020 Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook, Tremont lays out how.