SWIFT threw cold water on a rumor Wednesday (Nov. 7) that it helped drive the price of XRP, the cryptocurrency associated with Ripple, ahead of Ethereum.
According to a report in Finance Magnet, a rumor was circulating that the pending upgrade of the SWIFT network would enable Ripple products to be available to roughly 4,000 more banks. A SWIFT spokesperson told the publication that the rumors are untrue. The upgrade to its GPI system – which was announced in March – is a technical one, enabling a tracking reference to be added to all transactions, noted the report.
“I’m not sure where those rumors are coming from, but the upcoming standards release … is entirely unrelated to RippleNet,” the spokesperson said. “Its primary purpose is to ensure all payments include a tracking reference (UETR, Unique End-to-End Transaction Reference), which will allow banks to track their gpi payments end to end in real time.” A source close to the matter told Finance Magnates that no evidence of any integration can be found.
The rumor about SWIFT wasn’t the only news for the interbank messaging system this week. The New York Times, citing SWIFT, reported that SWIFT is disconnecting Iranian banks from the messaging system due to the U.S. sanctions against 50 of Iran’s financial firms placed on the country. SWIFT wouldn’t say if the ban applies to all of the financial firms on the U.S. government’s Iran sanctions list. Steven Mnuchin, treasury secretary, said last week that SWIFT has to disconnect any bank in Iran that is on the list, noted the report.
The move on the part of SWIFT will aid the Trump administration in isolating the government of Iran and could worsen the U.S. fight with the European Union, reported The New York Times, and could also strengthen efforts by the EU to create a payment system that isn’t influenced by the White House. The EU has said it is working on one, but the paper pointed out that it faces an uphill battle. None of the European countries have offered to be the host country for the payment company because they are worried about retaliation from the U.S. In a statement to the paper, SWIFT said the move to kick the Iranian banks off its messaging system was “regrettable,” but that it was necessary to maintain the integrity of the financial system around the globe.