B2B Payments

IBM, SWIFT Make News In Cross-Border Initiatives

Beyond cryptocurrencies, blockchain is making wakes as a conduit for transactions. China may be in the news amid crackdowns on trading. And there are a number of initiatives from banks in that country to use blockchain to exchange assets.

In other payments infrastructure-related offerings, some marquee names have made some strides.

For example, tech giant IBM said it launched, via blockchain, its Blockchain World Wire, which is billed as a cross-border payment system that is powered by the Stellar blockchain network.

The duo has said that the blockchain-enabled conduit is more cost-efficient than traditional payment methods, and can support any number of asset types, across a range of destinations and sizes. The process integrates the World Wire’s APIs into banks’ payments systems.

According to a statement on the launch: “Two financial institutions transacting together agree to use a stable coin, central bank digital currency or other digital assets as the bridge asset between any two fiat currencies. The digital asset facilitates the trade and supplies important settlement instructions.” It further adds: “It all means funds can now be transferred at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional correspondent banking.”

Looking at larger trends, Africa is proving to be a greenfield opportunity for FinTechs and other upstarts seeking to give a tech-enabled boost to payments infrastructure.

Separately, in other specific offerings, it may seem that the news surrounding secure messaging provider SWIFT has been limited to speculation and headlines surrounding the possibility of a parallel Europe-focused cross-border payments scheme.

But SWIFT also made headlines when it said late last week that Ebury has become the first of the FinTechs to go live across the SWIFT gpi (global payments innovation). You can find out more here.

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