B2B Payments

SWIFT Gears Up For Trade Via Blockchain

SWIFT blockchain

Financial messaging service SWIFT said this past week that it has fashioned a partnership with R3, a blockchain startup.

The partnership will integrate the R3 platform into the SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) offering. As quoted by CNBC, SWIFT CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt said this week at the Paris FinTech Forum that “we are announcing … a proof-of-concept with the R3 blockchain on trade, where you can initiate a payment on the trade platform and then it goes into gpi.” The mechanics of the relationship are that financial institutions (FIs) using the blockchain offering known as Corda will authorize and, ultimately, settle payments through a gateway known as the gpi Link.

The SWIFT executive’s comments came during a panel discussion that also featured Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse. CNBC noted that R3 competes with Ripple. At the same panel discussion, Garlinghouse said his firm might explore “ways we could work with SWIFT,” and that the payments model may evolve to where “decentralized systems, I think, over time, are likely to win. I think that today, that is not what SWIFT is.”

It should be noted, at least at present, that there are no joint efforts for payment infrastructures in the offing between SWIFT and Ripple.

According to CNBC, Garlinghouse said, “SWIFT, today, is a one-way messaging framework; it isn’t a liquidity provider. When we think about an internet of value, it’s a mixture of two-way messaging frameworks (moving to a real-time chatting protocol, if you will), coupled with real-time liquidity.”

In other related news, the Saudi British Bank (SABB), the third-largest bank in Saudi Arabia, said its cross-border payment pilot  with Ripple as an underpinning  has gone live. As The Daily Hodl reported, SABB is one of three banks in the country that has been authorized by the central bank to use Ripple — and the bank is aiming to offer instant cross-border payments “as soon as possible.” It has yet to be disclosed whether SABB has opted to use the blockchain-based payment offering known as xCurrent, or the XRP payment offering xRapid.

Ripple has said it is ramping up its offerings in the Middle East.

Finally, a bit closer to home, Forbes reported that three payment experts who formerly served at the U.S. Federal Reserve said that Fed should develop its own real-time payments network. The trio is comprised three executives of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City: Barbara Pacheco, former senior vice president, Thomas Hoenig, former president, and Bruce Summers, former director of information technology. Forbes wrote that each of those experts favored the Fed “providing a competitive real-time network to regulation of a single real-time payments provider like [The Clearing House (TCH)].”

Summers, Forbes reported, said the system needs to be a versatile one — and as versatile as checks. Users  whether individuals, businesses or governments  “value versatility that allows them to order individual transfers from their bank accounts for any purpose, and to direct transfers to and receive transfers from any other party in any group. Check is the only method of payment that provides both the versatility and ubiquity, allowing any-to-any transfers of bank deposits.”

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