Blockchain / Distributed Ledger

UK Banks Hit Blockchain Payment Milestone

A group of U.K. banks may have just hit a cross-border blockchain payment milestone.

This group, which includes Santander, CIBC and UniCredit, announced this week that it has hit a new milestone in the blockchain innovation space. What the group claims is that it has moved real money with blockchain’s technology using Ripple, a digital settlement firm.

What Ripple enabled banks to do is convert funds of one local currency to another and act as an instant exchange for the transaction. Before this test was executed, the process had taken three to five days, and there was more of a chance of error.

Ripple CEO Chris Larsen noted that the banks’ involvement is “a big milestone, maybe a tipping point,” and that “the more banks we get on there, the more useful it becomes for everybody else.” He said that there are roughly 80 banks total testing out the platform, many of which may join soon. Blockchain-based technology has been being used across financial services industries in order to determine how it can be used to move money and assets faster and cheaper.

Earlier this week, the Financial Stability Oversight Council noted at its annual review the benefits of Ripple for those exact reasons, including lowering transaction costs and boosting financial services efficiency. But it also noted that there are “certain risks and uncertainties” that come with those systems, including vulnerabilities that only become visible when the systems are brought to a larger scale.

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Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. The July 2019 edition of the FI Innovation Readiness Playbook examines how the innovation playing field is leveling as small FIs implement bolder strategies and larger banks adopt more measured approaches.

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