Week Ending October 28, 2016

Three things to know

Competition is heating up in the $30 trillion cross-border payments market, with Visa, Swift, and a dozen global banks led by Ripple, all announcing new Blockchain payments initiatives.   

The current system, by all accounts, is slow, expensive, and has limited security.  For example, it takes between 3 to 5 days and sometimes longer for a payment to reach its destination.  During that time, there is little to no visibility into the funds current location.  Additionally, the recent hacking of the Swift network has eroded the confidence of some users.   

Visa is developing a blockchain cross-border payment system to accelerate and simplify this system. The system is for high dollar, commercial payments and will enable companies to avoid transferring money via wire or using correspondent banks.  However, Swift is not sitting idly by.  Instead of waiting for disruption to occur, Swift is creating its own disruption by developing a blockchain system for payments. Among the goals of the Swift initiative are to reduce the time it takes for a payment to reach its destination and increasing security. Both Visa and Swift plan to go live in 2017

Also announced this week is another trial of cross-border payments being undertaken by Ripple and twelve global banks.  These banks plan to develop a payments system that utilizes the Ripple digital asset XRP, instead of the traditional nostro accounts.

I have heard some in the Blockchain world belittle payments as a use case.  In their view, the payments use case is too boring for blockchain, or there are too many legal uncertainties.  In some ways, they are right.  However, $30 trillion per year in cross-border payments makes the use case much more compelling.

Visa Taps Blockchain for Cross-Border Payment Plan

Swift Fights to Stay Relevant in A Blockchain World

Financial Innovation Startup and 12 Global Banks Test Blockchain Based Cross-Border Payment …

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