IBM is paving the way for banks and other regulated financial institutions to join the blockchain revolution. Rather than going through a series of intermediaries when sending money across borders, IBM has created a real-time, global payments network to support cross-border transactions and foreign exchange in more than 50 countries using digital assets, also known as cryptocurrencies or “stable coins.”
IBM Blockchain World Wire will help financial institutions improve the services they deliver to their consumers by optimizing and accelerating foreign exchange, cross border payments and remittances. Using the Stellar protocol, World Wire serves as a network provider for international payments, enabling point-to-point money transfers in lieu of the complexities of conventional correspondent banking. While IBM announced an initial pilot of World Wire in October 2017, today the network is officially accessible in a growing number of markets.
These are the types of use case, real world applications of blockchain technology that have been the dream of many cryptocurrency proponents for years now. The pace and acceleration of deals signed and projects being implemented show us that this technology is no longer in it’s infancy but moving forward quickly into it’s toddler years. By big corporations getting into this space, they have the resources, tools, personnel and overall IT knowledge to pave the way for even quicker adoption and support for this technology.
“We’ve created a new type of payment network designed to accelerate remittances and transform cross-border payments to facilitate the movement of money in countries that need it most,” said Marie Wieck, General Manager, IBM Blockchain. “By creating a network where financial institutions support multiple digital assets, we expect to spur innovation and improve financial inclusion worldwide.”
According to IBM, World Wire is the first blockchain network of its kind to integrate payment messaging, clearing and settlement on a single unified platform. Participants are also allowed to dynamically choose from a variety of digital assets for settlement. Currently, World Wire has enabled payment locations in 72 countries, with 48 currencies and 44 banking endpoints.
The World Wire network currently supports settlement using Stellar Lumens (XLM) and a U.S. dollar stable coin through IBM’s previously announced collaboration with Stronghold.
“Personally, I think cryptocurrencies could very well serve as a viable settlement instrument. We’ve started with Lumens, which is the native asset of the Stellar network, but we already have the capacity to introduce other cryptocurrencies that could include Bitcoin or Ether. We will add more digital assets based on client demand and participants on the network,” said Lund.
These are exciting times for cryptocurrency and as we can see, there are many opportunities for other projects to get involved in the payment settlements genre, along with many other projects. Managed blockchain is going to be an important concept for moving forward the adoption of blockchain technology as well and we are going to see many projects getting involved.