Banking News

IBM unveils blockchain cross-border payment solution

IBM

Big Blue has quietly introduced the IBM Blockchain World Wire, a cross-border payment solution that uses the Stellar protocol. The key benefits are to speed up international payments, lower costs, and increase efficiency.

World Wire works by integrating standard financial institution payment mechanisms with the World Wire API. The result is a low-cost foreign exchange transaction.

The sending and receiving institutions use their existing systems to pay into and receive money from the network using the World Wire API. When the money is paid into the network it’s converted to a digital asset in one currency, and then converted to a digital asset in the target currency, before a conventional payment is made to the second bank.

According to IBM, the digital asset can be “a stable coin, central bank digital currency or other digital assets”.

One of the main benefits of the system is it reduces the intermediaries involved. Fintech companies like Transferwise have been slowly eating into banks foreign exchange revenues. The likes of Ripple, Stellar and now World Wire is accelerating this.

As IBM states on the web page for World Wire, 97% of the worlds largest banks are IBM clients. It has a lot of experience in foreign exchange. A major IBM client is CLS, the world’s leading forex settlement organization which clears on average $5.2 trillion a day. Together they created a blockchain system CLSNet. This is a payment netting services that targets more currencies than CLS’s primary systems. CLS and its products are not related to World Wire.

World Wire focuses on foreign exchange payments, but IBM is also interested in corporate payments in single currencies. In July IBM showed an interest in a stable coin based on the Stellar protocol. Ledger Insights previously explored the possibilities for enterprise payments.