Today South Africa’s Standard Bank announced plans to launch a permissioned blockchain solution to share data in order to speed up international corporate payments. The platform is expected to roll out in the first half of 2019 according to MyBroadband.
The blockchain will provide a record of documents and settlements which are stored in the cloud. For payment rails, the blockchain will be integrated with SWIFT and Shyft, the bank’s foreign exchange app.
The network will have a web interface with access restricted to Standard Bank and Stanbic Bank partner banks, its clients, and counterparties involved in trades.
“The majority of client trades fail in the first mile of payment. That is, at the very beginning,” said Standard Bank head of foreign exchange Richard de Roos.
“We could actually offer clients a fully integrated end-to-end blockchain solution that would dramatically reduce the incidence of trade failure while also increasing regulatory transparency and improving the visibility of liquidity,” he said.
In addition to its network of African banks, the bank also plans to extend the system into China through a collaboration with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). In 2007 the Chinese bank bought a 20% stake in Standard Bank for US$5.6bn.
The Hyperledger Fabric based blockchain bears some resemblance to JP Morgan’s Interbank Information Network (IIN). Both intend to share data relating to payments and transactions. In JP Morgan’s case Emma Loftus, JP Morgan’s Head of Global Payments, described IIN as: “A secure blockchain network where we exchange data associated with compliance inquiries through the blockchain network, sequentially in a secure manner.”
In both cases, if the data supporting the payment is problematic or insufficient, all the parties to the trade will know the source of the delay.