IBM launches blockchain offering to consolidate cross-border payments

Oliver Gill
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IBM said it was leading the way in terms of blockchain development (Source: Getty)

Tech giant IBM today announced a new blockchain network to allow banks to better process cross-border payments.

The technology will enable financial institutions to clear and settle payment transactions on a single network almost instantaneously.

IBM said its “solution” will reduce the settlement time and lower the cost of completing global payments for businesses and consumers.

“With the guidance of some of the world’s leading financial institutions, IBM is working to explore new ways to make payment networks more efficient and transparent so that banking can happen in real-time, even in the most remote parts of the world,” said senior vice president of IBM Industry Platforms Bridget van Kralingen.

Making distributed ledger technologies more interoperable is the latest example of IBM’s leadership driving the rapid advancement of blockchain.

Read more: These seven banks are working together on a blockchain lending platform

The network is already in use by Advanced Pacific Financial Infrastructure for Inclusion (APFII) members, a public-private partnership initially funded by the United Nations and clearance firm SWIFT. It is expected to process up to 60 per cent of all cross-border payments in the South Pacific's retail foreign exchange corridors including Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga by early next year.

Chairman of APFII said Robert Bell said: “This is the first time anyone has made blockchain work at an institutionally viable scale.”

A raft of international lenders including Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria and Sumitomo Mitsui have been signed up to roll out IBM’s network in 2018.

Read more: Commerzbank joins blockchain trade finance project led by UBS and IBM

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