This Technology Vendor Launches a Blockchain Payment Network

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It’s not the first firm that has created a blockhain-based network but it’s the first well-known technology vendor that has launched one.

IBM today announced the launch of its Blockchain World Wire, a real-time global payments network for regulated financial institutions.

Big Blue claimed World Wire is the first blockchain network of its kind to integrate payment messaging, clearing and settlement on a single unified network, while allowing participants to dynamically choose from a variety of digital assets for settlement.

The blockchain-based network will offer a new way for cross-border payment exchange and international settlement, said IBM, adding the settlements can be done in five to 10 seconds.

The network is currently able to transfer funds to more than 50 countries using 47 digital coins backed by fiat currencies, IBM said.

The technology company announced its initial pilot of the network back in October 2017.

J.P. Morgan’s Interbank Information Network

Last October, J.P. Morgan already announced its blockchain payments networks—the Interbank Information Network (IIN), which the bank claimed will significantly reduce the number of participants needed to respond to compliance and other data-related inquiries that causes payment delay.

The Royal Bank of Canada and Australia and the New Zealand Banking Group were the first two banks to join the J.P.Morgan’s network.

Last month, J.P. Morgan also became the first to offer its own stablecoin—the JPM Coin, which is intended for the bank’s wholesale payments business that moves US$6 trillion around the world daily.

Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, retail investors will probably never own a JPM Coin as it’s supposed to be used by the bank’s large institutional clients that have passed regulatory checks.

As each JPM Coin is redeemable for a single US dollar, its value is not supposed to fluctuate, which is similar in theory to the so-called stablecoins.

The bank will issue clients the coins after they make deposits of US dollars.

After the JPM coins are used for payments or security purchases, the bank will destroy the coins and clients will be given back a commensurate number of US dollars.

Umar Farooq, head of J.P. Morgan's blockchain projects said the coin can be used for international payments for large corporate clients.

That means it could replace wire transfers on networks like Swift and payments can settle in real time and any time of the day.

IBM's World Wire has signed up banks

According to Big Blue, World Wire has enabled payment locations in 72 countries, with 47 currencies and 44 banking endpoints.

Last year, IBM partnered with stable coin network Stronghold to experiment with their cryptocurrency – Stronghold USB – and its Stellar-based trading platform.

Other blockchain industry stablecoins include Tether and TrueUSD.

Pending regulatory approvals and other reviews, six international banks, including Banco Bradesco in Brazil, Bank Busan in South Korea, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) in The Philippines, have signed letters of intent to issue their own stablecoins on World Wire, adding Euro, Indonesian Rupiah, Philippine Peso, Korean Won and Brazilian Real stable coins to the network, said IBM.

"RCBC is pleased to be an early innovator with plans to issue our own Peso stable coin on World Wire, pending final approval from our regulators," said Emmanuel Narciso, RCBC's group head for Global Transaction Banking. "We're focused on innovation that adds value for our customers, and World Wire presents a tremendous opportunity to transform and enhance our payment infrastructure."