SWIFT Announces DLT Integration With Blockchain Startup R3


SWIFT, the global financial messaging service that links the world’s major banks, has announced the launch of a proof of concept integration with blockchain startup R3.

Gottfried Leibbrandt, the chief executive of SWIFT, said that the firm would be integrating R3’s platform with its Global Payments Innovation (GPI) framework.

Speaking at the Paris Fintech Forum, Leibbrandt said that the integration allowed firms to initiate payments on the R3 Corda platform before it goes into GPI.

A statement from the company explained that the integration was only at the trial stage and would allow SWIFT to interlink its GPI gateway with the Corda platform, allowing for the continuous monitoring of payment flows.

Firms that use the R3 platform will also benefit from GPI’s support for APIs, SWIFT and ISO standards.

R3 co-founder Todd McDonald said that with SWIFT’s GPI integrating directly to the startup’s Corda Settler, firms using the application would be able to “initiate and settle payment obligations” using  both traditional and blockchain-based rails.”

He added that the “integration” would enable payment obligations on the Corda platform to be settled using SWIFT’S growing GPI network for cross-border payments.

The Proof of Concept stage will see corporates on the R3 blockchain find it easy to authorize and settle payments as well as receive credit confirmations once the transactions are complete.

The statement from SWIFT added that although the trial phase will seek to address R3’s trade environment, future extensions will see it support other Distributed Ledger technologies (DLTs), non-DLTs and other e-commerce trade platforms.

According to R3 CEO David E. Rutter, the partnership with SWIFT was logical given that the blockchain startup had recently launched its Corda Settler, which allows for “the payment of obligations raised on the Corda platform.”

He noted that GPI’s use around the world was on the rise, quickly becoming the “new standard to settle payments,” and that all Corda-based blockchain applications would benefit from the integration by accessing fast, secure and transparent payment settlements via SWIFT’s GPI-linked banks.

The chief marketing officer at SWIFT Luc Meurant said that all trade platforms stand to benefit when there are “trusted, fast and secure cross-border payments mechanisms such as GPI.”

He added that although DLT-enabled trade had taken off very well, the global market still has “little appetite for settlement in cryptocurrencies.”

E-commerce and other trade platforms that need fast and secure fiat currency- based settlements will benefit from the GPI Link, Meurant said that. He added that the integration allows banks to provide rapid and transparent settlement services.

SWIFT has touted GPI as the new technological framework that will speed up the settlement of cross-border interbank payments, with real-time end-to-end tracking.

Meurant noted that the Corda platform had been extensively adopted by numerous trade ecosystems, making it a natural choice for SWIFT as it sought to run its DLT proof of concept.

Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, was also on stage at the Paris forum and said that Ripple was “open” to the possibility of working with SWIFT.

Though neither exec referred to any potential partnership, it is no secret that San Francisco-based Ripple has coveted SWIFT’s banking network, with designs on how to overtake the decades-old institution.

Ripple and R3 were at one point engaged in a bitter legal tussle regarding the XRP token, but with the case settled, they have looked to work together again.

Last year, R3 launched its Corda Settler application that aims at facilitating global payments in crypto for enterprise blockchains.

The firm announced at the time that the platform would use XRP, noting in a statement that the Ripple token would be the first “globally recognized cryptocurrency” on Settler.

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.

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